The climate emergency and biodiversity loss are both major environmental and societal challenges. To address these issues, in 2020 Colas undertook a strategic review that culminated in the creation of a low carbon and biodiversity roadmap. The Group announced two ambitious targets for reducing its emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement*:

    • A 30% reduction in direct greenhouse gas emissions (Scopes 1 and 2)
    • A 30% reduction across the entire upstream value chain (Scope 3a), which accounts for 85% of the Group’s total emissions
    * Well-below 2°C based on the methodology recognized by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) 

    Incorporating climate change priorities into our Group-wide strategy

    Climate change has a direct impact on Colas in its markets, prompting the Group to review the scope of some of its traditional operations and opening up new opportunities to adapt its business model in light of the green transition.
    A Group-wide analysis of risks and opportunities arising from the low-carbon transition has been undertaken and the initial findings have been factored into the Group’s strategy.
    To accompany this energy transition, the Group is raising employee awareness through competitions, webinars and Climate Fresco workshops as part of day-long environment- and climate-themed events. In 2021, more than 500 employees attended Climate Fresco workshops, which 30 employees led as workshop facilitators.

    Taking action to lower the carbon intensity of our direct emissions

    One of Colas’ targets is to cut our direct CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030. To achieve this target, we are working in a number of areas across the entire Group:

    • Boosting energy efficiency (reducing the energy consumption of asphalt and emulsion plants through operational excellence)
    • Transitioning to less carbon-intensive energy sources (low-carbon machinery and light-duty vehicle fleets powered by low-carbon electricity, biodiesel, biogas and green hydrogen) 
    • Developing innovative new manufacturing processes that are less carbon-intensive (alternative energies, development of innovative solutions to replace heavy fuel oil) 
    • Promoting more sustainable behavior, such as by monitoring consumption and rolling out training in environmentally friendly driving across the Group
       

    Developing and promoting low-carbon technologies and solutions

    Reducing our carbon footprint will first and foremost require us to implement low-carbon products and techniques developed through focused research and development, for example by using low-carbon cements and hydraulic binders as well as bio-sourced binders and fluxing agents, producing concrete with a smaller carbon footprint, increasing the amount of recycled materials used in asphalt and expanding the use of in-place road recycling.
    Achieving our reduction targets will require promoting these products and techniques through marketing campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness among our customers, focused in particular on offering environmentally friendly alternatives and highlighting the environmental benefits of our products and techniques.

    Optimizing carbon accounting for our operations

    Alongside this new strategy, we are reworking the methodology we use to calculate our carbon footprint. Work is in progress to implement a Group-level carbon accounting process based on physical flows and closely linked to financial accounting. Colas is thus developing systems and methods for calculating the carbon footprint of its plants (asphalt and concrete) and projects (both upstream and downstream). This work, which is being undertaken in conjunction with the Procurement Department, will also give us a better overview of the carbon footprint of the products and services we buy.

    Helping our customers and users achieve carbon neutrality and reduce emissions

    Business opportunities are being considered in the fields of CO2 capture and storage, preventing urban heat islands, mobility and carbon-free transportation.
    Colas has already incorporated global warming-related priorities into its R&D activities. Through our light-colored surfacing solutions, water management systems and work to re-nature damaged areas, we’re helping to boost existing solutions for creating urban cool islands.
    To reduce the impact of transporting materials, Colas is also promoting non-road transportation via rail and water. To help customers and users reduce their emissions, Mobility by Colas offers new mobility solutions such as Qievo and Moov’Hub.
     

    Incorporating priorities related to biodiversity loss into our operations

    In response to the climate emergency, Colas wants to take targeted action to ensure its activities help protect biodiversity:

    • Protecting habitats and species through initiatives that promote biodiversity at quarries
    • Launching an employee awareness and information program
    • Controlling water, ground and air pollution
    • Controlling the spread of invasive exotic species
    • Responding to the challenges posed by land artificialization

    Achievements

    Using electric vans at the Grenoble profit center (France)

    Key figures (2020)

    • %

      of machinery equipped with on-board telematics

    • m² of road recycled in place

    • %

      warm mixes as a proportion of total asphalt production

    • %

      of quarries and gravel pits (on a revenue equivalent basis) took action in support of biodiversity

    • sites home to beehives

    • species of note found at quarries and gravel pits