PARIS €20.09 (+1.95%)

Antoine Frérot at the Sommet de l’Économie: For better growth, let’s win the carbon battle!

In Paris, Challenges magazine has organized the 2nd economic summit on "Three deadlines for France: 2017 reforming at any price, 2020 Internet everywhere, and 2030 a climate of growth." Veolia CEO Antoine Frérot participated in a roundtable discussion with Pierre-André de Chalendar, CEO of Saint-Gobain, and Daniel Cohn-Bendit. An opportunity to repeat that fighting global warming is one of the conditions for growth in the long-term.



Protecting the environment protects the economy

Europe is leading the fight against climate change having set ambitious goals as early as 2008 with the "20-20-20[1]" principle. Over the last thirty years it has strengthened European waste and wastewater treatment standards. More recently, a price was put on pollution, which has contributed to improving pollution levels. The 2015 economy summit is opening up the debate: by deploying these ambitious but restrictive measures, “is Europe shooting itself in the foot?”


Antoine Frérot, Président-directeur général de Veolia

Antoine Frérot says this is not the case. "Over the last three decades Europe has tightened up its environmental standards more than other continents, but it has not affected its economic development in any way. When we protect the environment, in return it protects the smooth running of the economy. "

Veolia’s CEO therefore supports the introduction of a robust and predictable carbon price to ensure that "reducing CO2 emissions [costs] less than discharging it into the atmosphere."

A circular economy  that creates jobs 

Another response to climate change is transforming waste into new resources. Recycling waste and so creating new materials emits less CO2 that extracting virgin raw materials, and requires more labor than landfill. The circular economy could create as many as 3 million jobs in Europe. The circular economy helps companies protect against price volatility and the scarcity of raw materials. By recycling waste, they reduce their expenses and become more competitive.

"With financial incentives and ambitious regulation, we can win the CO2 battle. And if we fail to act, nature will decide for us," concluded Antoine Frérot.


Businesses are already building a low carbon economy

Businesses are building a low carbon economy that creates jobs and generates growth, committing to specific objectives to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. In 2014 Veolia’s contribution  was avoiding seven million metric tons of CO2 and reducing its emissions by 15 million metric tons, the equivalent of the annual emissions of a European city of 2.7 million people[2]. Over the next five years, the Group is committed to a total of 100 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions reduced and a total of 50 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions avoided in the scope of its activities.


More about: 

> Sommet de l’économie (french only):
Veolia’s solutions for fighting climate change

Publication date: 5 November, 2015

[1] 20% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, 20% renewable energy and 20% energy savings. [2] Source CDC Climat – Key Figures 2014, according to a territorial approach, on average a European emits 8.2 tons eq. CO2.