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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

Working together to conserve resources

  • In December 2019, REMONDIS officially became a shareholder of SEMARDEL, a French company jointly owned by public and private sector partners (SEM = Société d’Économie Mixte) with extensive know-how in the areas of collecting, treating and recycling residual materials along the whole of the supply chain. REMONDIS is, therefore, now contributing its comprehensive expertise to the largest public private partnership operating in this sector in France. From now on, SEMARDEL and REMONDIS will be working together to promote resource conservation in the Île-de-France region, helping to create a more sustainable future.

Recycling experts

Founded in 1984, SEMARDEL – just like REMONDIS – closes material cycles by recovering substances and returning them to production cycles as recycled materials and energy. Each year, SEMARDEL processes more than 1.6 million tonnes of municipal and commercial residual materials from France’s most heavily populated region, Île-de-France. Besides collecting municipal waste, recycling commercial waste and producing substitute fuels and compost, SEMARDEL also generates 250,000 MWh of energy and heat every year. SEMARDEL employs more than 550 people who are out and about serving their customers every day. REMONDIS’ collaboration with SEMARDEL sees it working with the Caisse des Dépôts and EDF (Électricité de France) as well as 17 French local authorities, associations and districts including SYCTOM and SIREDOM, Grand Paris Sud, Coeur d’Essonne and the Département Essonne.

“REMONDIS joining SEMARDEL bears witness to the great confidence placed in our public-private venture.”

Eric Braive, Chair of SEMARDEL’s Board of Directors

Opening up new opportunities

Eric Braive, Chair of SEMARDEL’s board of directors, commented: “REMONDIS joining SEMARDEL bears witness to the great confidence placed in our public-private venture. This opens up new opportunities to improve recycling systems and contribute towards the energy switch in our region by diversifying into and growing the amount of renewable energy we produce.” SEMARDEL is the first public private partnership that REMONDIS has entered into in France: “It is a great honour that SEMARDEL chose us to be their partner and that we were able to convince them of our high levels of water management and recycling expertise. Thanks to this new partnership, the REMONDIS Group will be able to continue its strategy of helping French local authorities and developing further collaborations in France,” said Pierre-André Vasseur, managing director of REMONDIS SAS. The foundation stone has already been laid with the Group’s numerous successful public private partnerships in many other countries.

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