2016. 05. 30..
On 25-26 May, our French parent company, Colas SA, held its biannual international conference on environmental protection in Lyon with over 100 participants. From North America to Australia, several nations represented themselves: the bulk of the attendance was composed of Colas countries’ environmental managers, but some of the firm’s international board members were also among the guests.
The conference’s leading topics included the identification and management of environmental hazards related to industrial sites, and measures for the sake of safeguarding biodiversity at permanent sites (primarily mines). While Hungarian Colas subsidiaries have plenty of short- and medium-term duties regarding the former field, we have achieved exceptional results – even on an international level – with regard to biodiversity-protection: through a brief presentation, I had the chance to familiarise the guests with the eagle-owl monitoring programme currently running in the mines of Colas Északkő.
Colas SA’s manager in charge of environmental protection and sustainable development, Henri Molleron, reminded us that our industrial activities must be performed in a way to avoid any permanent contamination or long-term stress to the environment. Besides pollution-free operations, our mining sites’ compatibility and co-existence with local eco-systems is also a priority. When shutting down such a facility, we must enable the original – or very similar – flora and fauna to reclaim the given area.
Instead of obtaining plain energy management certificates, some European Colas companies chose to carry out the detailed energetics reviews specified in the relevant EU directive, and shaped their management systems based on the results – such subsidiaries were mentioned as excellent examples with regard to environmentally conscious and cost-efficient operations.
As an interface between environmental protection, health and safety, and research and development, green chemistry also came up among the convention’s themes. For instance, Colas supports sustainable chemical engineering through the development and application of plant-based binders for asphalt production. The conference also featured a presentation on a truly unique product: the world’s first ever photovoltaic road surface, WattWay, which was developed by Colas, and which might become a cornerstone of alternative energy harvesting in the future.