When negative impacts cannot be fully avoided, the developer/constructor must take the necessary measures to mitigate them, for example by building suitable environmental structures or installing mitigation systems on site. As soon as operations begin, we endeavour to mitigate the environmental impact, pollution and impact on wildlife as much as possible.
If any residual impact is identified, it is assessed and then offset in kind to ensure the project does not lead to any “net loss” of biodiversity over the long term.
For example, in areas surrounding the motorway and railway infrastructure projects carried out by Eiffage, wildlife crossings have been put in place and entire waterways have been restored and regenerated. Protected natural areas spanning several hectares have also been created to protect natural environments and species under threat. Furthermore, Eiffage systematically conducts environmental studies to ensure the positive impact of its action over the medium to long term.
How Eiffage protects biodiversity on its worksites
At the quarry site in Corbigny, central France, Eiffage is working in partnership with the Burgundy wildlife conservation agency to develop spaces that protect and encourage the development of wildlife, including Eurasian eagle-owls, falcons, sand martins, amphibians, bats, purple loosestrife and broad-leaved dock.
When Eiffage was building the Sémanet viaduct near Lyon, it put in place a number of environmental measures to protect the surrounding forestland and regenerate the river at the bottom of the Sémanet valley. These measures led to widespread restoration both before the project work began and after it was completed.
As part of the project to redevelop the infrastructure at Port-Haliguen, north western France, Eiffage took action to encourage marine biodiversity and push back against invasive port species. The Group and its partners took a three-pronged approach – using low-carbon materials that favour colonisation by marine organisms, choosing specific shapes and designs to attract targeted species that are highly valuable to the ecosystem, and adopting construction methods that reduce the carbon footprint of the solutions implemented.
Practical and innovative tools for employees
To ensure the AMO approach is properly applied by all employees on the ground, we have developed a number of procedures to raise awareness among our workforce about the importance of biodiversity and increase their knowledge of the matter. The aim is that they factor in ideas to protect biodiversity in their operations and the way they carry out their projects.
The biodiversity risk prevention and management toolkit
Put together back in 2011, the toolkit gives employees all the information they require to teach them how to best handle biodiversity matters in their job.
It is made up of around 30 factsheets with details on laws and regulations (including the “Grenelle” law, green and blue belts and the law for the reconquest of biodiversity) about protecting biodiversity, along with real-life examples of how to take biodiversity into account in the course of operations.
Each factsheet helps the reader find the answer they’re looking for – the basics (legal requirements, people involved, tools, etc.), best practice (in design, construction or operation) and the species of wildlife concerned.
Invasive Alien Species Guide
An Invasive Alien Species (IAS) is a species that has been introduced accidentally or deliberately into a natural environment by humans. The implantation and spreading of these species threatens local ecosystems, habitats and species with negative consequences on the environment, the economy or health. To remedy such situations, France developed a national strategy in 2016, based on five main action points.
The IAS Guide gives concrete answers and solutions through factsheets or practical tools to employees confronted with this kind of problem on their worksites or during tenders.
Eiffage University courses
In line with the Eiffage University, the Group’s Sustainable Development and Transversal Innovation department (SDTI) has developed two training courses around factoring sustainable development into projects and worksites. Designed for all worksite managers, the “Worksites and the environment” programme reviews basic regulatory and technical notions related to the environment. Business development officers and price researchers are able to expand their understanding of complex environmental issues through the “Helping Eiffage stand out through sustainable development” course.
Further to these courses, Eiffage has partnered with organisations offering high level qualifications, including the Bioterre master’s degree, which Group employees are able to follow.
Two business initiatives in line with the AMO approach in the biodiversity action plan
The progress made through research has tangible consequences on the action pursued by the Group in its operations to enhance performance in terms of biodiversity.
- More effective integration of biodiversity in projects: the aim is to structure a framework based on existing guides and feedback received. The guide seeks to highlight the efforts that can be made in the construction industry to avoid and mitigate the impact as early on in the project as possible in order to ensure zero loss of biodiversity and eliminate the need to offset.
- Preliminary biodiversity assessments: this involves encouraging people involved in projects to systematically use the following two assessment tools, before compiling any inventories:
- “RENATU” tool, an operational tool developed directly by the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne with support from Eiffage. Easy to use, it measures the ecological potential of a site and orients the measures needed to promote biodiversity in a future development area or an area managed by the Group (such as quarries, industrial facilities or motorway service stations/rest stops).
- Flash assessment, which identifies the need for an ecological inventory over a full biological cycle (during the tender phase or once the project has been won).
Harnessing ecological engineering to restore biodiversity
Applying ecological engineering in regional development projects.
Key operational partners
To effectively combat biodiversity erosion, Eiffage has developed an extensive network of partners with universities, R&D bodies, professional working groups and institutional working groups in the construction industry as well as environmental NGOs.