Integrated risk management
Voltalia adopts an integrated approach to non-financial risk management based on cross-functional collaboration between the specialised teams in charge of managing each of the specific risks, including the Sustainability, HSE, Compliance, Quality and Human Resources teams. The company also recruited an Environmental and Social Compliance Manager into the Sustainability team in 2020, with the task of developing and coordinating the deployment of the Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) at Group level. This ESMS complements the integrated HSE and Quality management system already in place and aims to manage all environmental and social risks associated with Voltalia’s activities worldwide. The ESMS procedures define general objectives and processes for identifying environmental and social risks throughout the project life cycle and implementing appropriate risk mitigation measures. Voltalia guarantees environmental and social management of non-financial risks at every stage of its projects.
The objective is to identify the potential environmental and social impacts of Voltalia’s activities as early as possible in the project life cycle. The company takes into account environmental and social sensitivities and constraints during the site selection phase and adapts the technical design of the power plant accordingly. In compliance with national regulations, Voltalia carries out all the studies required to obtain environmental authorisations and operating licences during the development phase of its projects. These studies are carried out by independent consulting firms recognised in their field in order to guarantee their quality to the administrative authorities and Voltalia’s stakeholders. The identification ofthe social impacts of projects is based mainly on consultation with project stakeholders.
The power plants developed by Voltalia thus benefit from impact reduction measures identified at the earliest stages of project development. The costs of the dedicated management plans are included in the budgets of each project from the development phase.
For some projects, where compliance with national regulations does not guarantee adequate identification and management of the environmental and social impacts of projects, Voltalia goes beyond national regulatory requirements. The aim is to align Voltalia’s approach with European Union directives, International Finance Corporation (IFC) performance standards or European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) performance requirements. This involves undertaking in-depth biodiversity studies that take into account the entire seasonal cycle in order to better anticipate the impact of its activities on the natural environment.
The construction phase of a project is where the highest risk of a negative impact on the natural and human environment is concentrated. Voltalia therefore ensures that all necessary measures are in place to prevent potential impact generated by its activities and those of its subcontractors.
The HSE teams are responsible for implementing these measures in order to prevent environmental pollution, accidents that could endanger the health or safety of workers and local residents, and hindrances throughout the construction period. These measures are discussed in Section 3.4.2. of Voltalia’s 2020 Statement of non-financial performance.
Operation & Maintenance
Voltalia ensures social and environmental management throughout the life of the power plant, i.e. between twenty and thirty years, through ecological monitoring of the site and possible inspections by dedicated organisations.