Only decisive actions can avert irrevocable damage to the world, it is stated in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published a few days ago. The report is a review of the climate crisis and it has taken hundreds of scientists eight years to produce eight thousand pages, but the conclusion is just one: act now, otherwise it will be too late.
More than 3 billion people live in areas that are "highly vulnerable" to climate change, the IPCC found, and half of the global population now experiences severe water scarcity. The world is a step away from the limit to which we are able to adapt to such extreme climate change.
However, are we ready to accept the changes needed to address the environmental emergency?
To answer this question, Veolia, the global leader in environmental services, and Elabe, French research and consulting firm, have launched the survey "Barometer of the ecological transformation". This first-of-a-kind global opinion survey assesses the level of acceptability of ecological solutions and analyzes the obstacles to accelerating the transformation.
With a sample covering more than half of the world's population on all five continents, this barometer reveals unprecedented results: although the reality of climate change is uncontested, the path to be taken to mitigate it is still difficult to imagine according to the survey respondents. The majority of respondents from 25 different countries said they were ready to go further under a number of conditions.
67% of the world’s inhabitants are certain that the costs of the consequences of climate change and pollution will be greater than the investments needed for the ecological transformation. 60% of the world’s inhabitants are ready to accept the massive deployment of ecological solutions, but with clear conditions: no health risks and proven usefulness of the solution. Another 56% believe that the solutions to mitigate pollution and climate change are not sufficiently talked about.
The global survey "Barometer of the ecological transformation" pinpointed the expectations of more than half of the world’s population, and Veolia’s response was not long in coming. GreenPath Zero Carbon is a unique global offer of the Veolia Group in response to the problems of sustainable development.
GreenPath Zero Carbon of Veolia, the world champion of ecological transformation, helps its municipal and industrial customers and its customers in the sector of the services build and implement their decarbonization roadmaps. The offer includes also adapting of their business models to current and future climate challenges, as well as solutions to directly contribute to the achievement of the European Union’s climate targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The new offering GreenPath Zero Carbon covers the entire value chain, making it possible for customers to reduce their emissions by up to 80%. It comprises a portfolio of 100 solutions identified in Veolia’s areas of expertise in water, waste and energy management, of which 80% are existing, such as energy efficiency, fuel-switching, etc. and 20% are innovative: Carbon capture, utilization and storage, green hydrogen, etc The offering is based on the GreenPath Digital Platform, which allows customers to measure their water and biodiversity footprint and overall environmental performance using tools to inventory emissions. Veolia can help industrial customers reduce their emissions:
- Upstream of their production processes by supplying them with recycled plastic, low-carbon fuel (solid recovered fuels), etc.
- During their production processes, by improving their energy efficiency; by replacing fossil fuels with local renewable or decarbonized energy sources and by reducing their water consumption and related emissions.
- Downstream of their processes, by recycling their waste, recovering process energy and re-using wastewater.
- Through innovation, by developing pilot projects in key emerging areas such as "green" hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage.
GreenPath Zero Carbon is the categorical response to the "last warning" about the planet’s impending climate crisis. "While almost all economic and social players are committed to achieving carbon neutrality, Veolia is supporting them in this process with appropriate industrial ecology solutions through the GreenPath offer", shares Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia's Chief Executive Officer. "Our job and our responsibility as a leader in the ecological solutions is to provide the solutions needed for our clients' decarbonization, de-pollution, resource saving and regeneration trajectories", she stresses.
The example of recycling a plastic mineral water bottle sounds equally convincing to corporate pessimists as well as realists and optimists. The facts say that for our planet production of just one plastic bottle from recycled plastic saves 70% of CO2 emissions compared to its production from virgin plastic. There are no unknowns in this equation. There is only concern – are we actively recycling?
There are many positive examples. An innovative concept by Veolia, developed in cooperation with Metsä Fibre, the world’s largest producer of softwood pulp and a significant global producer of sawn timber, designs the largest biorefinery that will start producing carbon-neutral biomethanol from a pulp mill located in Finland from 2024. In this way, two key goals are achieved – energy stability and decarbonization of transport in Europe. Veolia opens up an opportunity to develop the potential of this alternative feedstock source for biofuels. Technically clean carbon-neutral biomethanol is a new source of sustainable low-carbon fuel that replaces fossil fuels and this will allow reduction of carbon emissions by up to 30,000 tons per year.
A project such as this one is in line with Veolia’s strategy to develop local energy loops allowing decarbonization and energy sufficiency. "It illustrates our capacity to act as an ecological transformation enabler through industrial integration across various sectors to develop scalable and sustainable solutions for locally produced CO2-neutral fuels", commented Estelle Brachlianoff, CEO of Veolia. A cutting-edge liquid hydrocarbon fuel project using renewable energy sources (Power-to-Liquid) and the transforming of municipal waste derived CO2 into sustainable aviation fuels is already being implemented in Portugal. With its innovative technological design and configuration, it is tasked with revolutionizing the waste-to-energy industry, while simultaneously contributing to the decarbonization of the aviation sector.
What is happening in Bulgaria? When we talk about the 2050 decarbonization horizon – the time of our grown-up children and grandchildren, we should note that over 60% of Bulgarians are ready to take personal actions to reduce waste in order to contribute to the decarbonization of the economy in our country. The data are from a nationally representative sociological survey of Alpha Research, conducted for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), presented on March 5 this year. In Bulgaria, the Kubratovo Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sofia is pinpointed by the European Commission as an excellent example in the revision of the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. The treatment plant of Sofia saves over 70,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year; the production of green energy fully covers the plant’s energy needs, and for the period 2011 – 2022, 1 million tons of sludge from Kubratovo have been used as fertilizer in agriculture.
"In Sofia, we turn the sludge from the Kubratovo treatment plant into green energy, which covers nearly 90% of the energy needs of Sofiyska Voda. We are determined to reach 100% by 2025 and sustainably produce the energy needed for the entire water cycle. This will contribute directly to reducing the ecological footprint of the city of Sofia", says Francois Debergh, Director of Veolia Bulgaria.
The 100 solutions contained in Veolia’s digital platform GreenPath Zero Carbon - in water, energy and waste management – are innovative, bold and responsible for the future. They are a real response to the warning of the climate crisis and the increasing emissions of greenhouse gases.