© Alberto Restifo

The resource revolution needs women

Karen, Bianca, Alexandra, Sophie: 4 women who participate in the production of sustainable energy for all

 

# With SUEZ, Karen designs ad hoc solutions to recycle specific waste and transform incineration residues into new resources.

 

Karen de Boeck - Business Manager Energy From Waste SUEZ in Belgium 

© Verbruggen Thomas

"It is up to women to inspire others to enroll in a resource management’s career."

 

When and how did you start your commitment towards better resource management?

Like many of my generation, I have been raised not to waste. Don’t waste food, don’t spill water, don’t leave the lights on… So in a way the idea of resource management has been planted from a very young age. 

However, it wasn’t until my job with SUEZ, now 9 years ago, that it became a professional occupation. 

 

Can you give one or two examples of your contributions to the circular economy?

Do you know that when we incinerate household waste, 20% remains as residue: bottom ash? If it is sorted, sifted, and treated, bottom ash can produce four kinds of materials: aggregates for paving roads, plastics, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum and copper, and precious metals. 9 years ago I was hired at the Valomac plant in Belgium. At this plant, this residue, are recycled for reuse. 

To further upgrade the metal concentrates coming out of this plant, SUEZ constructed the metal separation plant "Valomet" based in Ghent. Valomet produces and delivers aluminium and copper to foundries and refineries, as a feedstock for new products. These finished products are prized by buyers, smelters, and refineries because they are 30 times more concentrated and 20 times less energy-consuming than minerals produced by the traditional mining industry.

Starting from the waste of waste, SUEZ is able to reintroduce materials into the value chain, that were otherwise lost or considered unrecoverable. 

 

And what would be your message to other women to act?

I still think that we are at the start of a major evolution. SUEZ will need a healthy balance of different viewpoints to be able to keep up in these fast changing times. My message to other women would be to speak up and speak out. Be visible, show yourselves. It is up to us to inspire others to feel at ease in a career in resource management. 

 

 

Like Karen, are you ready to transform waste materials into  new resources?
Join us

 

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# Bianca leads a movement empowering clusters to build Sustainable Development Goals-driven innovation ecosystems across Europe.

 

Bianca Dragomir - CEO of AVAESEN (Spain)

"Women have a tremendous power to embrace a changing world."
 

When and how did you start your commitment towards better resource management?

Years ago, I realized that climate change is something we, humans, don’t really comprehend. We need to find alternative and creative ways to have a positive impact on the planet. I truly believe that innovative technologies are the solution. It is a matter of survival. Collectively, companies, governments, researchers, investors and innovators, are very powerful. Clusters, as the AVAESEN, which are impact multipliers, can shape and lead this transformation.

 

Can you give one or two examples of your contributions to the circular economy?

In 2014, I launched the first climate-specific accelerator and the Global Green Business Idea Competition in Spain. Since then I have been accelerating more than 300 European cleantech start-ups to market in 12 countries.
Since 2018, I lead the Clusters of Change movement, empowering 2500 clusters to build open, bold, entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Goals-driven innovation ecosystems in Europe and beyond. 

 

And what would be your message to other women to act?

Women have a tremendous power to embrace a changing world. We need to move away from "business as usual" to "business unusual", where talented, disruptive, fearless women play a key role leading this change.

 

 

Like Bianca, are you ready to develop sustainable innovations? 
Join us

 

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# Alexandra develops innovative and more ecological ways of recovering waste.

 

Alexandra Bourgoin - VP Business Development Waste - SUEZ in Italy, Central & Eastern Europe. 

"There are great development opportunities for women engaged in the resource revolution."
 

When and how did you start your commitment towards better resource management?

I have been working for more than 16 years at SUEZ in various positions in France and abroad. I started my career working for Recycling & Recovery activity in France as a project manager for the recycling of end-of-life products. As part of the European Life PAMELA (Process for Advanced Management of End-of-Life of Aircraft) project, I had the opportunity to show how it is possible to recover and recycle more than 90% of the total weight of an aircraft. 

 

Can you give one or two examples of your contributions to the circular economy?

I have always worked on circular economy and resource conservation activities, particularly as the manager of an energy recovery plant. It was about producing energy from waste. 

 

And what would be your message to other women to act?

Our sector is at the heart of two revolutions: resources and energy. This represents many opportunities and challenges. Our operational activities have been modernized and require commitment to meet the many challenges ahead. There are great development opportunities for women engaged in the resource revolution. The resource revolution needs us. 

 

 

Like Alexandra, are you ready to join the resource revolution? 
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# Sophie is truly interested in environmental issues. She wants to make a positive impact in the field of waste management. 

 

Sophie Monteil - Plant manager for energetic recovery of hazardous waste in Schkopau SUEZ site (Germany)

"I wish that every woman lives her professional life with respect for her personal values, as I am fortunate enough to do at SUEZ."

 

When and how did you start your commitment towards better resource management ?

I have always been interested in environmental issues and it turned out to a real experience, through the different opportunities I had in the fields of energy distribution, energy production from waste and waste water treatment. My first direct experience in the field of resource management was the construction of a recycling facility in the South of France : waste is coming in and new raw materials going out of the sorting chain, that was the clear demonstration of my possible impact, and it was the starting point for all my next commitments.  

 

Can you give one or two examples of your contributions to the circular economy?

After this first experience I have been the production manager of a waste to energy plant for 6 years, producing power for the own needs of the plant and delivering steam to the public heat network. Then I moved to be the industrial risk manager of a WWTP producing biogas from the sludge and thus allowing to reduce the fossil fuel energies consumption of the plant. 
I would say that circular economy has always been a part of my professional life, and that it is not a coincidence, but this is clearly related to my personal values and commitments.

 

And what would be your message to other women to act ?

The activities of the SUEZ group and the revolution it aims to lead are at the very heart of the current challenges of the Earth. Facing the huge technical issues linked to the revolution of the resource, we accompany our customers in their own resource and energy challenges, bringing innovative and sustainable solutions. We lead the multiple required transformations – including the mindsets of our teams, customers and families – which gives us the opportunity to develop our skills by making a difference for the planet.
 


 

Like Sophie, are you ready to act for a more circular world? 
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