Why sustainability matters and how Renewi contributes
Bas van Ginkel, Strategy & Business Development Director at Renewi, leads the company’s Sustainability Strategy.
Climate challenges remain a critical priority. It is widely acknowledged that if we don’t take action, the Earth could warm by a minimum of 4°C by 2050. The world now refers to a ‘climate emergency’ a phrase that highlights the problem and the need to act in just two words.
During 2020, more than 100 billion tonnes of raw materials were extracted from the Earth. According to statistics published in The Circularity Gap Report 2021, the cost to the planet of product development of this magnitude – from extraction to end of use – is 59.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which accounts for 70% of all GHGs emitted. In addition to increased greenhouse gas emissions, there has also been greater environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, threat of resource depletion, climate change and other forms of environmental pressure.
Why does sustainability matter?
Sustainability matters in countless ways, encompassed by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations. By prioritising sustainability, we can significantly lower our carbon footprint and, by doing so, cut emissions and lower our impact on the climate.
How will a circular economy deliver a more sustainable future and what is Renewi’s contribution?
Sustainability is at the heart of Renewi’s business model. Our focus, which is to give new life to used materials, enables the circular economy. This is essential if society is to meet its carbon reduction goals.
According to The Circularity Gap Report released in 2022, even if countries globally fulfil their promises to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement, the progress will amount 15% of the total needed. The remaining 85% requires more than energy transition. This can be achieved by prioritising the circular economy and by adopting circular strategies – reuse, recycle, production of secondary raw materials – to replace the use of virgin resources.
Where Renewi operates in the Netherlands and Belgium, landfill has virtually been eliminated and incineration is being heavily disincentivised. This has enabled us to invest in recycling technologies that will play a part in further improving our commitment to sustainability, which our purpose, vision and value are fully aligned to. These are supported by our sustainability themes – to enable the circular economy, reduce carbon emissions and care for people. In addition, sustainability is one of our six values. We are ambitious in our sustainability objectives, and to this end we are currently developing a roadmap to reduce scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions towards making a net-zero commitment.
By embracing and boosting the circular economy by replacing incineration and landfill with recycling, Renewi is playing an active role in slowing global warming. By partnering with customers and partners to create high- quality secondary raw materials for use in production, Renewi is helping to tackle the threat of climate change and helping to protect the planet for future generations.