As the water industry is poised for significant changes in climate, smart solutions, and more, Agatha Wong speaks with Sabrina Soussan, chairman and CEO of SUEZ, to find out more about the company’s strategy in the years to come.
To begin with, can you share with us your experience as CEO of SUEZ since your appointment earlier this year?
Soussan: The first months have been filled with much listening, interacting and getting to know as many colleagues, from across 40 countries we operate in, as possible. I have been particularly impressed by our Chinese Team which has been working under very difficult conditions due to lockdowns imposed as countermeasures to COVID-19. Over that period, we have also achieved a number of significant milestones. We have completed three acquisitions: hazardous waste in France; EnviroServ, the leader in waste treatment in Southern Africa; and our former recycling and recovery (R&R) assets in the UK. These moves highlight the optimism and confidence of our shareholders in SUEZ’s future. Once the acquisitions are finalised, the SUEZ global team would have grown from 35,000 to 44,000 employees and our annual revenue risen from €7.5 to €9bn.
Can you comment on SUEZ’s new strategy? What are some of the changes that customers can expect from it moving forward?
Soussan: Our plan is an ambitious one, in line with the increasingly important environmental challenges facing our world. My ambition for SUEZ is that we become the trusted partner of industrial companies and local authorities for circular solutions in water and waste. This strategy will progress SUEZ towards its goals through three pillars: focus, differentiation and enhanced value creation.
• We will focus on our core business: the complete waste and water value chains, including related services, and concentrate our efforts on certain particularly buoyant markets, such as Asia, the United Kingdom, Italy, India, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.
• We will differentiate by offering a unique value proposition to our customers, built on our proven infrastructure, on our expertise with a recognised leadership in smart and digital solutions, on end user experience, and on innovation.
• We will offer enhanced value creation by being more selective with our projects, making digitalisation and service excellence our drivers for competitiveness.
By 2027, this strategy will enable us to be a benchmark in our industry, recognised for our agility, capacity to create value, and innovation.
SUEZ will invest an additional €860m compared to the previous period to address new environmental and energy challenges. What do you think are the most pressing issues in the industry, and how will SUEZ continue to create differentiated solutions to meet these needs?
Soussan: Our industry currently faces historic challenges, characterised by strong momentum for green transition from governments, industries and customers. SUEZ has been part of this evolution by taking the lead in action and expanding its expertise. We will continue to devote our efforts in addressing environmental challenges regionally in this fast-changing world. True to our partnership culture, we will double our investments, alongside our customers, mobilising an additional €860m compared to the previous period for the digitalisation of water networks, decarbonisation and energy efficiency, for example. We will also increase our innovation capacity, with a 50% increase in our R&D budget by 2027 to develop differentiated solutions for preserving water resources, combating pollutants, recycling, producing green energy from waste; and reducing our own carbon footprint, as well as that of our customers. Digital technology is also an important lever for improving performance and agility and for developing new solutions. We will continue to invest in this area, with the goal of doubling our revenues from these activities in five years.
The full article is available on the latest edition of Water & Wastewater Asia Nov/Dec 2022 issue. To continue reading, click here.