How does Suez do it?  On deposit return, too...

Why is Suez so successful?   We like to think that it's because they work with advisors like us! 

We first worked with Suez exactly 20 years ago. Our client has grown to become one of the world’s largest resource management businesses, serving industrial clients in the UK such as Jaguar Land Rover - as well as many local authorities.

Adam Read joined Suez from consultancy firm Ricardo in Autumn of 2017 to take on a role vacated by industry veteran Gev Eduljee. In October, over a cup of terrible coffee in a café on Oxford Street, we talked about how Suez contributes to thinking on policy development. It’s important, of course, for the company to shape thinking about energy from waste or international trade in wastes, but Gev made it clear that Suez is even more interested in Extended Producer Responsibility, Circular Economy and Product Stewardship. Getting these things right makes it easier to invest for the long term and in the right infrastructure.


As a second cup of appalling coffee arrived, Adam took the lead and challenged us: “So what should be our priority theme in the next few months?”

After some discussion we said to our oldest client “It’s not new. In fact it’s at least 30-years old… but the timing looks promising now. Ellen MacArthur and Blue Planet have made plastic waste an emotional issue. Michael Gove is the first serious appointment at Defra in years, Roseanna Cunningham MSP is about to announce a commitment to create a scheme in Scotland… Why not provide evidence on deposit return schemes as another step toward extended producer responsibility?”

Adam and Gev, perhaps keen to stop drinking coffee, signed off quickly but not before highlighting that David Palmer-Jones, their CEO, has been advocating deposit return schemes for years on the basis that they drive up recycling rates and improve the quality of recycled materials.

When Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stood at the podium in the Natural History Museum on 28 March 2018 to announce the Government’s intention to launch a deposit return scheme, he did so knowing that Suez had published on the same day a thorough quantitative study recommending that such a scheme is limited to “on the go” drinks containers.

Why is Suez so successful? This one small example hints at some underlying reasons, but we also like to think that it is because Suez works with bright advisors like us!

Note: No single use coffee cups were used at this meeting.

Read our study and let us know if we got something wrong…

...or you can read the full report including SUEZ' commentary from this link.