Ascendi builds, runs, operates, and maintains road networks, which inevitably impact local, social, economic and environmental structures.
Reducing those impacts and promoting an harmonious integration of the infrastructure in its surroundings is a relevant strategic vector for Ascendi’s sustainability.
The conceptualization and implementation of this strategy is based upon the voluntary assimilation of social and environmental concerns, not only in the operational activity development models, but also in our relationship with the entities with whom we have relevant interaction, striving to meet the stakeholder’s expectations and improving the present without hindering the future.
INTERVENTIONS ON ENVIRONMENTAL EXTERNALITIES:
Interventions on environmental externalities:
1. PROMOTION OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Implementation of measures for lighting flows regulation according to the infrastructure needs and the complementary use of LED technology (Ascendi is a pioneer in Portugal on installing LED technology in motorway Interchanges);
2. MONITORING AND MINIMIZING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
- Monitoring of infrastructures under construction or built
- Conduct environmental impact studies (EIS) in all built infrastructures
In order to ensure the alignment of the subcontractors’ activities with Ascendi’s environmental standards, the specifications include environmental issues and the document ‘Best practices on site’ was drawn up.
Environmental management on Site Award - The aim of this campaign is to reward best practices through an award scheme for environmental management performance by assessing:
- Response times to Ascendi’s requests;
- Waste recovery;
- Skills of the professionals involved;
- Use of best environmental practices;
- Implementation of self-control systems;
- Precision and team performance.
Resource consumption and waste management
Waste is managed in compliance with the national legislation in force and based on the assumption that all waste is sent for recovery, thus reducing the negative impact it may have on the environment. In 2020, Ascendi produced 935 tonnes of waste, of which 99% was non-hazardous and 73% was recovered.
Waste management by subcontractors is important to Ascendi, which is why it invests in awareness-raising and training as a means of ensuring that the procedures adopted are in line with its standards. Subcontractors generated a total of 9,103 tonnes of waste in 2020, of which almost 100% was non-hazardous and 99% was recovered.
Ascendi’s objective is to increase the reuse of waste that can be recovered within its infrastructures, by incorporating milled waste in the new bituminous mixes to be applied in future repaving, thus promoting the circularity of the materials.
Considering the importance of reducing water consumption as an effective way of managing
resource consumption, Ascendi ensures compliance with the legislation in force in all its operations and promotes various initiatives. Water consumption in 2020 was 8,811 m3, down 6% from the previous year (9,435 m3). This incentive for the responsible, sustainable use of water resources will continue in 2021.
Monitoring of sensitive areas;
Installation of tailing ponds, with macrophyte beds, constituting a "naturalised" system that is very efficient in capturing pollutants transported in dissolved state or in fine particles, which is a pioneering system in Portugal.
Noise monitoring in sensitive areas;
Use of permeable sound-absorbing paving wherever feasible;
Installation of Noise Barriers.
Noise is a relevant issue in infrastructure management, and Ascendi monitors the locations proposed in the general five-year monitoring plans and locations considered to be sensitive receptors or which are the subject of complaints. Based on the monitoring results, whenever technically feasible and with the owners’ agreement, acoustic barriers are implemented to minimise or eliminate noise In 2020 acoustic barriers were built in more urban areas in order to comply with the action plan approved by the Portuguese Environment Agency, which increases noise in the surrounding environment and, consequently, complaints.In the future Ascendi aims to continue its acoustic barrier projects, minimising noise pollution from its roads for the surrounding communities.
Acoustic Barriers - 103 KM in 2020
Aware of the impact that its infrastructure generates, Ascendi has a set of initiatives that consolidate its commitment to preserving biodiversity and protecting speciesIn partnership with Infraestruturas de Portugal, Ascendi is participating in the Life Lines project, with the objective of reducing animal mortality by identifying species and outlining measures to prevent animal-related road accidents. A mobile application was developed to identify species that live near motorways and to record the location of the road where the species appeared in the Geographic Information System (GIS).
Monitoring of fauna and flora in sensitive areas, especially of endangered species;
Promotion of the conservation of protected species (transfer of stork nests and species conservation campaigns);
Implementation of "naturalized" wildlife corridors to decrease the barrier effect of the infrastructures;
World Animal Day - Ascendi celebrated World Animal Day with a video, sent to all employees, on the animals found in the areas adjacent to the motorways and the work carried out to protect species
International Day for Biological Biodiversity -Ascendi celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity with the release of a video, sent to all employees, addressing the impact of the company’s activity and the initiatives promoted for fostering biodiversity in partnership with the University of Aveiro. This partnership aims to reduce animal mortality and promote biodiversity across the concession network.
Replanting of protected tree species (e.g. cork oaks and holm oaks) as a compensatory measure.
3. INTEGRATION OF THE ROADS IN THE LANDSCAPE
Ascendi’s activity is guided by a socially responsible model, interactive with the surroundings, namely seeking to improve the well-being of communities close to its areas of influence and of its employees, the development of scientific and technical knowledge in its area of activity and the promotion of universally recognized values in developed societies.
Among the current assumed initiatives we highlight:
Ascendi believes people are its biggest asset.
That is why its human resources policy is focused on the personal and professional development of our staff through a continued investment in coherent vocational training programs, in promoting safety at work and in the development of social activities
Each employees’ commitment is crucial for the whole organization.
Ascendi strives to clarify and align expectations so that everyone may feel involved and with a sense of belonging.
Among the developed activities we highlight:
Annual Training Plans, oriented to the individual and/or collective development of professional and personal skills;
Proactive promotion of Safety in the Workplace;
Promotion of a healthy lifestyle and disease prevention;
Sporting and cultural team activities, as a means of fostering internal cohesion.
Strategic Energy Plan
A Strategic Energy Plan (PEE) has been implemented at Ascendi, which initially seeks to identify and characterise direct and indirect energy consumption, in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG), using the classification of scopes 1, 2 and 3 provided for in the protocol. It is planned to implement an integrated energy management system and adapt energy supply and use procedures.
Objectives and goals will also be set in the energy area for 2025, 2030 and 2040, on four strategic axes:
• Improved energy efficiency for the same
volume of activity;
• Substitution of fossil energy for renewable energy;
• Decentralised production;
• Fleet electrification;
• Offsetting of scope 3 indirect emissions.
Energy consumption and emission management
Ascendi’s energy consumption in 2020 was 65,347 GJ (7% less than the previous year), 80% of which was renewable energy. This is an increase of 25 percentage points compared to 2019.
Percentage of electricity from renewable sources
|Electricity purchased from the grid||kWh||10.895.003||10.525.139||9.046.085|
|Consumption of electricity from renewable self-production||kWh||30,476||79,501||90.159|
|Energy intensity (grid dimensions)||GJ/Km||108||112||104|
The eco-efficiency measures implemented in 2020 represented an investment of €435,515, in measures such as:
• Contracting the supply of 100% renewable energy, improving the efficiency of the Multi-Lane Free Flow data centre, and replacing lighting fixtures on motorways.
CO2 emissions in 2020 were 605,709 tCO2 which represents a decrease of 36% compared to 2019 (942,152 tCO2). Of the total emissions of vehicles circulating on Ascendi’s roads, 0.4% were scope 1 (2,354 tCO2), 0.2% were scope 2 (1,154 tCO2) and 99.4% were scope 3 (602,201 tCO2).