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  • Dear Readers!

    2018 has been an extraordinary year for our group. There have been some great business opportunities around – in the area of recycling as well as in the global market for mobility, both in the private and public transport sector. We have been able to make the most of these opportunities by taking steps to acquire DSD (Duales System Deutschland GmbH) – as has the RETHMANN Group, which is intending to purchase shares in Transdev, a leading global operator of mobility solutions based in France. Both transactions must still be approved by the rele-vant authorities.

    As an operator and global integrator of mobility solutions, Transdev – “the mobility company” – provides eleven million passenger trips every day, connecting people and places with its efficient and environmentally friendly transport services. Transdev advises and collaborates with public authorities and private sector firms providing sustainable, safe and innovative transport solutions.

    82,000 employees serve the company’s customers and passengers in 20 countries. In 2017, it generated a turnover of 6.6 billion euros. Transdev’s operations, however, not only include trains, trams and buses. People using the ferries in Sydney to get across Sydney Harbour are also Transdev’s customers. And the company’s portfolio also has cable car networks and auto-mated minibuses. With Transdev being so important for our family-run company, it makes absolute sense for the mobility group to become the RETHMANN Group’s fourth main field of business alongside REMONDIS, Rhenus and SARIA.

    This past year has been one of the driest since records began in Germany. This has, on the one hand, led to the water levels of our rivers being much lower than normal – quite possibly the lowest levels ever – causing huge problems for inland shipping companies and their customers. On the other, it has once again turned the spotlight on the subjects of climate change and resource conservation. The Vatican is also worried about “our Common Home”. Pope Francis made it clear just how worried he is when he wrote his “Laudato si’” encyclical. REMONDIS joined a number of other family business owners to attend the first Roman Forum, which was held in the Holy City and organised by the BDE [Federal Association of the German Waste Management Industry]. During the event, the participants had a moving meeting with the Holy Father who was impressed by the initiatives of these privately run businesses to promote sustainability.

    Talking about sustainability: Meyer Werft, a shipbuilding business in Papenburg, is also focusing on sustainable production activities – and on building environmentally friendly ships having recently launched its first gas-fuelled cruise ship. This traditional company is also being supported by REMONDIS. Heading for new shores together, so to speak.

    May we take this opportunity to thank you for your great support and collaboration over the last twelve months and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

    Ihr Ludger Rethmann

The Pope is a dedicated supporter of environmental protection

  • In June 2015, during the third year of his papacy, Pope Francis published an encyclical letter on the complex subject of the environment and its development. Entitled “Laudato si' – On the Care for our Common Home”, it takes a close look at environmental protection, climate change and the depletion of our planet’s natural resources. In his encyclical, the Pope also laments the social injustices caused by the thoughtless way people handle natural resources. With this in mind, 60 well-known family business owners were invited by the BDE [Federal Association of the German Waste Management Industry] to attend a special conference in Rome at the beginning of September. With the help of the FBN [Family Business Network] and the Malteser Charity, the BDE hosted the Roman Forum to discuss with the Pope and other dignitaries about the responsibility of companies to further sustainability and resource conservation. Norbert Rethmann, honorary chairman of the supervisory board of the RETHMANN Group, and Herwart Wilms, REMONDIS managing director, travelled to the Vatican on behalf of REMONDIS.

    • A private audience with the Pope: Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the RETHMANN Group

Consensus among the participants

This event shone the spotlight on Pope Francis’ concern for our environment and was held on 01 September, the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation”. Right from the start of his papacy, Pope Francis has been urging us to treat our planet’s resources more responsibly and to distribute them fairly among the world’s population. The participants echoed this plea and all agreed that – for the good of mankind – sustainable production processes and a truly circular economy were needed to break the link between economic growth and the consumption of natural resources.

  • “We welcome Pope Francis’ warnings and appeal to the international community. It is vital that people recognise how important recycling is for conserving natural resources and curbing climate change.”

    Peter Kurth, BDE-President

How the recycling sector conserves natural resources

Being a family-run recycling business, REMONDIS is well aware that its business activities involve work that affects many generations and that priority must be put on finding pioneering ideas to ensure future generations also have sufficient supplies of natural resources. “Just looking at the current and future problems caused by waste packaging makes it clear how important it is to increase recycling rates. We are doing everything in our power to achieve this. In line with our motto: Whatever people put together – should be able to be taken apart again,” explained Herwart Wilms, underlining REMONDIS’ call for packaging to be designed so that preferably all the materials can be recovered, recycled and reused.

The Vatican’s Casina Pio IV opens its doors for the first time

Besides a podium discussion, there were also a number of talks on the programme which were held by high-calibre speakers. These included, for example, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Archbishop Dr Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, and Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Dr Georg Gänswein, as well as the President of the EU Parliament, Antonio Tajani, Prof. Martin Faulstich from the Clausthal University of Technology and the President of the European Ethics Commission, Prof. Christiane Woopen.

Sustainable designs that enable products to be recycled are an important way to protect our “common home”.

The highlight of the Forum was a private audience with Pope Francis in the Sala Clementina. In his address, he praised the initiative of the companies and called on all those participating to increase their efforts to create recycling structures and ensure natural resources were fairly distributed around the globe. During the event, the companies also presented three key projects to the head of the Catholic Church. Organised jointly by the firms, these projects have an international focus and aim to improve local living conditions.

Norbert Rethmann wrote a letter to the Pope in response to his “Laudato si’” encyclical and gladly accepted Pope Francis’ invitation to meet and discuss it with him. Read the letter* hier

*only in German, Italian and Spanish

Earth Overshoot Day falls a little bit earlier each year

    • The World Day of Prayer was not the only reason for holding this event. Earth Overshoot Day, which fell on 01 August this year, also warns that humans are consuming too many raw materials. At the moment, we need 1.7 planets to meet our annual demand for raw materials – and this figure will continue to rise. The latest report published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) takes a detailed look at global warming. If emissions remain as they are and do not increase – a fairly optimistic assumption – then global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052.

    • Humans have been living beyond their means since 01 August.  Learn more about Earth Overshoot Day here

    The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C can be found here

    In contrast, sustainable production processes and recycling reduce carbon emissions and help to curb climate change. And so, spurred on by their visit to Rome, the companies will now work on their projects to promote the circular economy and to break the link between economic growth and the consumption of natural resources – for the good of mankind and our common home.

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