Societal acceptance of our production sites

Extracting commodities and transforming them into construction products is an integral part of Colas' activities. The Group has a range of quarries, emulsion and binder production facilities, asphalt plants, and facilities for the production of waterproof membranes, road paints and resins, signaling equipment, steel frames, etc. However, in most countries, gaining acceptance for such sites - particularly among local residents - is becoming an increasingly sensitive subject.

Setting the example and audits

To reduce the impact of our production sites, the Group is committed not just to administrative compliance but to an ongoing effort to become an exemplary operator wherever we have a presence. In order to ensure that we set an example in the long term, the Group has put in place a systematic policy of environmental certification (e.g. ISO 14001) with very regular audits, as well as making use of detailed internal checklists linked to the Group's general policy on internal control. Colas is keen to cover virtually all its sites in this way. One of the additional benefits of this formalized approach is that it enables progress to be documented over time. 

Regular dialogue with local residents

It is not enough to make serious progress towards setting the example or documenting progress unless we are also open to dialog with the surrounding community, which is a key stakeholder in such matters. Colas is therefore keen for each of our sites to formalize this type of local dialog with a minimum of one meeting a year with local residents, local councils and authorities and proper handling of any questions raised at such meetings. This approach may also be complemented by a wide range of other initiatives (open days, community engagement, etc.). A local dialog indicator was introduced in 2006. In 2016, 40% of total business in the production of materials is performed on sites with a formalized dialogue with neighboring residents, elected offices and administration.

Biodiversity

Quarrying and gravel mining is a very important activity for Colas (more than 800 sites). It is often simplistically viewed as causing irreversible damage to biodiversity; on the contrary, it offers a multitude of new ecological niches favorable to various species. In order to better express this reality in concrete terms, Colas' sites are committed to "one protected species or beehives at every aggregate production site in the world". An indicator was rolled out in 2011 to monitor actions in favor of biodiversity.  It corresponds to total business activity of quarries and gravel pits that justify the roll out and monitoring of a program to foster the presence and living conditions of a remarkable animal or plant species on the site (44% in 2016). If there is no such species present, the Group suggests that beehives be installed to support ecosystems and as a sentinel of the natural environment. 

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