A Minute with Frédéric Théry, Chief Executive Officer, Veolia Water Technologies, Asia Pacific

July marks the lead up to one of the most important events on the calendar for Asia’s water and wastewater industries. In a little more than a week, we will welcome the seventh edition of the Singapore International Water Week. To count down with you, we will run two exclusive interviews with top water companies in the days leading up to the show. Read the first of our two below!

Almost two months ago, Veolia Water Technologies (Veolia) announced the appointment of Frédéric Théry as its new Asia Pacific Chief Executive Officer. Mr Théry stepped up to the new role in January 2016, and oversees Veolia’s business in the Asia Pacific region. According to the announcement, he will guide the company in its transition to a new internal structure.

In the same announcement, Veolia strategically reorganised its operational entities according to four geographical regions towards the end of 2015 in a bid to facilitate greater cooperation between the company’s various business units. With this restructuring, Veolia aims to improve overall productivity, and to better integrate its water and wastewater expertise across the board.

To find out more about this reorganisation and to help you get acquainted with Mr Théry before you drop by Veolia’s booth to say “Hi!”, WWA talks to him – more details below:

1. What are Veolia’s thoughts about water management in SEA?

Water scarcity threats are becoming increasingly prevalent in Asia. Water scarcity is hitting closer to home than ever, with Malaysia currently practicing water rationing due to droughts. In light of this situation, manufacturers are moving towards water conservation and adoption of reuse technologies such as water harvesting and recycling to improve their water footprint. Local authorities like Singapore’s national water agency, Public Utilities Board (PUB), are also leading the way with initiatives like the Water Efficiency Fund, to encourage industrial investments that will help reduce and recycle water resources in the long run.

In the same way, Veolia also encourages manufacturers to implement water solutions and adopt water metric tools like Veolia’s True Cost of Water (TCoW) and the Water Impact Index (WiiX). These monitoring tools allow manufacturers to identify water risks linked to their business growth – this is especially significant for facilities located in water stressed regions, as the tools can help companies to safeguard and ensure their business continuity.

We believe in the idea of value creation, and we hope to encourage more new opportunities in water management. Nestlé is an example of a world leader that has inspired innovative ways to manage wastewater. Its dairy factory in Jalisco, Mexico, was transformed into a zero water manufacturing site with Veolia’s technologies. A first across all of Nestlé’s manufacturing sites, the Jalisco plant contributes to water savings of 1.6 million liters of groundwater daily, the equivalent of the average daily water consumption of 6,400 Mexicans. As water management in Asia becomes more integral for business sustainability, Nestlé’s success may become an inspiration for others to model after.

2. What are the key challenges and trends for the water industry in this region?

Some of the key challenges include the low price of water, tightening of environmental regulations across the region, water scarcity, and climate change. The low price of water has contributed to a careless attitude towards the resource amongst Asian companies. This has been a stumbling block for many solution providers, as these companies are unable to see beyond the long-term value of conserving, recycling, and reusing the water. However, with water scarcity, climate change, and tightening environmental regulations across the region, more companies are starting to consider their water footprint and are taking measures to ensure business sustainability.

As manufacturers start to assess the impact of their business activities on the environment, they begin to realize the long term business benefits of becoming more socially and environmentally responsible. Many have started to develop their own global corporate green agendas to ensure continued water supply for their business activities.

At the national level, state leaders have a separate set of challenges to tackle too. Developing countries typically experience strains in their existing water resources due to economic expansions. For these economies to continue progressing, it is important that the respective governing bodies address the water and energy nexus, as the interdependent relationship has significance for global industries like food & beverage, power, and other consumer goods. Energy production requires water, but energy is also vital to water production and circulation. A constraint on either resource has the potential to negatively impact the other, and manufacturers operating in these regions have to be mindful of this nexus.

3. How have water challenges influenced Veolia’s strategies for this region?

In response to water scarcity challenges, Veolia engages various groups of individuals through different channels, from the corporate level all the way down to the community. We actively encourage manufacturers to recycle wastewater, adopt water reuse solutions, and to integrate water metric tools within their business operations. Additionally, Veolia also partners with schools to create water awareness. As local authorities tighten environmental regulations, we see more opportunities opening up as manufacturers are now turning to water specialists for water and wastewater management support.

With our water metric tools (e.g. TCoW and WiiX), we demonstrate the dollar value of water and monetize water risks to reach out to key decision makers, which tackles the challenge of businesses prioritizing the bottom line. Veolia’s close relationships with its clients has been mutually beneficial, as Veolia is able to develop and refine its solutions based on clients’ feedback, enabling clients to better mitigate current water challenges. Industry events like Think Tank Asia has also provided Veolia with input, influencing the company’s strategies for the region.

For example, Veolia’s new MBBR Pack, a modular package solution based on Veolia’s AnoxKaldnes™ biofilm principle for treating wastewater, has been developed to tackle specific problems and quality objectives of municipal and industrial clients. With its plug-and-play function, the MBBR Pack is easy to install and is ideal for clients wanting to be equipped with wastewater solutions quickly.

4. What can we expect from Veolia at SIWW?

At SIWW 2016, Veolia will be launching a brand new solution for the region – Hydrex™ AquaVista™ Smart Chemical Dosing & Monitoring Technology – that provides a fully integrated platform to manage cooling systems. Delivering remote monitoring of water treatment systems, the system features five levels of optimization including water consumption, chemical consumption, occupational safety, operational productivity, and human productivity.

In addition, innovative water technologies including AnoxKaldnes™ Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR), Actiflo®, and Biobed® will be showcased, and all-day demonstrations will be provided to help visitors learn more about Veolia’s technologies. Separately, Veolia will be hosting a briefing session on 11 July from 8.30am to 9.30am*, to share more about its innovative, in-house water reuse technologies.

*Information is accurate at time of print. Event timing is subject to change.

5. What is the purpose of your visit to SIWW 2016, and what are your anticipations?

Our primary objective at SIWW 2016 is to keep the industry updated on Veolia’s latest water and wastewater technologies for the region. We will be introducing our new solution, Hydrex™ AquaVista, to visitors and fellow industry professionals, and also showcase Veolia’s tried and proven solutions for the water industry.

As always, Veolia aims to establish new relationships and connect with existing customers at the event to better understand the challenges and trends that the water and wastewater industry is facing. These connections will allow us to develop targeted solutions that address real needs for the industry at large.

We look forward to interacting with industry professionals at the Veolia booth, Stand B2-F18, during SIWW.