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  • Dear Readers!

    Many people will be looking at their calendar with a feeling of disbelief that this turbulent year is already coming to a close. 2021 has been a year that will remain in our memories for a long time to come. Here in Germany, the devastating floods that hit the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and parts of North Rhine-Westphalia were a strong reminder that we finally have to up our efforts and take some serious steps to curb climate change. And while the people living in the affected regions are still clearing up the rubble – also thanks to the rapid help from the circular economy – and working to rebuild their lives, the world met in Glasgow to argue about whether or not to phase out coal. At the same time, covid came back again with a vengeance this autumn. Hesitant politicians and organisational failure came up against a waning vaccine immunity and vaccine scepticism among a minority of the population, who seem determined to ignore scientific facts. And, this year was an election year – the end of the Chancellor Merkel era – and a perfect storm had been brewing in a political vacuum as the slow-moving coalition talks meant the new Government could not take up the reins. It is high time that the right course is set – in politics, in the economy and in society.

    Faced with such difficult situations, it is then almost a minor miracle that our family business has – together with and thanks to our partners and customers – had an exceptionally good year. Much of this can be put down to the global economy restarting in the spring after the strict covid measures were provisionally lifted. The flipside of unrestrained production activities and a highly charged global trade, though, soon became evident: a general shortage of raw materials. Anyone trying to build a house and get hold of timber or plastic pipes in 2021 certainly know all about this problem. As the year drew to an end, it was even difficult to get hold of recycling sacks because, being in such high demand, there is a shortage of recycled plastic pellets.  

    Which brings us to the subjects that unite the essence of the two previous paragraphs: climate action and resource conservation. The wide range of services that our company delivers plays a major role in helping to solve the problems mentioned above. By recycling materials, producing renewable energy and offering sustainable services, we are easing both problems at the same time. Each tonne of raw material recycled by our company not only conserves virgin resources but also cuts large volumes of carbon emissions. Along the way, we are also gradually switching over to climate-neutral logistics. Inspired, by the way, as well by our sister company Transdev, which already deploys whole fleets of electric buses in many cities around the world – a role model and an incentive for us to do even more.

    And so there is some good news as well at the end of this eventful year – and we would like to thank you all for the great collaboration work that made this possible. May we also take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and all the very best for the coming year.


    Ludger Rethmann

Active and forward-looking personnel development

Besides wishing to find a good apprenticeship, a growing number of school-leavers are also hoping to train in a company that can offer them job security. Looking at the way the German economy developed last year, this is no longer something that can be taken for granted. Many companies have had to cut their workforce and make the decision to no longer invest in apprentices. It is essential, however, that firms have an active and forward-looking personnel development concept if they are to hold their own in the competition for young talent. Which is why the RETHMANN Group still sees apprenticeships as being a crucial economic factor and intends to continue its successful training programmes. This year, over 600 young people began their professional careers at one of the RETHMANN Group companies – laying the groundwork for a sustainable future in the industry of their choice.

A conscious decision to actively help protect the environment

An ever-growing number of first-time employees wish to have a sustainable future. While at school, they spent much of their spare time focusing on environmental and climate issues and taking action to try and improve the situation – from using less plastic to taking part in climate action demonstrations, to name just two examples. Many young people are now deliberately deciding, therefore, to do an apprenticeship in an environmentally friendly industry.

According to the 2020 Status Report on the German Circular Economy, around 310,000 people work in the circular economy in Germany alone and generate a turnover of ca. 84 billion euros. The importance of the sector was further underlined when the German government placed the circular economy on its list of key industries last year. However, the spotlight is not only being shone on the sector because of the essential services it has provided during the pandemic but also because of the way it is actively helping to protect the environment.

The RETHMANN Group’s apprenticeship figures

  • Following the start of the 2021 apprenticeship year, there are now almost 2,200 young people doing an apprenticeship within the RETHMANN Group, 616 of whom began their course this year. As usual, the majority of them are working at REMONDIS. The recycling experts alone are training 1,351 young people, who are either in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd year of their apprenticeship course, among them 431 apprentices who joined this year. The international logistics specialist Rhenus currently employs 662 apprentices, 121 of whom are new intakes. And Selm-based Saria has a total of 77 apprentices, 27 of whom began their course this year. The world’s largest provider of local public transport services Transdev (in which REMONDIS owns a 34% share) employs 86 apprentices in Germany, 37 of whom joined this August.

    Once again, the HGV driver apprenticeship course is top of the list of the most popular professions with 372 apprentices. This is followed by those wishing to become industrial management assistants (187 apprentices) and office management assistants (129 apprentices).

    Around 40 apprentices attended the event at the Lippe Plant in Lünen that was held to congratulate and welcome them to the company

New apprentices welcomed by Norbert Rethmann

  • The traditional welcome party was held in the reception area of the company’s head office building at the Lippe Plant under the patronage of the honorary chairman of the supervisory board, Norbert Rethmann, with appropriate hygiene measures in place. A group of approx. 40 apprentices from a variety of courses were invited to the event to represent this year’s new intakes.

    “Recycling our valuable resources and handling them sustainably are two vital preconditions for preserving our planet for future generations. What is needed – in particular from younger generations – are innovations, new creations and sustainable prospects to create a strong societal impetus,” commented Norbert Rethmann during his speech.

    • Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Norbert Rethmann, at the welcome party held for this year’s new apprentices

REMONDIS apprentice with the best results

  • Christin Pieper, an apprentice at REMONDIS Assets & Services in Lünen, was recently presented with a special award during the honours ceremony held by the Dortmund Chamber of Commerce (IHK). She was named ‘Best Apprenticeship of the Year’ for her industrial management assistant course having achieved the highest results of her approx. 6,500 fellow course members from Dortmund, Hamm and the district of Unna, who all took their final exams in 2021. She believes that her employer was one of the reasons for her being able to achieve this: “The intensive revision courses that were held in small groups and began a good 12 months before the finals took place provided me with the best possible support.” Christin currently works in supply chain management and is already looking to the future: “At the moment, I’m studying Economics at FH Münster alongside my job and should graduate with my Bachelor’s degree at the beginning of 2023. I can well imagine doing my Master’s after that.”

    Christin Pieper received her special award during the honours ceremony held at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. She was congratulated by IHK President Heinz-Herbert Dustmann (right) and Deputy Managing Director of the IHK Wulf-Christian Ehrich (left)

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