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  • Dear Readers!

    “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past but by the responsibility for our future.” This piece of wisdom was uttered by the great Irish author George Bernard Shaw and it would certainly appear to be true looking at the challenges that humans are having to face today: the need to protect the environment and prevent climate change, to supply sufficient quantities of food and raw materials but to conserve our planet’s natural resources at the same time. Taking on responsibility for the future means nothing less than acting and doing business in a responsible way today so that future generations have a world that they are able to live in. Being a family-run company that is committed to sustainability in each and every sector it operates in, this is exactly what we intend to do. We have, therefore, added a new slogan to reflect this mission:
    From now on, the REMONDIS logo will appear together with the strapline ‘Working for the future’. This is not some empty promise: every day, the 30,000+ people working for REMONDIS prove this is the case by collecting, sorting and processing recyclables, by ensuring our soils are clean and full of nutrients, by supplying water and treating wastewater, by generating sustainable biogas and energy and by carrying out joint public-private sector work to keep cities clean and roads safe. REMONDIS is, therefore, working for the future right now so that our children and their descendants have urban areas and indeed a planet that are worth living in. The present gives us the opportunity to change – and change is definitely what is needed if we wish to shape the future.

    One example in the Netherlands clearly shows that our neighbours are also thinking of the future. When a Dutch municipal company sells all its commercial activities to REMONDIS, it is certainly worth asking why they decided to do this. In an interview with REMONDIS aktuell, ROVA managing director Hans Groenhuis explains how European public procurement law determines whether a company can be awarded an “in-house contract” and why it is advisable for local authorities throughout Europe to think about giving up their commercial activities altogether.

    Just how satisfied are our public sector customers and what can REMONDIS do to further improve the way it supports local authorities to provide public services? We wanted to hear details here and so we asked them. The results of the customer survey, which was carried out by an independent institute on behalf of REMONDIS, are both encouraging and an incentive at the same time. It is certainly good news when not only our regular customers express their great satisfaction with the company but also the overwhelming majority of our past customers who could well imagine working together with REMONDIS again in the future. We will not, however, be sitting back on our laurels. There is always room for improvement when it comes to serving local inhabitants. REMONDIS will be doing everything in its power to optimise its portfolio and to provide both its contractual partners and those receiving its services with the best possible solutions at fair and favourable conditions. Working for people. Working for the future. 

    I hope you enjoy reading this edition of REMONDIS aktuell.

    Thomas Conzendorf 

At the company for almost 25 years

  • With her father running his own construction business, Helen Backhaus knew exactly what she wanted to be from a very early age: an engineer. She fulfilled this dream in 1989 when she was awarded her degree in civil engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Münster. A mother of three children, she has been working at the REMONDIS Group for almost 25 years now demonstrating that it most certainly is possible nowadays to have both a family and a successful career.

How it all began

  • Helen Backhaus remembers every detail of the job interview she had at RETHMANN Städtereinigung in Selm in 1989. She was interviewed by Norbert Rethmann, now the honorary chairman of the supervisory board of the RETHMANN Group, and Dr Hermann Niehues, who died suddenly in 2008. “I was feeling a little nervous when I sat down on the black leather sofa in Dr Niehues’ office,” commented 48-year-old Helen with a smile on her face.

Fully committed right from the start

  • Egbert Tölle, today a member of the board of directors at REMONDIS AG & Co. KG, then gave her a position in the division responsible for collecting hazardous waste from households and for supporting local authorities and other customers with hazardous waste contracts – the part of the company now known as REMONDIS Industrieservice. Her first days in the company were as follows: having been given two orange files, she then read through all correspondence with the local authorities. “I was able to solve many of the problems, that I came up against at work, by using my technical knowledge. My common sense, though, also helped me to overcome many hurdles,” explained Helen Backhaus.

Sales and marketing tasks

  • Over the last (almost) 25 years in the company, she has taken on a wide variety of projects to set up and/or further develop business concepts. Such activities have ranged from implementing the specialist waste management certification into all branches to introducing a CRM system. The most challenging project she has had to deal with so far was handling the electronic waste records procedure six years ago. With the introduction and implementation of this new electronic procedure, she had to manage the sales and marketing of REGISTA® – a software solution developed by the company itself – throughout the whole of the REMONDIS Group. Besides organising a whole host of information events and training courses, she had to develop marketing strategies, build up and train the REGISTA® team and involve the customers in the REGISTA® process.

Uniting career and family

  • Not only her career has run smoothly but her family life, too – not least thanks to the ongoing support she has received from her husband. Helen Backhaus knew from the start that she did not want to take long periods off work. She has only interrupted her full-time job to give birth to her three children. Indeed, she attended an inspection of one of the plants in south Germany just before her second child was born and was back at her desk two months after the birth. As well as looking after her children, the 48-year-old has begun a new project: ‘herding sheep’ with her Border Collie Tex. There is certainly no time for her to get bored at home, either. Helen Backhaus always approaches her work and life in general according to the motto “Never say never – there’s always a way” and is looking forward to the coming years and the new projects she’ll be taking on both at the company and at home.

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