SUEZ recycling and recovery UK (SUEZ) has today (16 September 2021) announced its social value results for 2020. In the face of the economic and operational challenges posed by Covid-19 in 2020, SUEZ created £1.99 billion in social value, up from £1.55 billion in 2019.
SUEZ uses bespoke software designed by specialists Social Profit Calculator, to evaluate and understand the value of the wider social, environmental and economic benefits generated by its activities. A key contributor to the increase in social value created in 2020 was continued employment growth, that saw SUEZ’s workforce increase by over 400 with the start of its ten year contract with Somerset Waste Partnership in March. Increased household recycling also played a major role, with many people working from home for most of the year.
The increased social value was achieved in spite of a fall in the ratio of social value generated per tonne of waste handled from £2.32 in 2019 to £2.26 in 2020. This fall was linked to the pandemic restrictions which saw SUEZ’s 25 reuse shops closed for up to half of the year, and many education and community outreach activities suspended from spring.
We are very much a part of the communities that we serve, and I’m proud of the way our teams sought new ways to support and work with their local communities last year when faced with the challenge of the pandemic
As highlighted in a guide published by SUEZ and Eunomia in March, social value is more meaningful when tailored to an area’s specific needs and, faced with the restrictions, SUEZ’s teams sought new ways to support their local communities. These included: re-directing community funds to support groups most affected by the pandemic ; introducing a ‘Giving Something Back at Christmas’ fund suppoting local community and environmental charities nominated by staff ; launching award-winning, free STEM education resources for teachers and home educators covering key stages one, two and three and; particpating in virtual community and education activities such as heritage open day and STEM careers events.
John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said: ‘We are very much a part of the communities that we serve, and I’m proud of the way our teams sought new ways to support and work with their local communities last year when faced with the challenge of the pandemic. At SUEZ we are clear that our activities must benefit more than the bottom line and the social value we created in 2020 shows how this approach is being embraced throughout the organisation, with social value a core part of our business strategy.’
Sarah Ottaway, Sustainability and Social Value Lead for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said: ‘We are now in our third year of evaluating and measuring the social value created by our activities and this understanding is helping us to deliver meaningful social value across the country. With the lifting of restrictions this year allowing us to resume and expand our reuse offering, and by retaining some of the innovations introduced last year during the pandemic such as virtual educational tours of our facilities, I’m confident we’ll continue to build on our social value in 2021.’