As the projects we build affect natural environments, protecting those environments plays a key role in our design, construction and operations processes. Throughout the project life cycle, the Group’s entities strive to have as little impact as possible on natural environments, and to develop solutions to conserve fresh water resources and restore ecological balance.
ADAPTING OUR ACTIVITIES TO CURRENT AND FUTURE ECOLOGICAL CHALLENGES
As VINCI’s activities have a direct or indirect influence on natural environments, protecting these environments plays a key role in our design, construction and operations processes. Throughout the project life cycles, we strive to have as little impact as possible on natural environments. This means our activities must be exemplary and provide and implement solutions that avoid, minimise and, where necessary, offset our impacts.
VINCI innovates, develops and rolls out solutions that address environmental challenges, such as water management (water treatment plants and processes) and ecological restoration and transparency (reconfiguring stream and river channels, wildlife crossings, etc.).
We are very aware of how important these issues are and work with meticulous external local experts to offer appropriate and effective solutions on our projects. We are determined to expand these solutions and develop the expertise of our teams across the design, construction and operations phases, so we can offer ever-more targeted and robust solutions.
PROTECTING NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS
PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN OUR DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATIONS PROCESSES.
A STRATEGY OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
VINCI aims to reduce its impact on natural environments by aligning its businesses on long-term ecological challenges.The Group is accelerating the rollout of its ecological engineering expertise across all its businesses to ensure they take into account biodiversity and natural environments in all their operations and for projects of any size.
To protect water resources, VINCI addresses needs at the local level and promotes innovative hydraulic infrastructure and water treatment processes.
Governance, the sharing of best practices, and partnerships with ecological institutions and organisations are being improved to contribute to the Group’s progress. As part of some projects undertaken for their clients, its companies are also developing comprehensive ecological engineering solutions and alternative versions that are better for natural environments.
VINCI is committed to preserving water resources and aiming to achieve no net loss of biodiversity.
PREVENT POLLUTION AND INCIDENTS BY SYSTEMATICALLY IMPLEMENTING AN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PLAN IN ALL OUR BUSINESS LINES
Rolling out local environmental management plans means defining environmental management indicators, setting up environmental governance and designating persons in charge of environmental management to assess and limit the impact of our activities on the flora and fauna of the region concerned.
We also develop business-specific awareness and training tools.
OPTIMISE WATER CONSUMPTION, ESPECIALLY IN AREAS OF WATER STRESS
VINCI’s businesses need water and can have direct or indirect impacts on natural environments. Beyond preventing water pollution, we need to optimise consumption.
• We collect reliable data to measure water purchased and extracted.
• We share best practices in each business.
• We promote water reuse and other solutions to reduce consumption.
AIMING TO ACHIEVE NO NET LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY
Initiatives are adapted to local environmental issues and the duration of the project on both worksites and long-term sites operated and managed by our companies.
VINCI is also one of the first companies to join the act4nature international alliance which aims to integrate the issue of biodiversity in all activities and at every level. It is committed to improving knowledge and disseminating best practices regarding the protection of biodiversity, to training and raising awareness among employees, to developing new solutions and to strengthening partnerships..
Zero use of phytosanitary products
• Employing alternatives to phytosanitary products, such as mechanical and thermal weed control and grazing animals.
Action plans, tools and measures
• Rolling out the biodiversity roadmap associated with the commitments to act4nature international.
• Employing an in-house strategy and tools to factor in biodiversity at the Group’s worksites and infrastructure.
Offsets and green works
• Developing nature-based solutions to fight climate change or flood risk, especially through ecological engineering.
• Voluntary or regulatory offsetting projects: based on the context, methods for measuring biodiversity losses and gains, and indicators to monitor change over time.
Arbonis (VINCI Construction), which specializes in timber constructions – using wood with a positive carbon footprint sourced from sustainably managed forests – helps meet environmental performance objectives. The company designs and constructs all types of timber buildings and facilities, applying the latest technologies and methods. It is most notably taking part in the Treed It sustainable city demonstrator in Marne-la-Vallée, east of Paris, which includes the construction of an 11-floor, 37-metre-high tower with a wooden framework. It has also developed the modular ARBO 3D process, which boasts prefabricated elements, rapid on-site installation, great architectural flexibility and cost control, and is well-suited to the construction of buildings like schools and student accommodation.
A 37-METRE-HIGH TOWER WITH A WOODEN FRAMEWORK IN MARNE-LA-VALLÉE.
Restoring ecological connectivity
VINCI Construction applies its ecological engineering expertise to build structures designed to maintain or restore ecological connectivity, renaturalise natural habitats, and use and manage plant species. Equo Vivo, for example, is responsible for the hydromorphological restoration of the Yvette River in the Haute Vallée de Chevreuse Regional Natural Park. It is giving the river a more natural profile with new structures that also help hold back flood water.
OF TIMBER USED BY WOOD CONSTRUCTION SUBSIDIARIES WAS FROM PEFC- OR FSC-CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE FORESTS IN 2020.
VINCI Airports reduced the use of pesticides by 70% between 2018 and 2020 and is well on the way to eliminating the use of phytosanitary products in all its airports. It has also teamed up with the French national beekeepers’ association (Unaf) to protect and monitor pollinators.
It also formed several other partnerships to protect biodiversity across its network. They most notably include ANA’s work in Portugal with CERVAS (Centre for Ecology, Recovery and Monitoring of Wildlife) and RIAS (Wildlife Rehabilitation and Research Centre of Ria Formosa) or in Gatwick (Gatwick Greenspace Partnership and Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre) whose management of biodiversity was recognised by the Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark Award.
More recently, Grenoble Alpes Isère airport signed an agreement with the French Bird Protection League (LPO) so it could identify and highlight biodiversity issues related to its operations by regularly monitoring the bird species in its area.
Partnership between Eurovia (VINCI Construction) and the Natural Heritage Department
Founded in 2012, the partnership between Eurovia and the Natural Heritage Department (NHD) – a collaborative research and education entity focusing on natural heritage under the aegis of three organisations (France’s Natural History Museum, the CNRS and the French Office for Biodiversity) – is pioneering for the industry and has helped expand scientific knowledge of biodiversity. It has:
• developed scientific solutions and methods to assess the impacts of the company’s activities on biodiversity, such as the Ecological Quality Indicator (IQE) and a toolbox for assessing biodiversity around linear infrastructure (OEIL) used by planners and quarry operators;
• centralised and analysed Eurovia’s existing data on flora and fauna to populate national databases;
• implemented action plans to reduce the environmental footprint of quarries.
IN UGANDA, SOGEA-SATOM PLANTED 18,000 TREES IN 2019 ON A PLOT BELONGING TO UGANDA’S WATER AUTHORITIES.
A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN EUROVIA AND PATRINAT TO PRESERVE BIODIVERSITY.
Reducing client water use
Axians (VINCI Energies) offers smart irrigation solutions. Using temperature and ground humidity sensors, as well as weather forecasts, Axians, helped the city of Florence in Italy reduce its water use by 30%.
Infrastructures that preserve natural environments
PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY ON THE WESTERN STRASBOURG BYPASS
The western Strasbourg bypass project (24 km) includes a biodiversity and natural habitat conservation programme of unprecedented scope, itself the result of three years of preparatory research. The motorway encourages ecological transparency with 130 structures, or the equivalent of about one wildlife crossing every 200 metres. Many of the crossings are traditional structures, such as the green bridges, viaducts and cut-and-cover tunnels. But others are more innovative, including the overpasses designed specifically for the European hamster, equipped with anti-predator systems, and the “bio-ducts” (crossings for small wildlife in the ledge along the gutter of road restoration works). The project also includes a breeding programme in conditions of partial freedom that will reintroduce 1,030 European hamsters into their natural habitat by 2023. The project itself involves a land area of 278 hectares, but the unprecedented ecological compensation measures cover 1,315 hectares, including 1,000 hectares where vegetation will be planted to create a favourable habitat for the European hamster. The land was earmarked for these measures before the works started and the measures will be implemented gradually as the works advance.
THE “AVOID, MINIMIZE, OFFSET” APPROACH ESTABLISHES THE PRINCIPLEOF “NO NET LOSS” OF BIODIVERSITY.
RESTORING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT ALONG THE LGV SEA HIGH-SPEED RAILWAY LINE
The LISEA Biodiversity Foundation, created by the concession company of the South Europe Atlantic high-speed rail line (LGV SEA), provides long-term support to species conservation and restoration projects to protect natural habitats along the rail line in the French departments it passes through. Its actions supplement LISEA’s contractual commitments regarding environmental protection and come in addition to the regulatory compensation measures for 350 sites representing a total of 3,800 hectares. For example LISEA Biodiversity supports a programme by the French Bird Protection League (LPO) designed to save the European mink – the Charente basin is home to one of the continent’s last wild populations.
CROSSINGS WILL ENABLE WILDLIFE TO CROSS AN INFRASTRUCTURE IN USE NEAR STRASBOURG.