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Our activities help society towards a more sustainable future, taking the views of our host communities into account, minimising the impact we have on them and giving something back – through what we do – is important to us.

Funding Innovation

Investing in new technologies that will make our world a better place is our way of giving back to society

Our relationship with society is critical, both at a macro and micro level. In terms of the big picture, our commitment to recycling and recovering waste contributes to society’s quest for a more sustainable future. To carry out this work, we need the support of our customers and the host communities where our operations are located. That support needs to be earned: from customers, by providing a high standard of service at all times; and from host communities, by being a good and considerate neighbour.

The number of adverse comments we received rose over the year. This was as a result of two new major plants we brought on line in the UK. This is not unusual when local residents are confronted by a new waste management plant in or near their community. We plan in advance for this type of issue, and are pursuing initiatives targeted specifically at these two plants. That community relations are important to us is reflected in our key objective of improving our community feedback by 25% by 2020.

Building good community relations is not just about dealing with complaints, however. Local residents, public services and businesses might understand that sustainable waste management is important but we want to show them that it can be interesting and even fun. In 2016/17, four of our Belgian sites welcomed more than 4,000 visitors through their doors as part of a nationwide open day. In the Netherlands, we teamed up with childrens’ comic Donald Duck and anti-littering campaign Nederland Schoon to challenge primary school children to come up with fun ways to clean up rubbish. Read more about these initiatives on pages 27 and 28 of the Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Building expertise

For Renewi, building and sharing our expertise in sustainability is a key part of helping society move towards a more sustainable future. We do this by investing in innovation. In 2016/17, we focused on building our expertise in gasification technologies – a green way of converting waste into synthetic gas, which can then be used to generate electricity. Our new facility in Derby will make use of this technology and we are also participating in a Netherlands-based project that is exploring ways of using gasification to convert waste into methanol (see page 11 of our Corporate Social Responsibility Report for detail). By 2020, we aim to increase the number of innovation projects we participate in by 20.

Another focus for next year is customer satisfaction. Shanks and Van Gansewinkel (VGG) have historically conducted customer satisfaction surveys but definitions of customer satisfaction, and ways of collecting, measuring and analysing data, have differed. Our challenge now is to come up with an agreed way of defining and measuring customer satisfaction so that, going forwards, we can track and improve it.

Community Feedback

Number environmental complaints received by our sites/operations1 313 482
Average number of complaints per site (out of total number)2 1.5 2.3

Community Feedback

1.Includes all complaints, both those substantiated and those not substantiated
2.Rise in complaint numbers largely the result of new sites being brought on line in UK operations

Case Studies

Belgian Sites Open Day
Cornelis Prul Award