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  • Dear Readers!

    This editorial was written and ready for print and focused primarily on the EU’s Green Deal. And then coronavirus spread around the world and the text had to be revised. Despite the current situation, though, the Green Deal remains one of the most important projects for the European circular economy. And many other things have happened as well – the question surrounding DSD, for example.

    It is now official. On 22 April 2020, the first Cartel Panel of the Higher Regional Court [Oberlandesgericht] of Düsseldorf dismissed our appeal against the Cartel Office’s decision. Their ruling surprised us as we were sure that we had the better arguments in favour of us acquiring Duales System Deutschland GmbH. But we live under the rule of law and we will, of course, accept their decision. What we need to do now is to take the time required to take a detailed look at the Panel’s reasons for dismissing our appeal and then carefully decide what our next steps should be. In light of the fact that all other major competitors operate in this market, it will be interesting to see to what extent REMONDIS will get involved in the Dual System in the future.

    It is not so easy to look ahead at the moment, though, faced with the current coronavirus emergency. When the first media reports came through on 29 December last year that China had informed the WHO that it had an unexplained cluster of people suffering from an unidentified lung disease, no one realised just how hard or how fast this virus would affect the globalised economy. It is practically impossible to estimate the costs incurred by the economy grounding to a halt as a result of the virus. And it is not just the private sector that has felt the impact. Many city and district authorities were already in financial difficulties before the crisis began. Their situation can only get worse, now that their revenue from local business tax and their takings from their local amenities have plummeted. Maybe it is time to set aside old arguments and enter into long-term partnerships with the private sector that will benefit both parties – especially when it comes to delivering essential public services. Setting up public private joint ventures dedicated to providing essential services could help mitigate the consequences of the crisis. At the end of the day, ‘a load shared is a load halved’. One positive coming from these unprecedented times is the increased sense of solidarity among the population and towards many sections of the economy. REMONDIS, too, is there to help and support its municipal partners – during this crisis more than ever.

    Past pandemics have rarely lasted longer than two years. At some stage – whether with or without a vaccine – public life and business will return to normal. This will be the moment when it will become clear to all that our planet’s biggest problem – climate change – has not solved itself. Once again, the spotlight will be turned on the European Union’s Green Deal. Looking at a list published from within the EU, there is a danger of important regulations being watered down, especially in the area of the circular economy. In contrast, the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, expressly advises against neglecting climate action and environmental protection following the Covid-19 crisis in its ad-hoc statement published on 14 April 2020. In fact, it recommends the exact opposite. The economy must be kick-started so that it can grow again and should, it says, be “guided more firmly than before by considerations of sustainability, not least because this offers vast potential for economic growth.” Climate change is and will continue to be the biggest challenge for the future and REMONDIS, being one of the leading water and recycling businesses, will continue to put forward its solutions and play an important role.

    With this in mind: stay safe and stay positive.

    Thomas Conzendorf

A ten-year agreement

Good news from Grafschaft: this local authority located in the rural district of Ahrweiler founded a public private partnership (PPP) with REMONDIS EURAWASSER GmbH at the beginning of the year. Due to run for a period of 10 years to begin with, this collaboration promises to deliver reliable water management services and stable fees and charges as well as additional services for local industrial firms.

Contract signed in February 2020

  • For over 12 years now, REMONDIS EURAWASSER has been providing Grafschaft with an extensive range of services covering both the commercial and technical operations of its wastewater plant and waterworks. The local authorities decided to put these out for tender across Europe in 2017 – a contract that would also include building and operating a wastewater pre-treatment facility. The goal of this tender process was to found a PPP firm, which would then take over responsibility for providing all these services. Following some renegotiations, the contract was signed in February 2020 to establish Regionalwerke Grafschaft GmbH, in which the District of Grafschaft owns 51% and REMONDIS EURAWASSER GmbH 49% of the shares. On signing the contract, Mayor Achim Juchem expressed his pleasure at this latest development: “By founding Regionalwerke Grafschaft, we have succeeded in setting up a strong partnership for the future that will be able to make the most of REMONDIS EURAWASSER’s experience and know-how to deliver the best possible services for both our residents and the industrial businesses in our region.”

    Putting pen to paper: (front row, from left to right) Andreas Schneider, Treasurer of the District of Grafschaft, and Christoph Lasek, Managing Director REMONDIS EURAWASSER GmbH, signing the PPP contract in the presence of (from left to right) Dieter Dismon (District of Grafschaft), Robert Ristow (EURAWASSER), Achim Juchem (Mayor of Grafschaft), Mario Schellhardt (EURAWASSER), Andrea Thelen (EURAWASSER) and Kathrin Brenner (REMONDIS)

“Investment models such as this one enable local authorities to control how central water supply and wastewater treatment networks are set up in their district while limiting their risk by making the most of our know-how.”

Mario Schellhardt, Managing Director REMONDIS EURAWASSER

Shared risks – common goals

This public private partnership will create a number of benefits for the District of Grafschaft, which is home to around 11,000 inhabitants and numerous industrial and manufacturing firms. Besides having direct access to the REMONDIS Group’s know-how and network of plants and facilities, this PPP will also allow the investment risks to be shared. Both partners have taken advantage of this right from the start: a new plant for treating production wastewater is to be built by Regionalwerke in the future. Pilot tests have already started. Moreover, the joint venture will continue to deliver the services previously provided by REMONDIS. These include, among others, managing the more than 200 kilometre sewer and drinking water networks, nine pumping stations and six drinking water reservoirs stretching across 17 different districts. REMONDIS managing director, Mario Schellhardt, is looking forward to providing many more such Regionalwerke services: “Investment models such as this one enable local authorities to control how central water supply and wastewater treatment networks are set up in their district while limiting their risk by making the most of our know-how. Guaranteeing reliable services, protecting districts against flooding and generating innovative energies are all topical subjects that affect everyone and must be tackled together.”

Everyone loves it so – including HARIBO

  • One of the biggest companies in the region, the sweets manufacturer HARIBO, will also benefit from the public private partnership between the local authorities and REMONDIS. In the future, the firm’s production wastewater, which contains high levels of sugar, will be used to make biogas. Plans are to build a new pre-treatment facility in the Innovationspark Rheinland (IPR / Rhineland Innovation Estate), close to the firm’s premises, and have it up and running in 2021. The green energy generated by this system will then be fed into the grid. By doing so, the District of Grafschaft will be a step closer to being less dependent on external sources of energy.

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