Sustainability at work – 2014 Report

Environmental performance

Environmental performance

Our goal is to continue to strive for excellence in our environmental performance. We define excellence as zero significant environmental releases and zero notices of violation during all project stages.

In 2014, we had four significant environmental releases and zero notices of violation. The four releases involved a total of 1,750 litres of spilled wastewater and hydrocarbons. In all cases, only localized soil was impacted. All impacted material was excavated and transported offsite for remediation as soon as conditions permitted.

Also in 2014, we integrated leading indicators into our Global Environmental Management System to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. 

Environmental focus on our projects

As engineers, we have the opportunity and responsibility to design and implement projects that help protect and restore the natural environment. Here are just a few examples of how we seized this opportunity in 2014.

  • Air monitoring at Braskem: We’re helping reduce atmospheric emissions and improve workplace health and safety at the Brazilian facilities of the Americas’ largest thermoplastic resin producer.
  • Sustainable irrigation schemes in Colombia: We’re helping develop sustainable and equitable irrigation schemes for rural Colombian communities.
  • Mosaic Company strategic alliance agreement: We’re helping improve the environmental performance of one of the world’s leading producers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients in Canada and the US.
  • Assessments worldwide: We’re leading the environmental impact assessments on major projects in several countries around the globe.
  • John Hart Generating Station replacement: We’re designing and delivering a significantly more reliable and environmentally friendly power station in western Canada.
  • Confederation Line light rapid transit: We’re designing, building, financing and maintaining Ottawa’s Confederation Line in Canada, one of North America’s largest public-private partnerships. We developed and implemented a sustainability plan to ensure the line’s design and construction are aligned with Ottawa’s ‘Choosing Our Future’ initiative as well as its environmental and sustainability strategies.
Environmental focus at our offices

We’re continuously seeking and implementing solutions to shrink the environmental footprint of our facilities. This includes programs to reduce waste and energy consumption. It also entails improving our ability to track and report on environmental performance indicators.

Environmental compliance assessments
We’re in the process of developing a comprehensive assessment system to evaluate our offices worldwide for compliance with current environmental legislation. This includes the ability to monitor and take swift action to ensure compliance whenever new legislation is passed in countries where we have offices. In 2015, we’ll pilot this system by conducting our first full environmental compliance assessment at our 21-storey global headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

Energy consumption

  2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Difference (2010-2014)
Energy (GJ) 172,238 213,888 566,857 836,923 545,478 -68%
GHG (t eq CO2) 9,689 10,717 33,095 45,392 42,117 -77%

Despite a steady increase in the number of offices surveyed, we’ve succeeded in reducing our energy consumption by 68% since 2010.

In 2013, we adjusted our methodology for collecting and analyzing data on energy use at our offices worldwide. In reassessing how we apply the Greenhouse Gas Protocol guidelines, we chose to adopt ‘operational’ as opposed to ‘financial’ boundaries for data classification. This meant that offices where we have no control over energy consumption were reclassified in the ‘other indirect emissions’ category.

This change in methodology explains the significant drop in energy consumption between 2012 and 2013. Our 2014 figure includes 88% of all permanent and project-related office, research, garage and warehouse space. In 2015, we’ll include former Kentz facilities in our data for the first time.

IT equipment recycling and refurbishment
In 2014, we took steps to reduce the IT equipment waste produced by our offices. We increased the capitalization period for IT equipment from two to five years. This accounting change serves as a strong incentive to our business units to replace their PCs and laptops less often.

Also in 2014, we purchased 1,000 recycled PCs for our Microsoft XP initiative. This figure represents about 8% of all PCs owned by SNC-Lavalin.

Before disposing of them, all PCs and laptops are refurbished and re-used in-house, often several times. In Canada alone, 45% of the IT equipment currently in use has been refurbished at least once.