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CEO’s Statement

 Otto de Bont
Chief Executive

I joined Renewi because of its great purpose and I am passionate that we continue to improve our contribution to society and the planet. Over the past year we have advanced in almost every target area.

Sustainability is at our heart. There is an increasing ambition from governments, our clients and other stakeholders to promote recycling and the use of secondary raw materials, in combination with a demand from society for sustainable solutions for waste management and recycling. This gives me great hope

To achieve a circular economy, demand for higher quality recyclates needs to increase, which will require more technically advanced sorting and treatment capacity, including for waste streams that are still incinerated or landfilled today. Renewi’s unique position links waste producers to secondary raw material consumers, and we benefit from our unparalleled collection capability with increasingly advanced sorting.

We protect the environment by giving new life to used materials. This helps to protect the world’s natural resources and to preserve the planet for future generations. Everything we do is integral to protecting the environment and this puts us at the heart of the circular economy.

Our ambition is to recycle or recover 90% of the waste we process by 2020 – a target that we achieved one year early! We also aim to convert 70% of the waste we handle into new, high-quality raw materials. Each year, we process more than 13.5 million tonnes of waste from companies and households, in turn creating new raw materials and energy. We are directly supporting five of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: responsible consumption and production, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, affordable and clean energy, and clean water and sanitation.

We’ve achieved a great deal over the past year:

  • We recycled enough glass to manufacture 2.2 billion wine bottles;
  • We cleaned enough waste water to fill 246 Olympic-sized swimming pools;
  • We generated enough electricity to light up the Eiffel Tower for 22 years;
  • We prevented the use of enough diesel to fuel 200 trucks for one year by replacing trucks and optimising routes;
  • We recycled enough PP (polypropylene) plastic to manufacture new plastic parts for 1 million vacuum cleaners.

Our objectives

We started the year with clear CSR ambitions. We wanted to establish a holistic CSR structure for Renewi that is embedded into our different divisions and acts as a guiding principle. We also wanted to initiate a company-wide CSR policy relevant to all our stakeholders and to start developing our approach to the CSR areas: people, planet and partnerships.

We take a carefully planned and thought-out approach to objectives and goalsetting, ensuring we focus on material themes for all internal and external stakeholders, and acknowledging their importance. We do this via a materiality matrix and assessment (see page 17); this plots the themes that are important to us as a Group against those of our stakeholders, and demonstrates the relative value of different issues. We aim to set challenging but realistic objectives based on our current performance.

Overall, we have made positive progress in meeting our CSR objectives. For the first half of the year, we focused on processes and strategy behind data collection and embedding internal structures. This meant that in the second half we were more outward-looking, exploring key CSR focus areas, such as safety and wellbeing, and employee engagement.

We handled more than 13.5 million tonnes of waste in 2018/19. Our overall recycling and recovery rate increased to 90.0%. We are investing to ensure we can continue to keep improving our recycling and recovery rate, by optimising our sites and by investing in pioneering processes to ensure we stay efficient. Innovation is at the heart of how we work and plays a vital part in tomorrow’s recycling solutions.

We continued to take positive steps towards reducing our own carbon footprint, decreasing our emissions. Carbon avoidance as a result of our activities has again increased, due to our recycling and recovery performance.

Ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our people is crucial. We take our responsibility to our people very seriously. Safety is embedded into everything we do – there is nothing more important than getting our people home safely every day. I’m proud of the progress with our Safety Culture Initiative over the past year, which has seen the launch of new programmes such as our new 10 Lifesaving Rules, HomeSafe Awards for safety innovation, enhanced and more stretching accident reduction targets and our Executive Committee’s new safety vision statement.

Target setting is one example: last year we reset some of our health and safety objectives because we had achieved them early. For example, we reset our near-miss close-out target from 75% to 85% and revised our severity rate target. This has resulted in our performance lagging behind in some areas. We accept this change in performance and there is little point in setting targets which are easy to achieve.

We have worked hard to increase the number of near-misses raised by our employees, and have been successful – this figure increased by 64% in 2018/19. Our focus in 2019/20 is to continue the improvements we have seen in near-miss rates, while targeting other areas for improvement to meet 2020 targets.

I look forward to continuing our efforts as a connecting link in the circular economy and to announcing our progress against our 2020 objectives in next year’s report.

Otto de Bont
Chief Executive Officer