100 circular economy actions: where do French businesses stand?

Posted on 05 February 2019.

In February 2017, 33 major French companies made a commitment to the circular economy. The French association of private enterprises offers an initial assessment of the 100 actions carried out.

79% of commitments made in 2017 are in line with the initial schedule.

According to an Insee study, 25% of French businesses know that their activities have a major impact on the environment.
More and more of them are integrating eco-design into their production processes, recycling their waste or using renewable energy.
In February 2017, 33 leading member companies of the Association Française des Entreprises Privées (Afep) pledged to carry out 100 actions in favor of the circular economy over the following six years.
These commitments reflect the seven pillars of the circular economy. Among the major firms involved, Danone, Eiffage, Total, and Veolia. Actors from very different sectors of activity, ranging from mass distribution to construction and energy solutions.
Almost two years later, are these commitments being met? Afep has regularly monitored the actions of these companies. In October 2018, it published a report on these “trajectories for the circular economy”.
The numbers speak for themselves: 79% of the commitments made in 2017 are following the initially envisaged schedule (from 1 to 6 years). Better still, 16 actions are ahead on their objectives and as many have been completed, almost all (94%) achieving their expected results.

Veolia in the loop

This work is also bearing fruit for Veolia. The Group is complying with the three main commitments it made in 2017 to the circular economy.
First goal: sustainable management of natural resources. In 2017, 65% of the waste treated by the Group was transformed into alternative energy materials and products. Veolia has also strengthened its ambition in the field of plastics recycling, aiming for a 1 billion euro turnover for this activity by 2025.
The second goal is to offer Veolia customers solutions that mitigate climate change. To enable sales and technical teams to compare the environmental footprints of several solutions and choose those that best meet the performance goals set by customers, the Group set up the GreenPath web platform.
Third challenge for Veolia: build new models of relationships and value creation by multiplying its partnerships. An objective that is on track with some 30 agreements signed since 2015.
In particular, Veolia has partnered with Danone in the fields of water cycle management, waste management and sustainable agriculture, with Huawei for the deployment of solutions for smart cities, and with Carbon Clean Solutions for capturing and recovering CO2 on a large scale.

New commitments

Why stop now when everything is going so well? On October 25, 2018, 21 new commitments were made by twelve of the signatory companies during the conference organized by Afep called "Circular economy: businesses in the loop!"
Among them, the Renault Group aims to increase its overall consumption of recycled plastic worldwide by 50%. As for the AccorHotels Group, its next goal is to recover 65% of the operating waste from its hotels.