Business

Viridor making progress towards UN sustainability goals

Waste management company Viridor has released its Sustainability Report 2017 (19 September), outlining the progress the company has made in relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including its investment in Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities to provide clean and affordable energy.

Since the adoption of the UN’s 17 SDGs, which aim to end poverty and create a sustainable and prosperous planet for all, Viridor has been taking steps to improve the sustainability of its operations.

In its latest sustainability report, released on Monday (18 September), the waste management firm measures its progress against eight of the SDGs: good health and well-being, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and life on land.

Viridor making progress towards UN sustainability goals

In the report, Phil Piddington, Viridor Managing Director, wrote: ‘All of the UN SDGs are important. Several especially resonate with Viridor as we continue to work with our customers and partners to deliver greater resource efficiency. This report focuses on our performance and gives examples of our contribution towards the SDGs.’

Energy recovery investment

Viridor highlighted its continued investment in EfW facilities, with eight now fully operational, providing 244 megawatts of renewable energy, and another four currently under construction.

Two of the projects under construction, in Dunbar and South London (Beddington) are well into the construction phase, while Glasgow’s Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre is receiving waste and generating energy, with energy recovery facility commissioning expected to begin later this year.

Viridor’s Avonmouth investment will become operational in 2020, with ground works underway following the completion of site infrastructure. The facility will be supply energy to the national grid, providing enough energy to power 44,000 homes.

Resource efficiency

Regarding the responsible consumption and production goal, which aims to promote resource and energy efficiency, Viridor reports encouraging progress in that field.

Viridor made seeking new solutions and driving innovation in the waste and recycling industry one of its key goals for the 2016/17 period.

On top of recycling 1.6 million tonnes processing 2.2 million tonnes of throughput for energy recovery, and collecting 7.6 million tonnes of waste material input in the last year alone, Viridor’s team at their Rochester based plastic recycling facility, which is capable of processing 75,000 tonnes of mixed plastics every year, partnered with WRAP-funded packaging specialists, Nextek, to develop a solution to the 1.3 billion non-recyclable black plastic ready meal trays sold in UK supermarkets.

Furthermore, Viridor continues to participate in two Circular Economy Task Forces (CETFs), The Green Alliance CETF and the Business in the Community CETF, both of which it was a founding member. Both seek to drive innovation in resource efficiency, with the former focusing on possible improvements for UK policy, and the latter establishing exemplar case studies for businesses within the community.

Viridor has also committed to resources to educational and consumer awareness campaigns. Its ‘Switching on Minds’ campaign reached over 19 thousand visitors to Viridor’s 11 education centres, where groups learn about the need for a circular economy and how resources can be managed more efficiently in their local area.

Encouraging the message’s wider spread, leaflets and online media were distributed to students to be passed to families, with students invited to tell parents about their visit and make pledges to change their behaviour.

The full report is available on the Viridor website.