Social engagement

01 Positive externalities

Positive externalities

As part of its drive to promote Responsible Development, Colas is focusing on its externalities, endeavoring to reduce negative externalities and bolster positive externalities. In addition to the Group’s numerous patronage programs, three long-term, large-scale positive externalities exist throughout its business network both in France and elsewhere around the world.

  • Colas has instigated an extremely determined traffic accident prevention program for its employees worldwide. The initiative was first launched in France in 1997, with the signature of a road safety charter as part of a partnership with the French Government and the French National Health Insurance Fund for Employees (CNAMTS). The drive was then expanded out to include the Group’s European operations with a European Charter. Today, these charters are renewed every three years. More than 500 employees have been trained to serve as Road Safety Relays – their job is to implement the prevention program and good driving practices in the field. This policy not only improves accident frequency rates for company drivers, which were down 45% between 2004 and 2018, and 3% between 2017 and 2018, but it can also help their loved ones by sharing best practice, and by extension, all road users.
  • In 2006, Colas launched a wide-sweeping program to provide first-aid training to its employees in France and around the world. Today, nearly 35% of the entire workforce – roughly 20,000 people – is familiar with first aid. Training like this helps bolster safety awareness, benefitting not only the employees, but their loved ones as well, along with society as a whole.
  • In 2011, Colas launched a program designed to bolster biodiversity throughout its entire quarry and gravel pit network. As such, every Group site is required to host a threatened or protected species and help foster its development. Whenever this is not feasible, beehives are installed on the grounds. Today, in certain regions, a number of the Group’s active quarries and gravel pits have become the main habitat for species that would most likely have disappeared locally without Colas’ help.

02 Private enterprise and infrastructure

Private enterprise and infrastructure

On the basis of its international experience, Colas defends the idea that changes are needed in the relationship between the public and private sectors with regard to infrastructure building and maintenance.

Such changes would make it possible to obtain alternatives to limited budgetary resources, restrain the multiplication of bidding procedures for single contracts, transform antagonistic contractual relationships into partnerships, and establish the full cost of construction and maintenance of a project at the outset. At the same time, the Group aims to ensure that public authorities retain their legitimacy and full control.

PPP, PFI and concessions include maintenance costs, thus making it possible to arrive at a full costing and to extend the life of structures at lesser cost. An infrastructure that is designed and built for the long term, regularly maintained, will optimize investments and reduce the consumption of resources, considerations frequently sacrificed for short-term gains. Colas companies have the skills and expertise to manage this type of contract, e.g., the PFI in Portsmouth, and MAC/ASC long-term road network management and maintenance contracts in the United Kingdom.  

Similarly, the proposal of alternatives to bid specifications allows further contributions to a project whereas excluding them holds back innovation. Colas thus endeavors to encourage acceptance of alternatives, especially those in favor of the environment.

03 Participation in community life and project support

Participation in community life and project support

Patronage and sponsoring actions are decided and performed by the Group companies and profits centers.  The main focus is sports sponsorships and cultural and humanitarian patronage.  

At the Colas parent company level,  patronage is hinged on 4 areas:

  • Cultural patronage:  Colas Foundation (commissions  for paintings on the theme of roads), Colas on Stage (support to choreography and music festivals), 
  • Solidarity: Colas Life (supporting access to education)
  • Skills-sharing: National Estate of Chambord
  • Science: expedition Lengguru, ChemSud Foundation

The overall budget in 2018 amounted to 2.6 million euros.

Colas is also an active participant in the Francis Bouygues Foundation, which aims to provide strongly motivated French or foreign students who have an ambitious personal project but are faced with financial and/or social obstacles with financial and moral support, including individual mentoring, for the entire duration of their studies. In 2017, 34 Colas employees mentored scholarship students. 

04 Encouraging the exchange of ideas

Encouraging the exchange of ideas

Managed at the level of the Colas parent company, this policy covers three broad areas:

  • social sciences, political science, the humanities and economics, through the Cercle Colas, which regularly invites academics and prominent personalities to talk on aspects of modern life of their choosing;
  • science, through the Rencontres Scientifiques Colas in partnership with the magazine La Recherche, which invites scientists to present their ideas.

In 2018, the Cercle Colas hosted the following speakers: 

  • Frédéric PECHENARD, "First Cop of France" (General Directorate of the National Police) from 2007 to 2012, facing the security challenges of tomorrow

The 2018 Scientific Meetings included the following themes: 

  • "Rare earths, the new black gold" with Michel Latroche, solid chemist at the CNRS, director of ICMPE (Institute of Chemistry and Materials Paris East) and Vincent Huc, co-founder of the start-up Ajelis specialized in recovery of rare metals and researcher at the Institute of Molecular Chemistry and Materials of Orsay (ICMMO)
  • "Artificial intelligence takes off", with Cédric Herpson, Researcher in artificial intelligence at LIP6 (Computer Science Laboratory Paris-6) and CNRS and Christophe Tricot, Artificial Intelligence Manager Kynapse