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  • Dear Readers!

    In Germany super election year 2017 is well underway. The Saarland election has already taken place, with Schleswig-Holstein and the most populous of the German Länder, North Rhine-Westphalia, set to follow in May. General elections for the Bundestag will then be taking place in September. In these times of populism and fake news, this election will play a pivotal role. Germany has the strongest economy and largest population in Europe. The outcome of the election will have repercussions for all of Europe and influence economic and political relations with other countries around the world. In view of the dimensions involved, a key topic unfortunately often takes back seat: recycling and its importance to climate and environmental policy. We wanted to size things up accurately and enquired with all the major political party groups about their platforms concerning environmental policy in the upcoming legislative period and beyond. You will find a summary of the responses in this issue’s feature article and the complete responses online at remondis-aktuell.de. Whether elections turn out to be good for the climate and the environment in general and our growth sector in particular will ultimately be decided by hopefully well informed, active citizens.

    Some legislative bills have been initiated shortly before the elections – for example, the new Commercial Waste Regulation (Gewerbeabfallverordnung). It will involve important changes that have a major impact on our commercial customers when the new regulation goes into effect on 1 August 2017 at the latest. Under the new version, companies producing waste in connection with housing construction will be obligated to separately collect the waste items of paper, cardboard and pasteboard with the exception of hygienic paper, glass, plastics, metals, wood, textiles, organic waste and additional commercial and industrial waste already where it comes about, i.e. at companies themselves. The same goes for construction and demolition waste, which is already to be separated at the building site into the various waste categories such as glass, plastics, metals, wood, insulation material, bituminous mixtures, building material based on gypsum, concrete, bricks, tiles and ceramics. This is no doubt good news for improved recovery of raw materials, but it also means greater expenses for customers, who ­REMONDIS will support professionally as accustomed with practicable services in line with laws and regulations. 

    And how do things stand at present when it comes to refugee policy? The number of new persons seeking asylum arriving in Germany has dropped significantly. The biggest challenge now is to successfully integrate these people in our society and the German world of work. ­REMONDIS is taking on this challenge, hiring young people as well as persons with work experience in various fields who have lost their home as a result of war, famine and displacement and now want to venture a new beginning in their adopted country of Germany. A real win-win situation, as a successful start to a vocational career is the best contribution that can be made to a society living together in prosperity and peace. Here as well, ­REMONDIS meets its responsibility to society as a whole, acting in the spirt of its own slogan: working for the future!

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

A controversial discussion

The debate over the usefulness of community and private cooperative ventures, so-called public-private partnerships (PPP), has been raging for years. Especially in times when municipalities face major challenges, but also considerable uncertainty vis-à-vis the private economy, it is advisable to analyse the topic in a rational manner. After all, what really matters is the answer to the question: can municipalities increase the wealth of the community through public-private partnerships?

PPPs are practically everywhere

Examples of public-private partnerships can be found in almost all walks of life in our society. Be it in schools or child-care centres, in the construction of a new section of motorway, in the construction and operation of nursing homes, in the supply of energy and water or the collection and treatment of waste and sewage – in all of these areas services are being performed in public-private partnerships. Even the most important national standards organisation, DIN e.V., has been a public-private partnership since 1975. It is responsible, for instance, for all standards being set in the public interest.

Public perception of public-private partnerships is as wide-ranging as their areas of work. While advocates are fond of citing the economic successes of these joint ventures, the media is increasingly propagating a negative picture of PPPs. Why is this so? Lack of information is no doubt one reason, technical sloppiness another.

  • Numerous examples of successful PPP models and their advantages both for public and private partners are discussed at length in our special PPP issue

Public-sector motives

For municipal partners, there are numerous reasons favouring a PPP: The resources of private enterprises can be used for public tasks, while the risk is split up in investment decisions, the use of market and competitive structures or also the advantage of tasks being efficiently performed in a reliable, economical manner can serve as the motive for founding a PPP. Another positive effect is that the financial resources of municipalities that are recuperated through PPPs translate into greater options in the pursuit of other strategic objectives. Often, the possibility of securing stable fees serves as the sole aim of a public-private partnership.

Another aspect in the motives for a municipality is the ability to select between a contractual or an institutional PPP.

The first model is based exclusively on a contractual relationship between the partners such as is the case, for example, in a concession model. The structure of the agreement or controls on adherence to the agreement are the sole possibility under this model for the municipality to stipulate its desires regarding the service to be rendered and successful execution. One has to weigh out the interest in catching up with overdue investments and hence an improvement in the infrastructure against future obligations to effect payments to the private partner.

What is essential is having the right partner

The model for the institutional PPP is based on the founding of a joint economic structure or the involvement of a private partner in an existing enterprise. This ensures that the public sector, which generally keeps the majority of shares in the company, is able to retain control. It can work together with the private partner to further develop the company. In addition to the one-off sales revenue for shares in the joint venture, the public sector also participates in profits.

Even if both forms of PPPs have to be evaluated in a discriminating manner as a result of their major differences, one thing they have in common is that the selection of the right partner is of key importance. This fact accordingly needs to be taken into account in tender procedures.

  • PPPs are well worth their while

    German and European lawmakers have therefore deliberately laid down non-price-related criteria for the award of contracts in laws in order to avoid forcing public sector actors having to opt for the “cheapest” bidder or, in the case of a PPP, the partner “offering the most”.

    The best partners are namely those that pursue similar strategic objectives. In addition to a sustainable footing for the company and company management, this above all includes ensuring that excellent services will be rendered as demonstrated by means of references.

    In closing, the initial question as to whether PPPs can increase community wealth can be answered with a clear yes in the case of institutional PPPs. The procurement process is optimised in such a manner so that, in addition to the one-off proceeds, it also generates financial assets in the form of ongoing earnings.

      Christian Monreal, Desk Officer for Distribution Steering, Municipal Distribution and Public Affairs

    • Christian Monreal has worked for REMONDIS Assets & Services GmbH & Co. KG in
      the field of distribution steering since 2005. His areas of specialisation include municipal distribution as well as public affairs. Christian Monreal has already published guest articles as an expert on public-private partnerships in the journal UNTERNEHMERIN KOMMUNE (publisher & chief editor: Prof. Dr. Michael Schäfer).

Definition and features of PPPs

Public-private partnerships are understood to mean all forms of cooperation between a community facility and a private enterprise. These partnerships above all thrive on close collaboration, but also from the long-term nature of the undertaking, sharing of risk, joint further development and, not least, joint financing as well. This is because PPPs above all offer the public sector an alternative procurement variant.

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