What is Environmental Management and how are we applying it at ACC? [INFOGRAPHIC]
‘… but what exactly is environmental management? Is it a single field or discipline? Is it a process? Is it an agreed approach? Is it efforts to identify and pursue goals? Or, is it environment and development problem-solving? – C.J Barrow, Environmental Management and Developing Countries
What is environmental management?
Isn’t environmental management merely the process of managing our environment? Well no, not exactly.
Environmental management is a multi-faceted and multidisciplinary practice, that aims at safeguarding nature from potentially damaging business operations. It involves putting in place strategies to conserve resources such as energy or water and to reduce negative impacts on the environment by industrial activities. A good environmental management helps limit costs - lower energy bills, lower waste treatment costs and increased gains from recovery - which in turn,maximize human benefit. It’s about constructing a win-win situation benefitting the economy and the environment. It comes down to how we use these resources, and how we make its use sustainable.
Environment, and more specifically Climate was one of the very first priorities we’ve identified when we started devising our CSR strategy. Our ultimate goal – transitioning to a cleaner mobility - is virtuous, but our industrial production to achieve this goal, if not handled with care, could harm, both the humans and the environment.
The transport revolution must not be carried out at the expense of other goals, or displace the negative externalities, especially environmental ones, to the countries where our raw materials are extracted, refined, and processed. So in order for batteries to help rather than hinder climate goals, we deconstructed our processes,we conducted impact studies and we calculated the carbon footprint of our cells to identify and quantify its main impacts on the environment and on human health. These elements, together with the identification of the context of our company, allowed us to define our environmental policy. In this article, we outline the potential impact of cell production on the environment, and what can be leveraged.
What are the impacts of cell production on the environment?
In large part, the GHG emissions of a cell are emitted upstream of our production, due to the energy-intensive nature of raw material extraction and the associated mining processes. Resource depletion and pollution are concerns, as is the health and safety of workers and communities involved in the extraction and refining of the raw materials.
The extraction necessitate a lot of water too.
Regarding the cell production itself, our influence on the environment is twofold: What goes in our production - our consumption - and what goes out - our emissions.
Cells’ manufacturing does produce a lot of CO2 emissions due to gaz combustion, transport, waste treatment, water treatment and air treatment. This infographic lists these impacts.
What can be leveraged to reduce the impact of our production on the environment?
We’re focusing on every thing we can do, even the smallest ones, at every step of our production, to reduce our environmental impact: implementation of a procurement policy that involves our suppliers in order to choose those with the smallest carbon footprint and to encourage them to reduce it and implement more broadly an environmental management system, eco-design of our products and manufacturing processes, pollution prevention, waste management, preservation of biodiversity, recovery of atmospheric and liquid emissions, choice of low carbon transportation to and from the site, …. Our objective? Reducing the risk and consumption at source and continuously improve through innovation.
To foster our efforts, we will implement an environmental management system with ISO 14001 certification which provides guarantees for the control of environmental impacts in the company. The audits that it involves will provide proof that a continuous improvement approach has been implemented with a view to reducing all our environmental impacts in the short, medium and long term.
So in a nutshell, what is environmental management?
It’s the whole organization that we put in place, based on the analysis of our significant potential environmental impacts, in order to reduce them as much as possible, at the source and in a logic of continuous improvement throughout the battery lifecycle.