What is biodiversity?
For the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB), biodiversity represents "all living beings and the ecosystems in which they live”. This notion also takes into account "the interactions of species with each other and with their environment.”
The term did not appear until the 1980s. It was in 1992, when the Convention on Biological Diversity was signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), that the protection of biodiversity was recognized as important for humanity.
In order to allow all species to exist, we promote initiatives to protect biodiversity and ecosystems on a daily basis by designing appropriate and environmentally friendly solutions.
How serious is the biodiversity crisis?
Ecosystems and biodiversity are at risk. Human activities are altering natural environments, fauna and flora.
The experts of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have published an alarming report. Their estimates demonstrate the urgency of the biodiversity crisis: over 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction in the coming decades out of an estimated 8 million, including 5.5 million insects. Among those species at risk of global extinction are nearly 33% of coral reefs, more than a third of all marine mammals, over 40% of amphibians, and 10% of insect species.
75% of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions
Source: Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
This situation also threatens us. The decline in the quality of water, air and soil affects how ecosystems function, and consequently the quality of the services they provide to humans, such as the generation of raw materials and energy. According to the UN, more than 60% of these services provided by nature are being degraded, impoverishing biodiversity and jeopardizing the future of humanity. Our mission is to act daily to reduce the environmental impact of our activities and those of our customers in order to conserve biodiversity.
Our approach: actions in the city, on farms, at our sites and those of our clients
The biodiversity crisis concerns us all. We are deeply involved in this challenge to protect species and ecosystems around the world. Since 2008, we have been a partner of the French committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which, since 1964, has been compiling the most comprehensive global inventory of the conservation status of plant and animal species. In order to act in a committed and resolute manner, we have developed an active approach to biodiversity in several areas:
- Identify sites operated in priority biodiversity zones and develop tools to establish biodiversity diagnostics;
- Improve our processes, reduce the impact of our facilities, develop ecological engineering solutions;
- Information, training and awareness-raising of our teams and customers about biodiversity issues, throughout the world, to give meaning to our action.
With this method, we provide solutions adapted to the different situations encountered at our sites or those of our clients, in cities and on farms.
Increase ecological management of our sites and those of our clients
We promote initiatives to protect biodiversity. In France, for example, in 2012 we produced and provided our sites with the Ecological Management of Veolia Sites guide, which is updated each year with new information. It lists ecosystem-friendly measures for designing and/or managing sites. It also details actions to promote the regeneration of native species, protect and diversify habitats for wildlife and pollinators, and defend against invasive alien species.
Taking into account the urban scale
We enrich biodiversity in the city. We are interested in different methods of urban agriculture: shared vegetable gardens, in public spaces or on rooftops with permaculture systems, micro-market gardening and aquaculture. Boosting these activities also makes it possible to create islands of coolness and to sequester carbon through vegetation.
Support for farms
We provide eco-responsible and natural methods to limit the environmental impact of farms. Water use is a key point for improving their competitiveness and reducing their environmental footprint. We develop solutions for natural wastewater treatment and sensor systems that promote the circular economy of resources.
- The gradual introduction of "zero herbicides" in its various contracts to limit the use of chemical products
- Urban farming to feed cities and promote biodiversity
- Treat and recycle wastewater for aquaculture and watering urban farms
- Continuous and remote monitoring of infrastructure, alarms and water quality of aquaculture systems
- Turn bio-waste into a resource
- Greener, more economical and less polluting wastewater treatment plants using a system of plants, bacteria and micro-organisms.
The Veolia difference
We did it!
As part of the renewal of the Société des Eaux de Marseille contract, we have made robust commitments to protecting biodiversity: fauna and flora analysis at 134 sites, stocking of 100 km of the Marseille canal with fish, installation of 120 beehives, 250 nesting boxes for wild bees, 10 insect hotels and 20 bat shelters, planting 650 shrubs each year, etc.
At the Woodlawn site, we are establishing an effective food loop: the methane from Sydney's household waste is used to produce electricity for 2,500 households, and to heat the barramundi fish farm ponds to 28° C. The fish is sold on the Canberra market (2.5 metric tons per year).