Viridor report highlights UK investments

Waste management company Viridor has published its 2019 Sustainability Report, setting out the company’s commitment to improving its environmental impact.

The report highlights Viridor’s three areas of priority: plastics, biodiversity and sustainable finance.

A screenshot from Viridor's 2019 Sustainability Report

As part of the company’s pledge to improve plastics recycling, Viridor has signed up to parent company Pennon’s Plastic Programme, which pushes for better resource efficiency through investment, innovation, collaboration, campaigning and engagement.

At the heart of this is £65 million investment in a new plastics recycling facility in Avonmouth, near Bristol, which the company claims will result in 80,000 tonnes of recycled plastic placed back onto the market.

The company will also invest £15 million in the refurbishment of its Masons materials recovery facility (MRF) near Ipswich.

Such investments reflect a strategic response to changing market conditions. With international markets for low quality plastic waste diminishing following China’s decision to introduce contamination thresholds, larger waste management companies have been investing in domestic infrastructure to reprocess plastic collected from businesses and households.

This investment comes at a time when the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy sets out plans for extended producer responsibility (EPR), which will result in the full cost of packaging recovery paid met by charges levied on producers.

The report also highlights Viridor’s new biodiversity strategy, which involves a restoration roadmap for the company’s Beddington Farmlands site, including plans for creating a network of habitats. The company also cites sustainable finance as a key priority, claiming that 72 per cent of finance in 2018/19 was raised under an environmental framework.

Phil Piddington, Managing Director for Viridor, said: “At Viridor, we know that there are obvious benefits to a clear, strategic and long-term approach to sustainability.

“This enhances our business performance, strengthens resilience and protects the environment and our ongoing license to operate via regulatory compliance. It is integral to our business and, most importantly, it meets our customers’ expectations and those of the communities in which we operate.

“We have actively pressed for a more sustainable and circular economy around the waste and resources value chain, and the publication of the Resources and Waste Strategy for England is a significant recent development.

“We welcome the Resources and Waste Strategy, and the forthcoming legislation to deliver on it, and believe it will bring positive changes towards greater resource efficiency across the UK.”

Dan Cooke, Group Head of Sustainability for Pennon
Dan Cooke, Group Head of Sustainability for Pennon

Dan Cooke, Group Head of Sustainability for Pennon, added: “Our group sustainability strategy sets out a clear environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework. This enables long and shorter-term target setting to drive performance across all areas of the business.

“Viridor also continues to encourage our customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders to familiarise themselves with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and to see how we can all contribute towards them. This year, Viridor has aligned its own key sustainability focus areas to the Global Goals to be able to measure our own contribution and sustainability in the years to come.”

You can read the full Sustainability Report on Viridor’s website.

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