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Environmental management system and ESI indicators

Abengoa has established the implementation of environmental management systems based on the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard as a strategic objective for all group companies. The aim is to mitigate any negative environmental impacts the company’s products and services may have, and includes lowering the consumption of natural resources, and minimizing wastes and emissions generated by the company.

Practically all of Abengoa’s activities fall under the scope of an environmental management system in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard, and all significant environmental impacts are identified according to each company’s internal procedures. The percentage of certified Abengoa companies totaled 88.18 % in 2011.

As far as measuring and monitoring environmental impacts and controlling associated operations are concerned, the company requires that all activities with significant environmental impact be covered under a Monitoring and Measurement Plan, as well as an Operational Control Program.

Furthermore, in 2011 Abengoa implemented the Environmental Sustainability Indicator (ESI) system. The system was also incorporated into the ISMS to enhance business management, enabling the company to measure and compare the sustainability of its activities in order to establish improvement targets.

The ESIs unify the different environmental management systems of each company based on the ISO 14001 standard, allowing information to be consolidated in order to establish common policies and objectives.

The indicator system covers the following categories of environmental concerns:

  • Biodiversity: environmental response of facilities according to the sensitivity of the surroundings in which they are located.
  • Water: sustainable performance of installations in relation to water consumption.
  • Energy: sustainable performance of installations in relation to energy consumption.
  • Odors: emission of bothersome odors beyond project sites or areas of operation.
  • Noise: level of environmental noise produced by installations and areas of operation.
  • Effluents: effluent discharge management in relation to the environmental quality of the receiving medium, dumping reduction, lowering the resulting impact, and control of administrative requirements.
  • Soil and aquifers: degree of soil contamination of the site and potential impact on nearby aquifers.
  • Emissions: sustainable installation performance in relation to air quality.
  • Raw materials, products and services: impact on natural resources and recyclability of production in order to measure the use of materials consumed, suitability of products for reuse, and reutilization of means of production and transportation.
  • Waste: management of wastes generated by installations in relation to waste treatment and final disposal.
  • Transport: environmental impact of transporting raw materials and products and of providing services..

The primary objectives of the system are as follows:

  • Securing Abengoa’s business by ascertaining and quantifying associated environmental risks and establishing procedures for mitigating these risks.
  • Enabling heads of the different Abengoa companies to measure and compare the sustainability of their activities.
  • Establishing improvement targets.
  • Ensuring that the company is recognized as a business that upholds a commitment to sustainability and operates in a sustainable manner.

In short, the indicator system will facilitate environmental risk detection and coverage by determining aspects which have, or could potentially have, a significant impact on the environment.