Preserving the Environment
Preserving the Environment
Through our activities, we are present in all parts of the world: on land and at sea, and from densely populated areas to desert regions. No matter where we operate, it is our responsibility to protect these different environments.
Taking Environmental Factors into Account at Every Stage of the Project Life Cycle
In compliance with our Safety Health Environment Quality Charter, whenever we build new facilities or undertake major extensions to existing sites, we only launch the project once an environmental risk assessment has been carried out.
Prior to each project, an environmental audit is conducted with the help of internationally renowned experts and specialized local consultants, focusing on water, air and soil quality, biodiversity and cultural heritage. The audit then serves as a baseline throughout the site's operating life. Next, an environmental impact assessment sets out the measures to be taken during each project phase to limit the environmental impact. These assessments guide the technical decisions made throughout the project’s life cycle, including with regard to decommissioning and reclamation.
Monitoring programs and regular environmental audits are carried out over the entire project life, all the way through to the relinquishment of the site, and improvement programs are deployed where necessary.
Enhancing Knowledge to Improve Protection
Total is involved in various R&D programs, generally in collaboration with scientific and institutional partners. The aim of these programs is to gain a better understanding of the areas in which we operate so that we can develop measures and technologies to protect them more effectively.
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We devote 10% of our R&D capital expenditure to the continuous improvement of our environmental performance. We also invest in the development of products with reduced environmental footprints, energy efficiency improvements and alternative energy sources.
Preventing and Managing Environmental Risks
Because risks are inherent in our industrial activities, risk management is one of our core priorities. Prevention is the foundation of our approach.
- Selecting processes whose environmental impact is systematically assessed.
- Designing equipment that is increasingly safe, reliable and efficient.
- Conducting regular maintenance.
- Using leak detection and other control and monitoring equipment.
- Selecting means of transportation and routes that limit the risk of accidents.
Despite the precautions taken, our operations can cause pollution, particularly accidental pollution. All of our sites therefore have emergency plans that are continuously updated and our teams regularly carry out emergency drills. We also have agreements with organizations specialized in pollution control.
Lastly, we have set up a committee of experts to oversee the reclamation process so that operations can continue or new activities developed without putting people’s health or the environment at risk.
MEREDIT, a New Tool to Strengthen Our Environmental Risk Management Practices
Depending on the specific topographical, geological, industrial, meteorological, ecological and other circumstances, a loss of containment (or leak) can have a variety of consequences. Modeling possible scenarios is therefore extremely complex.
Operational since 2010, MEREDIT is a new method, created by and for Total, for identifying and assessing the impacts of accidental and chronic pollution scenarios at our sites. Using the term “environmental” in its broadest sense, this includes the consequences for local residents, ecosystems and economic activities.
MEREDIT enhances the approach based on the expertise of environmental auditors by systematically integrating all of the possible scenarios.
Based on the results of around 50 tests conducted over five years at various sites with very different characteristics, MEREDIT benefits from extensive feedback from real-world incidents and accidents.
Continuously Improving and Deploying External Audits
We have deployed an Environmental Management System (EMS) at our sites that complies with ISO 14001, which provides a framework for achieving continuous improvement in environmental performance. ISO 14001 certification is awarded by accredited independent organizations following an audit of the site concerned. These audits are carried out on a regular basis, in order to renew certification.
At end-2010, 287 sites had earned ISO 14001 certification, including 92% of our major sites in terms of environmental implications. Major sites are defined as those that account for 90% of the main environmental indicators of each business, such as atmospheric emissions and freshwater withdrawals.
We freely submit a number of key reporting indicators to external auditors to monitor our environmental performance. In 2012, this task was entrusted to Ernst & Young.
External audits focus on the environmental data consolidated at the corporate and business levels, and on the data reported by a sample of business units in France and worldwide. The sample is selected each year based on each unit’s relative contribution to Total’s aggregate results, the previous year’s results and a risk analysis. External auditors have an obligation of independence, which is defined by the law and by their professional code of ethics.
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