Éric Lesueur, CEO of 2EI, a Veolia subsidiary

“Reusing freed soil is an excellent opportunity to increase the local region’s density with a smart habitat”

Published in the dossier of December 2019

2EI provides urban project leads with contracting authority support services to define and implement a sustainability strategy and cities with regional strategy consultancy services: risk and disaster management plans, resilience, or the integration of digital tools linked to new social, economic and environmental dynamics. Its added advantage is delivering the methods and know-how of an engineering and consulting firm, enriched by the Veolia Group’s expertise as an environmental services provider, adapting them to each situation.

Éric Lesueur, CEO of 2EI, a Veolia subsidiary

How do you implement your strategy in such different locations?

Thanks to the rigorous methodologies we adopt, we are equally capable of supporting the city of Milwaukee in designing its resilience strategy — as we did in 2018 — as providing contracting authority support services to developers and planners in the Greater Paris area.

Our contracting authority support business, concentrated in France, is linked to soil utilization and the move from heavy to lighter industry. These industrial plots of land in local areas — for the most part in cities’ inner suburbs — are sources of urban renewal. With GRS Valtech and Sede, we are studying projects that reuse this industrial land to create new urban developments.

How does soil remediation contribute to urban development?

Reusing freed soil is an excellent opportunity to increase the local region’s density with a smart habitat. And prevent urban sprawl with its inherent problems in terms of providing public services (transport, energy, etc.). As a corollary, we advocate urban projects mindful of issues such as the energy transition, access to eco-friendly mobility options, water reuse, etc. And ensure that they bring nature back to the city, or even develop urban agriculture such as micro-market gardening and aquaponics, as well as improve quality of life, for example by working on heat islands.


How do you reconcile the issues of an urban project with the many competing interests to create a resilient region?

It’s true that there is always a tension between the wishes of an elected official, represented by the planning authority, and the economic interests of the developer. For me, the main driver is what residents and users want: a digital and participatory democracy that drives the projects and gives them a sustainable direction. There is a groundswell to bring quality, traceability and a local approach into everything the city needs to survive and be livable. This will generate a re-concentration of interactive strategies between cities and their region. A large field of work for 2EI and a great challenge for the world!

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> Soil remediation: a second life