Colas addresses the challenges of climate change, limited energy resources, and rising energy costs by investing both in the area of energy efficiency and in the avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions.
In determining its carbon footprint, the Group refers to its Scope 3a (other indirect) emissions as defined under ISO 14064 and follows the guidelines of the GHG Protocol. This calculation includes upstream usage relating to the Group's business operations but not downstream usage, since the impact of road traffic on the infrastructures built or maintained by Colas is at once considerable, difficult to quantify, and beyond the Group's control.
In 2016, the Group's consolidated worldwide carbon footprint amounted to 11 million tons of CO2 equivalent, two-thirds of which was generated by raw materials and construction materials. Due to the Group's vertical integration, the portion of this total generated directly within the Group may be estimated at 40%. It is also important to bear in mind the high degree of uncertainty in this type of calculation (greater than 20%) due to disparities between systems for measuring domestic and international data, difficulties in determining the carbon costs of certain services provided by suppliers and sub-contractors, problems in collecting or converting data, etc.
On the basis of this analysis, energy savings are being achieved (representing between 1% and 2% of the Group's total carbon footprint) thanks to actions pursued in two areas:
limiting the energy consumed by the Group's business activities
the energy content of products and techniques offered to customers
Despite this methodical commitment, it is estimated that the potential for total reductions is capped at about 20% due to the fact that Colas is not able at present to change either the specifications of the engines installed in the machines it purchases, the fuel used in these engines (in particular as a result of increasingly stringent regulations), or the carbon footprints of cement or asphalt. In relation to all of these factors, Colas is dependent upon regulatory and technical developments affecting its suppliers' offerings.