Eric Albaret, Sales Director Amiblu Group

Sustainability at Amiblu

Interview with Eric Albaret, Sales Director | Western Europe – Québec – Asia – Australasia, Amiblu Group

The concept of sustainability is widely used in all kinds of contexts. What does sustainability mean to you and Amiblu?

Sustainability is a key and priority target for Amiblu’s activities. Our pipes allow potable and used water to be transported and delivered over long distances, therefore contributing to urbanization, safe agriculture, effective industry and, globally, the construction of crucial long-term infrastructure. We need to supply products and services which contribute to sustainable development in all countries and areas where they are required. But, beyond such a cogent objective, which is shared today by most if not all industries, Amiblu believes that its own activities and operations have to incorporate a demanding and evolving sustainability effort and content. In short, aiming at incorporating critical public interest considerations within the product and service cycle is an essential part of our mission and a foundation of our values.

Sustainability is secured through achieving the best possible balance between its environmental economic and social objectives. Environmental sustainability involves all practices that contribute to the long-term quality and safeguarding of the environment. Companies must strive to protect natural resources and develop alternative sources of power which reduce pollution. The environment must be given top priority. It is a prerequisite for both social and economic sustainability. Economic sustainability requires employing existing resources optimally and protecting scarce resources at all stages of a product’s life cycle. Social sustainability is the ability of a country to maintain social wellbeing for an indefinite time. Future generations should have the same or greater access to social resources as the current generation. There should also be equal access to social resources within the current generation.

All these factors overlap, interact, and if any of them is missing, a system cannot be deemed sustainable. We seek, through our organization, a combination of resources and research, to further each aspect and thus attain within, and contribute to obtaining for our customers, a high degree of sustainability by our activities, products and services. Amiblu shall be equated with unique and best sustainable water solutions. We continuously look closely at the many different processes and actors that shape a system and increase our understanding of how they influence each other. In short, we seek to improve the “pathway to sustainability”, which is known as sustainable development. The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. We wish to take this definition further and set a unique standard and record of sustainability for our industry. An expected product and system life-span of more than 150 years is the first and foremost expression of our ambition. There are many other parameters which shall together create the reference of the sustainability we intend to stand for.

Amiblu’s mission is to “speed up the world’s transition to sustainable water solutions”. Which factors are tackled in this approach?

All of them. The preservation of resources, environmental protection, and social wellbeing are all key combined targets for Amiblu. In addition, the level of sustainability Amiblu shall stand for will be defined by demanding and high-level standards which we shall actively promote.

Let’s take environment: How does Amiblu realize environmental sustainability?

Amiblu GRP pipes further sustainability in production and transport. This is particularly salient if comparisons are made with other traditional pipe system materials as well as with other more recent solutions. GRP pipes feature a small carbon footprint in production, low transport costs thanks to their light weight, fast installation, and an efficient operation. Our pipes easily tackle all challenges involved in installation and operation such as soil, traffic, and longitudinal loads, abrasion and corrosion, internal and external pressure. They preserve resources and the integrity of flow thanks to the excellent leak-tightness of their couplings. They also protect the integrity of networks and efficiency of flow thanks to their resistance against corrosion, abrasion, weather and root infiltration, as well as excellent hydraulic characteristics. All this helps maintain a sound environment on a very long-term scale.

What about the economic side of the coin?

Amiblu provides cost-effective solutions for all stakeholders involved in a project. Designers benefit from our flexible angular cut joint system, which makes a high angular deflection possible. This way, the trajectory is optimized without bends and costs are saved. Contractors are pleased about the pipes’ light weight, their quick and easy jointing, the ability to accommodate small misalignments or settlements, and the uncomplicated installation with trenchless technologies such as relining and microtunneling. Installation costs compare very favorably to those of other solutions and allow to balance the price of cheaper pipes using different materials. Operators and end-customers benefit from a product service life of more than 150 years, minimum consumption of resources, maximum energy output for hydropower, and low maintenance thanks to self-cleaning properties even at low flow. The overall life-cycle cost of GRP pipe systems is amongst the lowest available today, if not the lowest, and this trend will be confirmed with the passage of time.

Combining social sustainability with pipe systems seems to be a long shot. How does Amiblu succeed in this task?

Our focus on the long-term performance of our systems and determination to meet public interest demands involved in building and operating water infrastructures are key attitudes to achieve social sustainability.

Our GRP pressure pipes ensure the secure transport and availability of water and play a significant role in social and economic prosperity. We provide sustainable solutions for agriculture and industry, the biggest users of water, thus preserving our natural resources. Our hydropower solutions generate clean and renewable energy for generations to come. We build leak-tight sewer networks, which are essential for protecting our drinking water which originates from surface and ground water. Storm water retention tanks and CSO chambers are also part of our portfolio and help manage floods and droughts.

With no-dig technologies, we can significantly reduce disturbances from noise, dust, and road closures in modern cities while providing a structural long-term solution. We provide tailor-made solutions, for instance for wastewater treatment plants and double-pipe systems for tram line crossings. Our GRP pipes would be equipped with real-time monitoring systems that improve water management and help detect leakages.

Amiblu seeks to ensure that not a drop of valuable potable water is lost and not a square meter of soil is contaminated with sewage water, while ensuring that operators and society as a whole benefit from a reliable, truly sustainable pipe system. This is our responsibility and contribution to a sustainable development.

The value of our systems will accrue for at least a century and a half. The benefits of current innovation attached to procuring GRP pipe systems will be felt at purchase, installation and operation time throughout the unique life expectancy of Amiblu products. Such an achievement will not be easy to match with other piping solutions.