One of the leading members of the resource and waste management sector in the UK, David Palmer-Jones, has been promoted to a wider European role within the Suez group.
Palmer-Jones has been appointed group senior executive VP for Northern Europe, responsible for Suez’s recycling and recovery business activities across Northern Europe, which covers the UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Serbia, Czech Republic. He will also be responsible for hazardous waste activities for all of Europe.
The appointment, which takes effect from 1 January 2020, is part of a restructuring of the global leadership following Bertrand Camus’ promotion to group ceo in May 2019. John Scanlon, who has been chief operating officer in the UK for the past four years steps up to become ceo of Suez in the UK.
One of Palmer-Jones’ last major responsibilities in the UK was to launch a special report in September calling for ‘seismic shifts’ in how we view and define waste over the next 20-30 years to achieve a more sustainable future. SUEZ estimates that investment of up to £35 billion (EUR 41 billion) will be required.
New cost drivers identified in the report include the need to invest in new technologies and facilities capable of converting residual waste into electrical energy as well as fuel and chemical molecules; an overhaul of logistics and container infrastructure; new or niche material streams, such as flexible packaging; new data collection and analytics systems and campaigns to change consumer behaviour.
Of the report, David Palmer-Jones said: ‘We are facing a revolution in the resource and waste sector. With radical new policies on the horizon, new value will be found in niche waste streams, which will demand new technologies and products. Furthermore, our sector will need to consider what we do, and how we do it, in light of carbon targets and the need for restorative action on natural capital, biodiversity and the general environment.’
Earlier this year, SUEZ UK won two contracts for waste management and recycling for the Greater Manchester region – the biggest municipal deal of its kind in the UK. It includes the management of more than one million tonnes of municipal waste from over one million households.
The two contracts cover the operation of 41 facilities over 24 sites including four mechanical treatment and rail head reception facilities, 20 household waste recycling centres and a materials recovery facility.
Palmer-Jones has had a 30-year career within the European sector since joining Suez in 1989 to set up the group’s UK operations. From 2012 until 2014 he was chairman of the UK’s Environmental Services Association, followed by a three-year term as president of FEAD (the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services). His leadership at FEAD helped shape EU policy to form the terms of a European Commission’s Circular Economy Package.
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