Interview with Alexis de Kerchove, Xylem Senior Director, Client Sustainability & WE Board Member College A ‘Multinational Corporations’
You are a Water Europe board member of college A ‘Multinational Corporations’- Could you tell us what drives you personally to have this role at Water Europe? What do you want to achieve?
Water Europe has close to 250 members from across the water management sector – including solution suppliers, utilities, municipalities, industrial water users and academic institutions. As the world is changing, water-related challenges need more ambitious commitments from all of us to secure access to safe and affordable water and wastewater services. My goal in taking this role with Water Europe is to bridge knowledge among all of us through networking and collaboration and bring perspective to what is possible for water with technologies, software and services. Our success as a community will lead us in transforming our commitments into opportunities for all.
Why do you consider it important for Xylem to be part of Water Europe?
Xylem is a global technology and solution supplier devoted to advancing the smarter use of water for a future where global water issues do not exist. Being part of Water Europe provides an opportunity for Xylem experts and engineers to connect with peers and solve water technology challenges, as well as for Xylem leaders to champion themselves as advisors to policy makers.
Water Europe provides the structure needed for exchanging knowledge with all stakeholders and for all of us to grow together with a shared purpose.
Which ones do you consider the biggest challenges of the European water sector, at the moment, and how do you see us overcoming them?
Climate change is unfortunately happening, and adaptation to more frequent droughts or floods is no longer just a choice. We must adapt now or our communities will not survive otherwise as we know them. Where we still have a chance to act is in the mitigation of further climate aggravation. It’s estimated that water and wastewater utilities contribute 2-5% of global GHG emissions. And water use and management more broadly account for 10% of global GHG emissions. We know, however, that the services the water sector provides are nothing short than life giving. Still, we are contributing to climate change and that’s our problem to own – and to solve. We can overcome our emissions together by holding to our commitments, knowledge, and community through Water Europe and beyond.
Building a water-smart society is our vision. Which actions shall we prioritise to make this happen?
Water Europe’s vision can be met through strong collaboration. Collaboration in building the framework empowers all water management stakeholders to own their commitments, knowledge, and community. Commitments to being water neutral and being net-zero in GHG emissions. Our sector depends on it. Knowledge is to be used so that future design builds more efficiencies and determination to reduce water uses and GhG emissions. Community is to promote diversity and blend experience from all experts to the energy of youngsters. The younger generations do not accept inaction. Water Europe will only win by bringing them along with its vision, sharing with them its experience, learning from their disruptive ideas, and never shying away from demanding more.