Jorge Mora, chief executive of Veolia Asia, joined an exclusive interview with China Daily, talking about the company's development in the Chinese market in the past 17 years. He also shared his opinions about the challenges and opportunities for Veolia in China's low-carbon urban development.

Jorge Mora: The 12th Five Year Plan makes everything easier for Veolia (I)

Jorge Mora: Getting dirty in order for others to be clean (II)

Part II

Host: How could China improve its water and waste management? Just now, you talked about energy and transportation, what about these two sectors?

Mora: How could China improve…I would say one thing. In China, you got the needed laws and regulations. That is done. What is needed is more implementation. More control. More will from the government, from the population, from everybody. That is what has to be developed. More environmental conscientiousness. That is what is more needed. In terms of technology, what we are doing in China is already the best. We cannot do more than that. It's the best. If you go to see our facilities in China, you cannot see better facilities whether is in France, in the US, or in Italy, or wherever else – in Brazil. But what has to be done is to convince any man or woman in charge in the governments to implement, to follow the rules and never to forget that if they don't follow those rules of environment protection, they are killing the environment; they are killing the city; they are killing the country; they are killing human beings. So China needs what? Just to go ahead. Do what has already been done in Shanghai, in Guangzhou, in Beijing, in Tianjin, in Shenzhen and in many other countries. Just do it, but everywhere, not only in the big cities, on the coastal area, but inside. Just go to Xinjiang. We already are in Xinjiang doing business. Go to Inner Mongolia. We are already in Inner Mongolia. Go to Tibet. We are not in Tibet anymore; we must go in Tibet also and provide what has to be provided. Whatever is done in the top cities in China must be done in any city whether it's a large city, a small city or a village.

Host: Most of Veolia's core businesses are public services. And just now you said implementation is very important. So implementation needs the cooperation of government and enterprises. So what roles should the government and enterprises play in these sectors? What are their relationships?

Mora: The main role goes always with the government. Without the government we can do nothing. To make it simple, the government is the brain. We are the arms. The government makes decisions; we do it.

Host: Once you said the "mixed model" fits Veolia best in China. So could you explain more about this kind of, so-called, "mixed model" in China?

Mora: Well, what is a mixed model? It's like myself. I'm a mixed model. Why? Because I'm 75 percent Spanish and 25 percent Chinese. My grandmother was from Shanghai. So I'm a mixed model. What is a mixed model? A mixed model is always putting together the strengths of all involved parties. It's just taking the best of Western countries and Western culture and the best of Chinese and other cultures. It's putting it together. Nobody is absolutely right, nobody. Nobody is absolutely wrong, nobody. It's just about putting together all (of) the stance(s).

Host: Okay, thank you. Let's talk something about you. I know that you used to be a very successful world champion in judo. And when you ended your sports career, how did you decide to choose environmental services as your second career?

Mora: Well, first of all, I didn't decide to stop my sports career. My sports career decided to leave me behind. It's not that I changed my life. It's that I went to another life. Somebody came one day and said, ‘Why don't you come to work with my company?' I said, ‘What's your company about?' He said, ‘It's about environment.' I said, ‘What is environment?' He told me about what we are doing, and I said, ‘Hey guy, that's life.' ‘Yes, it's life.' ‘So what we are doing is in order to provide, to give a better life to any human being. Is that the job you are telling me about?' ‘Yes, that kind of.' I said, ‘Hey guy, I find it!' Because I have been a fighter in my sport. I would be a fighter for the environment. It's just a wonderful job, you know? Every morning when you wake up and you think, I'm going to do something for everybody, for my kids, for the kids of my kids, for my grand- grand- grandson, for the Chinese, for the Japanese, for the French, for the Spaniards. You feel proud. Not of yourself, but you feel proud of what you are doing. That's why I decided to involve myself in my business and to work as hard as I needed to go not as high – it's not about that – but as far as possible.

Host: About 17 years ago, when you entered this completely new industry and came to a completely strange place – China – what difficulties did you meet?

Mora: First of all, I made the decision to come to China. Nobody forced me to come, I swear.

Host: Is it because of your grandmother?

Mora: Maybe, maybe my blood was telling me, ‘Hey guy, go home.' Maybe. I cannot tell that. But I thought that the most important country for the future of the world was in China. That was my feeling. My knowledge. And frankly speaking, today we see it. China is only number two in the world. In a few years, China could be the number one country. How could you be in the world in our blue planet without being in China? Now what were my main difficulties? Myself. Because I had to learn. To better understand. To better know China. To go to Tibet, to Inner Mongolia, to everywhere. And I went everywhere. For three years or more, I was traveling, traveling, traveling and getting more knowledge. Is being an insider in the Chinese culture, learning about the Chinese culture – That is a challenge, a difficulty. It took years before I understood a little bit. And now, at my age, I know that I still have to learn everything. The main challenge is everyday to understand that we didn't understand.

Host: I know that you understand the Chinese history and Chinese culture very well. So did the Chinese culture influence your way of doing environmental business in China?

Mora: The main reading for me, the one I have somewhere in my house or my office or in France, is Sunz – Out of the War – because it's about how to fight for everything. How to fight and how to win. How to fight without necessarily spilling blood. Fighting peacefully and winning peacefully.

Host: And what is Veolia's environmental philosophy?

Mora: What is a philosophy? If I have to put a word on that, I would say, always fighting for others to have a better life. Getting dirty in order for others to be clean. Go in, in the polluted water, in order to make it safe for everybody.

Part I Jorge Mora: The 12th Five Year Plan makes everything easier for Veolia (I)

Quotable Quotes
Ronald Denom
Low-carbon city is hundreds, it's thousands of little actions that added up all together end up producing carbon.

Jorge Mora
But what is the main challenge? It's not about what your government wants. It's not about if it's possible or not. It is about what you Chinese citizens really want.

Deborah A. McCarthy
Our challenge is to come up with a global norm. That will enable us to all be on the same line or sheet of music.

Chen Guangbiao
Now we have forest police, why shouldn't we establish an environment police?

Zheng Guoguang
The country wants to develop nuclear power. The safety questions, atmospheric environment evaluation questions and, possibly, emergency response questions must be taken into consideration.

Liu Zhengdong
Aluminum is, in the short term, an industry of high-energy consumption. But in the long term, it is a high energy-carrying industry.

Liu Tongbo
I think Beijing should also develop more bicycle lines. This is a good way to improve the traffic and the air quality.

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