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Climate Change, Global Warming, Environmental Crises. Whatever you call it, we should be working towards the same goal, to reduce the impact we have on the planet.

There are a number of issues causing the environmental crises, some of the key issues we face are:

- Pollution of the air, water and soil caused by toxins
- Global warming, emission of greenhouse gases due to human activity.
- Overpopulation, shortage of resources such as food, water, and fuel.
- Waste disposal, an excessive amount of waste is dumped in the oceans.
- Loss of biodiversity: species and habitats are becoming extinct due to human activity.  
- Deforestation, loss of trees resulting in less oxygen.

Dr Bonahis OKO, Bouygues Energies & Services, Contracting Sustainable, Carbon, and Environmental Lead feels the matter will get worse if we don’t start acting now. Our actions today have a huge impact which could result in a Global crisis, she explains:   

“The impact of Global warming could result in a huge number of climate refugees, as those with lower finances will feel the burden of the environmental impact and the UK is anticipated to start seeing climate refugees from 2054.”

An article published by the New York Times supports this and states 1% of the world is a barely liveable hot zone. By 2070 that portion could go up to 19% causing billions of people to migrate from those areas. The areas that are affected are mainly developing countries with individuals reliant on agriculture for their livelihood. These countries contribute to the lowest level of carbon emissions. Oxfam released a study that found the richest, 10 percent of people, produce half of the planet’s individual consumption-based fossil fuel emissions, while the poorest 50 percent – about 3.5 billion people – contributed only 10 percent. 

So, how can we act?

As a responsible and committed company, Bouygues Construction has for many years been innovating and developing sustainable solutions and projects that encourage the energy transition. The ambitious climate strategy that the Group is now introducing will reduce its carbon footprint across its entire value chain in line with the ambition of the Paris Climate Agreement.

By 2030 all the subsidiaries of Bouygues Construction in the UK want to be operationally net zero on all new constructed projects. And constructed projects delivered with net zero embodied carbon by 2040.

How can we improve the current climate issue?

To minimise and slow the climate change effects, we can all work together and take a systematic approach towards tackling climate change and reducing our impact.

“Emissions from the Transportation sector is one of the biggest contributor; so, what can you do with transportation? We could go down the electrification route, which would reduce carbon emissions,” said Bonahis

This is a policy Bouygues Energies & Services are championing as they have started taking steps to make all their company vehicles electric and encourage their staff to make the change.

Bonahis continues to say: “In the UK, we see the highest decarbonisation coming from the power generation sector, and while this is largely from us moving away from coal, it is also happening because of government policy regarding the renewable sector, supporting low carbon generation.”

As the government has the power to enforce companies to make the change and with the UK’s new target to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 could we see more legislation being enforced to add more renewable resources?

Bonahis adds: “Renewables are constrained by nature, so a renewable source of power generation that is constant and stable is definitely needed. To improve our current climate situation, governments need to do more, either by putting costs to carbon emissions or making some mandatory labour legislations/regulations towards reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, with a focus on business sectors.”

Renewable energy is a solution that many companies are exploring, and Bouygues Energies & Services are actively involved. Across the globe they have installed long term solar PV and windfarm solutions as a long-term resource. 

Being the change

However, we should not only rely on businesses and the government to help make these changes.  We are all contributors, so we could all do our part. For example, by  car sharing we can, reduce emissions by 7% - 10%.

“People need to be educated on the waste hierarchy, i.e. prevention to reuse, recycle, recover or dispose. When people are aware of the impact their decisions have on the environment, then it begins to impact their decisions.”, 

Education is important but at all levels. Individuals alongside companies can have a greater impact on the environment, just from being ‘climate change – aware’. Bouygues Energies & Services have rolled out mandatory educational modules for their staff and supply chains covering sustainability. This covers everything from route planning, waste disposal, packaging material, and educating them on the basics.  This is something Bonahis is helping with, she explains:

“As part of Bouygues Energies & Services carbon strategy, we have carbon targets and a carbon policy in place. We monitor and measure our emissions as well as assess the risks and opportunities from climate change to our business. We are providing Information and educating our employees, and our supply chain partners.  So, as a company, I'd say it's a three-pronged approach. It’s awareness, behavioural change, and then comes cultural change, both in our corporate offices and in our projects.”

Jerome Crespin, Bouygues Energies & Services, Contracting, Head of Procurement and Supply Chain and Carbon Steering group member highlights:

“We have partnered with The Supply Chain Sustainability School, an organisation that works on educating the supply chain on sustainability matters. They offer us a platform with existing content that we can use to reach and educate our supply chain at management, environmental and sustainability roles”. 

“Understanding construction approach is important as carbon has a significant impact on the climate. So, focus on embodied carbon, low carbon materials and influencing supply chain to act sustainably.”, said Bonahis.

“Our company target is to deliver training to 50% of key supply chain organisations we use regularly by the end of 2022”, added Jerome.

Electric cars and new technologies are at the forefront of the battle against climate change and with more and more companies embracing a sustainable approach, this could contribute to lowering our environmental footprint. Bouygues Energies & Services have already taken the initiative in changing their vehicles from fossil fuel to a more sustainable electric vehicle

As a company Bouygues Energies & Services offer energy efficiency solutions to help their clients lower their carbon footprint across their sites. 

“Automated systems have shown they can reduce the carbon emissions from buildings and facilities. As an example lighting, heating and air conditioning can be controlled through an AI system to improve energy efficiency and therefore lower the carbon impact. If more facilities embrace it, the quicker we can have our marker on a healthier planet.”

Bouygues Energies & Services have applied automated systems to process facilities, plants and projects for many years this includes data centres, education, cleanroom and laboratories facilities. System designed to helps the clients run their facility more sustainably but at the same time allow them to run a more efficient operation. 

To hear more from Bonahis join her on 17th November 2021 where she will join a panel discussion on "The Climate Emergency - Lessons Learned From COP26".

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