Veolia Environmental Services chief executive Estelle Brachlianoff has spoken out about the need for a greater diversity of talent in the waste sector in order to drive the industry forward.
Brachlianoff was appointed the chief executive of Veolia ES in August 2012 – the first female in this position in the company’s history.
However, the industry is still needs to attract to be “more innovative” and to “think outside the box” in order to encourage innovation and improve technology.
Key to this, she said, was attracting younger, more diverse talent through better communication and showing that “waste is not a rubbish job”.
“The truth is that the environmental sector is now the most innovative and cutting edge for new technology, so we need to attract youth and more women,” she said. “If we want to attract all the best staff with all the best skills, then let’s think about how we can communicate our message.
Ms Brachlianoff spoke at the ‘Energy from Waste 2013 – Key Lessons Learnt; Driving Industry Forward’ conference in London on March 21, organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
Although diversity in the waste industry had changed a lot in the last 20 years, she said, more work was still needed. “The more women we can attract to the sector the better we can be.”
She said: “I am talking about the next generation and the people we are going to attract. Personally, I believe that we need to be willing to change our mindset and be part of an industry that attracts youth and innovative graduates. We need to show that waste is not a rubbish job.”
Comparing the industry to a recipe, Ms Brachlianoff, who moved her family to London from France to take up her role at Veolia ES, said that it needed “a little something that will make it taste a little bit different.”
“I think that in the industry as a whole we need a change of perception, but it is not just a female thing, it is a diversity thing. Let’s be more innovative and think outside the box. The waste industry should look like the London Tube in terms of diversity but it does not at the moment.”