Building what matters, sustainably – 2015 Report

Environmental performance

Environment - Environmental performance

To continue improving our GEMS, 5 leading indicators were monitored for the first time in 2015.  

GEMS 2015 Leading Indicator Accomplishment
1. Environmental audits conducted 89% of the planned environmental audits were conducted. 75% of these audits we conducted using our Global Environmental audit tool.
2. Employees trained on GEMS 93% of the targeted employees were trained
3. Environmental investigations conducted 100% of environmental incident requiring an investigation were investigated and closed.
4. Lessons learned related to environmental incidents or environmental initiatives All Business Units produced at least one lesson learned to share with the rest of the Business Sectors
5. Site visits demonstrating visible environmental leadership conducted by senior managers 68% of the total number of site visits by senior managers were carried out

In 2016, leading indicator #2, employees trained on GEMS, has been replaced by the percentage of nonconformities identified during corporate environmental audits that were closed with 90 days. GEMS training for employees will remain a requirement, as employee turnover must be managed, but training will not be monitored as a leading indicator since Business Sectors Environmental Leads are now looking after training needs pertaining to GEMS.

Our main goal is to continue to strive for excellence in our environmental performance. We define excellence as zero significant environmental incidents and zero notices of violation or any other governmental enforcement action during all project stages.

At SNC-Lavalin, we take great care in managing environmental incidents. All our sites are expected to conduct an annual environmental incident drill. We deploy considerable efforts to increase employees’ awareness and commitment to reporting incidents.  Support is provided for the reporting of all environmental incidents regardless of the severity or potential impact.

Significant environmental incidents over the past 5 years

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
1 0 0 4 2*
* Including notices of violation


In 2015, our environmental incident classification was modified to be more stringent. Despite this, we had no significant environmental incident except for two minor notices of violation. 

The first notice of violation was related to dirt tracking onto a public road by construction vehicles and the second one was related to a missing record at one of our facilities. None of these infractions resulted in fines or further enforcement action. These minor issues led to a renewed focus on work instructions and procedural compliance, and corrective actions were taken. 

Every year, we also track less significant environmental incidents. In 2015, the most common types of incidents were hydraulic oil spills/leaks, fuel spills, coolant/antifreeze spills and wastewater/sediment releases. The top three incident causes were hose ruptures/disconnects/leaks, equipment failure other than hoses, and improper handling. 

Part of our BEMPs focus on preventing these types of incidents. Here are a few best practice examples:

  • Regular preventive maintenance and inspections shall be conducted on equipment
  • Hazardous materials shall be stored within secondary containment 
  • Hazardous materials shall be stored at a safe distance from any sensitive area,
  • Refueling activities shall be conducted on impermeable surfaces or using impermeable liners or absorbent sheets,
  • Maintenance activities shall be conducted at a safe distance from any sensitive area,
  • Stationary equipment (compressors, generators, heating devices, etc.) shall be placed on drip pans,
  • Soil disturbance shall be limited to current work areas
  • Control measures such as sedimentation ponds, earth berms, filtering bags, water treatment units, etc. shall be installed for dewatering activities.

Over 20 lessons learned related to environmental incidents were produced in 2015. In 2016, we aim to share lessons learned among all business Sectors to further prevent their recurrence.

In 2015, a total of 27 SNC-Lavalin entities and projects were certified ISO 14001 and 24 were certified OHSAS 18001. 

In Canada and abroad, we have a team of more than 80 LEED accredited professionals. In the course of 2015-2016, we began working with the EnvisionTM standard, issued by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. Four SNC-Lavalin employees have now obtained their ENVISIONTM Sustainability Professional credentials and this number is expected to rise as the use of this new standard for the design and construction of sustainable infrastructure becomes more widely used.

Environmental focus at our Offices

Due to the nature of our business, our greatest opportunity to positively impact the environment is through our projects. This does not prevent us from paying attention to our office operations as we believe in managing all environmental aspects or our work which we can control. We are continuously seeking and implementing solutions to shrink the environmental footprint of our installations. This includes programs to reduce waste and energy consumption. It also entails improving our ability to track and report on environmental performance indicators. We are presently developing a SOP to increase environmental management homogeneity of our offices around the world and will report on progress in our next sustainability report.

In April 2015, we conducted the first full Environmental Compliance Audit of our 21-storey global headquarters in Montreal, Canada. This exercise enabled us to identify 5 nonconformities and 16 opportunities for improvement. Three of these nonconformities were related to the labeling and temporary storage of small quantity of hazardous waste (mainly batteries and used fluorescent tubes) and two were of administrative nature. All the nonconformities were closed in a timely manner and 14 of the 16 opportunities for improvements identified by the audit were implemented while 2 are in progress.

IT Equipment Refurbishment

Before any final disposal, all PCs and laptops are refurbished and re-used in-house, often several times. In Canada, IT equipment inventory indicates that 80% of the requests for PCs has been filled by refurbishing a computer, rather than buying a new one.  

Energy Consumption

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
energy (GJ)1 545,478 836,923 566,857 213,888 172,238 / 559,273* 945,415
GHG emissions1(t eq CO2) 42,117 45,392 33,095 10,717 9,689 / 62,683* 71,154*

1 Direct (Scope 1) and Indirect (Scope 2)

* In August 2014, SNC-Lavalin acquired Kentz. For the 2014 reporting year, the two companies filed separate data on energy consumption and GHG emissions. SNC-Lavalin’s GHG emissions totaled 9,689 t eq CO2 and the combined SNC-Lavalin and Kentz emissions totaled 62,683 t eq CO2.  It is this combined total that must be compared with the 2015 total of 71,154 t eq CO2. The increase between 2014 and 2015 is attributed to increased emissions associated with increased field activities on project sites. Office related emissions have decreased for a third year in a row, as a result of efforts to consolidate employees in fewer office locations.

Environment Week

We have been highlighting the Canadian Environment Week since 2007. In 2015, all SNC-Lavalin’s employees received a daily email in which our business sectors’ environmental leaders shared some environmental initiatives that were undertaken by their teams to protect the environment.