This is reflected in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015. SDG 9 recognises the role of resilient infrastructure sector in achieving sustainable development, empowering communities and ultimately, improving lives.

We aim to help fulfil this role at an international level by developing high quality, reliable and durable infrastructure, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all. This also includes upgrading infrastructure and retrofitting industries, in line with the UN’s 2030 target, and facilitating sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries.

Our projects help to enhance accessibility and raise countries’ economic potential through energy and transport infrastructure. We also seek to improve public utility services via hydraulic engineering works, as well as civil and industrial buildings.

In designing and delivering our projects, we aim to minimise the environmental impacts of both the initial construction and the structure’s lifecycle over the long term, thereby helping to reduce carbon emissions and pollution. In addition, in the construction phase we adhere to environmental management systems certified to ISO 14001 standards. This helps us to address all the relevant issues (such as resource use, energy, emissions, water, waste, soil, noise and vibrations, biodiversity, traffic, restoration of projects’ areas) in an efficient, structured way.

 

Creating resilient, sustainable infrastructure

Creating infrastructure allows to secure an ongoing supply of natural resources such as water. However, sourcing these resources in a way that respects the environment is a major challenge. We continuously seek to propose solutions that address this challenge, while still ensuring the same high quality.

Additionally, as the global climate changes and extreme weather events become more frequent, the construction sector has a major role to play in ensuring infrastructure is resilient and durable, and developing renewable energy solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that global installed hydropower capacity will continue to grow, reaching 2,000 GW by 2050 and preventing annual emissions up to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 from fossil-fuel plants [1].

In the hydroelectric sector, we seek to secure reliable electricity and lower energy costs, which in turn help to boost economies, generating positive impacts in terms of business opportunities, job creation and social well-being. In 2015, we contributed to 12 hydroelectric projects in 11 countries on four continents. Once these projects are completed, their combined installed capacity will be 12,600 megawatts (MW) with an annual production of 39,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh). This would be enough to meet the energy demand of 58 million people [2] , which is equivalent to the population of Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Holland combined.

These projects will also help to avoid the emission of five million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, which is equivalent to the emissions of one million cars.

 

Promoting low-carbon urban mobility

Cities are undergoing great expansion as more people migrate to urban areas, particularly in Africa and Asia.

This rapid growth requires continuous investment in urban infrastructure – mobility in particular – in order to fight the escalating air pollution caused by traffic congestion. Indeed, more than 90% of air pollution in cities is attributed to vehicle emissions, mostly caused by the high proportion of older vehicles, coupled with poor vehicle maintenance, inadequate infrastructure, and low-quality fuel. It is estimated that more than one billion people are exposed to urban air pollution annually, with significant health consequences. Mobility infrastructure both facilitates the movement of goods and people, and gives underprivileged or developing communities, often located on the urban periphery, access to education, jobs and social services.

We contribute to the development of solutions that address evolving population needs and resolve air pollution challenges in urban areas. We are building eight underground metro projects on four continents, designed to ensure sustainable mobility solutions for more than three million people daily, thereby reducing the use of private vehicles and pollution. In addition to metro projects, we are also developing urban road projects geared to reducing congestion in more densely populated areas, directly improving traffic flow and environmental conditions.

 


[1] Technology roadmap: hydropower, IEA, 2012
[2] Data is an internal estimation based on project documents.

[3] It is estimated that urban air pollution is linked to up to one million premature deaths and one million pre-natal deaths each year, while urban air pollution costs approximately 2% of GDP in developed countries and 5% in developing countries. Source: United Nations Environment Programme