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France places resource management at the heart of its “Industry of the Future” plan


The French Government is counting on reindustrialisation to stimulate its economy. After launching 34 plans for a “new industrial France” in 2013, this past month, it entered into the second phase of its programme to create “the Industry of the Future”. The goal is to help French industry respond better to market requirements by finding solutions designed to meet tomorrow’s great challenges. This new plan is focused on nine priority themes, among the most important of which is resource management.

Along with transportation, health, digital confidence and big data, two of the nine priority themes are dedicated to resource management: “new resources” and “the sustainable city”. The first of these is designed to develop the use of new biosourced and recycled materials by all industries so as to promote more efficient and ecological production. This goal will allow better use of resources by focusing on the circular economy and on the recycling of products and materials. To achieve this, the plan will promote industrial installations capable of collecting, sorting and recycling new materials, in particular plastic and electronic waste, waste from buildings and public works, and carbon fibre waste. The plan is accompanied by quantified goals to reduce waste stockpiling (a reduction of 30% by 2020 and 50% by 2025) and to promote recycling of non-hazardous waste (an increase of 55% by 2020 and of 60% by 2025).

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Resources are also at the heart of the sustainable city theme. The challenge set by the Government is to “create cities that use resources more economically”. In the face of increasing urbanisation and the associated impacts on global warming and the environment, the plan in particular aims to promote “more intelligent management of our water and energy resources through the use of digital tools (smart grids) and improving our handling of resources, from original supply up to recycling”. In the area of water in particular, four priority themes have been set: the development of the water purification plant of the future, the desalination of seawater, intelligent water networks and water resource management.

The “Industry of the Future” plan includes industrial companies in its governance. Its management body thus incorporates an alliance of industry and digital players that includes more than 33,000 companies, alongside the French government, regions and many other partners. The industrial companies have also been entrusted with the implementation of the themes. Jean-Louis Chaussade, Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, for example, is one of the sustainable city project leads. The “Industry of the Future” will also have available €3.4 billion in funds to support industrial projects in each of the nine thematic priority areas. The government expects this investment to stimulate the French economy and increase employment. For example, the sustainable city should allow €100 billion in revenue to be generated by 2020 and create more than 16,000 jobs in the water management sector alone. The plan also provides for the creation of 20,000 jobs in the waste management sector by 2020.