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Facing the challenge of climate and environment
As the climate is changing and consensus is reached that human activity is largely responsible for it, governments, companies and individuals must take up their part of social responsibility. Working in a sustainable way also means facing the challenges of climate change and environmental impact of our activities. DEME’s policy in this respect focuses on three objectives: preparing the future by developing innovative technologies in the fields of wind power, and green and blue energy; developing solutions for remediating historic soil pollution; limiting the environmental impact of our day-to-day operations by improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.
The growing world population requires an increase in international trade to maintain a healthy quality of life. In doing so, our business activities will continue to grow in a responsible manner by optimising our business processes. It is a matter of fact that DEME’s core business significantly contributes to changing business- and transport patterns, which in itself reduces the impact on the environment. The more sea ports are being built and the more capital and maintenance dredging is carried out, the more opportunities are created for a very much needed modal shift in goods transportation. In addition, the more our core activity contributes to the increase of scale in maritime goods transportation and the upgrading of sea going vessels, the lesser the frequency of movements, the more efficiently cargo can be transported.
DEME did not wait until concern for the environment became an overall and compelling issue. Caring for the broader interests of society is embedded in our corporate Code of Ethics. We continuously develop and improve our caring for the environment by applying an Environmental Management System according to the ISO 14001 standard.
On all fronts, our companies have been pioneers. Innovation, also in the field of environmental techniques, has always been a priority of the Board and top management.
For more than a decade ‘DEME Environmental Contractors’ (DEC) has been a trendsetter in Belgium and abroad, consolidating a variety of environmental activities and start-ups that had their origin in the late 1980s. DEC is active in soil cleaning, recycling materials, water treatment, brownfield remediation, etc. With an impressive list of references, DEC is now a well-respected business leader in dealing with solutions for remediation of historic environmental liabilities in Europe and abroad.
DEME pioneers in developing renewable energy sources (RES) and has continuously invested in it for over a decade. As a Group of companies, we support the EU objective to reach 20% of renewable energy in Europe by 2020, and our initiatives contribute to reaching that goal.
In the field of offshore wind energy, DEME has established Power@Sea as a concession specialist, which is active in several European countries. More than ten years ago, we stood at the cradle of the project development company C-Power, in which we keep a financial participation. C-Power has completed the first phase and started the second and third phases of a 325 MW offshore wind farm on the Thornton Bank off the Belgian coast. After foundation jackets were installed in 2011, C-Power will install additional wind turbines on its Thornton site in 2012 and 2013. The offshore wind farm will ultimately generate enough power to serve the needs of 600 000 people, avoiding in the process some 450 000 tons of carbon emissions per annum.
A specialized company ‘DEME Blue Energy’ (DBE) is exploring opportunities in the field of wave and tidal energy, the so-called blue energy. To this effect DBE has set up the FlanSea-project, a cooperative agreement with the University of Ghent, Electrawinds, the Port of Ostend and several specialized partners as Cloostermans, Spiromatic and Contec. DBE also took a participation in ‘Renewable Energy Base Oostende’ (REBO), a company that is supporting offshore energy projects in a range of 200 km around the Belgian sea port of Oostende.
In our day-to-day operations, caring for the environment and reducing the environmental impact of our activities is a prime concern of our Group. In training sessions, in our internal communication, in toolbox meetings, asking awareness among staff and crew for the environment (soil, water, air) in which we operate is now a standard practice. In addition, a pro-active and formal approach is followed at the kick-off meeting of every single new project – identifying environmental concerns, detailing environmental requirements from the client and the regulators, and imposing very concrete measures to meet environmental objectives on which we want to be challenged. As an example, we refer to the environmental record that was set after intensive monitoring and regulatory challenging at out London Gateway project for which our client, DP World, was awarded the ‘Environmental Protection Prize’ in the ‘Lloyds List Global Awards’.
At corporate level, energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions are important targets that are followed up by line- and project management. At one of our sites, in Kallo (Belgium), we have installed a 2 MW wind turbine that generates more than the power that is needed for our own activities. On the roof of our corporate headquarters near Antwerp we operate a battery of 1 700 m² of photovoltaic cells, the output of which compensates for a new air-conditioning system.
A formalized approach and precise procedures for reducing our environmental footprint are being implemented. DEME anticipates the IMO-Imposed ‘Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan’ (SEEMP) that will be applied as of 1st January 2013. Structural measures include, amongst other, preparation of the ISO 14064 Management System initiative. A task force for developing and implementing detailed environmental policies has been set up. Design principles by our shipbuilding department include optimized hull design, more efficient engines, investigations on the use of more environmentally friendly products, etc. The results are followed up through a variety of parameters taken from our fleet’s performance and output.