In response to the health crisis, the French government launched a recovery plan, one of the measures being the ecological transition. The aim is twofold: decarbonise the French economy by reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and to support the various sectors by focusing on green technologies. But how can we do this in 2021?
In order to manufacture its products and operate its system, a company will consume material and energy (intentional products), that will generate other so-called unintentional products (waste, wastewater, soil pollution). This is why it is important to implement a sustainable development approach in companies in order to control the impact of their activities, especially on the environment.
What are the current challenges of Sustainable Development?
The stakes are high for companies, which must comply with the regulations but also participate in the collective effort for sustainable development. Some of the main challenges companies are facing include:
- Regulatory issues: compliance with regulations (example with the case of Facilities Classified for Environmental Protection);
- Economic issues: optimising costs, taxes, fines;
- Strategic issues: competition, brand image (consumers/customers are increasingly sensitive to sustainable development), market position;
- Social issues: more involved employees in a company committed to a sustainable development approach.
What are the regulatory requirements for companies?
Several regulatory texts regarding sustainable development exist for companies.
The Environment Code
The Environment Code was created in 2000 and then underwent two successive amendments in 2005 and 2007. This document brings together the various laws, decrees and regulations about the environmental situation in France.
The CSR report
The CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) report is a document that reports on the actions/results implemented by the company in order to respect and apply the principles of sustainable development. It is a periodic document, usually annual, made mandatory by the Law Grenelle 2 in July 2010 for companies listed on the stock exchange with a turnover exceeding €100 million or with more than 500 employees. This report is now known as the "extra-financial performance statement" ("CSR report" being the former name).
What implementations are currently used in companies?
Among the implementations that can be included in the CSR report:
Waste management is an essential element of sustainable development in companies. It is crucial today to consume resources efficiently and to take advantage of waste, through reuse, recycling or recovery.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions records
The objective of decarbonisation is to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) in order to limit GHG emissions. It also involves seeking more energy-efficient processes and adapting production methods. Tools such as the carbon balance and greenhouse gas emissions balance (BEGES) make it possible to identify sources of emissions and to direct actions towards the sectors where they would be most effective.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
LCA consists of analysing the life cycle of a product/service in order to become aware of its environmental impact.
Depending on the companies concerned (treatment plant, nearby watercourses, etc...), it may be necessary to monitor the water through various analyses (in mg/L). This involves defining a sampling date/time and setting critical limits according to the standards applied for each analysis.
Why digitise your environmental approach?
Sustainable development is an essential subject that is set to develop in the coming years. However, despite the taxes/fines in force, some companies still do not comply with the regulations...
The major difficulty is data collection, there are several digital tools that allow greater efficiency. With the help of sensors/probes or simply from a digital form, information from the field can be sent in real time to the concerned pilots/services. The data is collected then transcribed in the form of automatic dashboards, which is very practical for the analysis of environmental measurements!
Therefore, digital technology allows companies to save time and optimise internal costs through better control of the environmental impact of their activities.