ANGEL SIMÓN: “PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATION ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO MAKE PROGRESS IN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT”
28 February 2017
In the context of the 150th anniversary of Aigües de Barcelona, during a meeting organized by the French Chamber of Commerce in Barcelona, the Executive Vice-President of SUEZ, Angel Simón, highlighted the constant commitment to service and the capacity to anticipate and respond to the major challenges of the company in a context in which the role of companies and collaboration with the administrations is fundamental in order to make progress with sustainable development.
During his intervention, before an audience made up of representatives from the Catalan and French business world, he underlined the importance of partnerships and shared values between organizations in order to structure a long-term project and make it viable. In this respect, he stressed the long history and understanding between SUEZ and La Caixa, which has made it possible to confront major challenges, from access to water and sewerage to the generation of responses to climate change.
Together — said Angel Simón — we are stronger, we take advantage of networking and of synergies in technology and we have a greater capacity to innovate in resource management and thus make progress toward building the circular economy in our spheres of activity.
The group has two priorities in the water sphere, starting from innovation and alignment with stakeholders: consolidation of its roots and of leadership in the markets in which it is present and the penetration of new markets, both aspects using Advanced Solutions as a lever for development. We focus our efforts on improvement both in the municipal sphere and in agriculture and industry, always seeking greater efficiency in the complete water cycle and prioritizing sustainable development.
Angel Simón likewise explained that one of the fronts on which it is necessary to concentrate is agriculture, since it consumes 70% of our water resources. With the increase in the population and the need for more food, there will be ever-increasing demand. Through irrigation improvements and technological progress, we must achieve "smart agriculture", which does not only mean the application of technology, but also offering new business models suitable for the needs of farmers.
In this context of increasing water scarcity, the company is carrying out a transformation in four aspects: digital, innovation, sustainable and social (DISS). Digital, because our activity must be based on complete connectivity; innovation, because we need to implement new solutions to optimize water management; sustainable, because we must make responsible use of resources, and social, because people are the centre of our focus.
150th anniversary of Aigües de Barcelona
Angel Simón emphasized that 2017 is a very significant year, since it is the 150th anniversary of Aigües de Barcelona. Over this century and a half, the company has been witness to and at the same time a major player in the city's transformation. We have accompanied the development of Barcelona, also at the most difficult times — epidemics, episodes of drought, multiplication of the population —, but the supply has never been interrupted, not even in episodes of extreme drought such as those that we recently experienced.
In relation to the company's long history, Angel Simón indicated certain success stories which demonstrate excellence of service. Thus, continuity of the service is around 99.96%, meaning that the citizens of Barcelona are without water for an average 15 seconds a year. In this respect, Aigües de Barcelona is the number one company in the world.
He also explained that discounts are offered to pay for the water supply of those families or people who do not have sufficient income. At present, 16,400 families — almost 50,000 people — have benefited from this subsidy. This entails allocating €5.7m to the solidarity fund to guarantee the right to water. And we have never cut off the water to anyone who cannot pay for it, concluded Angel Simón.