The environment, a daily concern

05.06.2018

Managing the environmental impact of its activities is a major concern for Naval Group. Each day, environmental-protection measures are reflected upon and applied to contribute to a cleaner industry. Florence Bourgue and Nicolas Besnard are responsible for environmental protection in Toulon and Cherbourg respectively. On the occasion of World Environment Day, they explain their initiatives within the context of this group policy.

Challenges in relation to the activities of each site

Risk management is a daily challenge for Naval Group’s environment teams. Each strategy or measure aimed at reducing the risk of an accident is designed by the environment managers, along with other departments such as purchasing or site management and local authorities, according to the site’s geographical location and its activities.

Together, they remain attentive to the ecosystem surrounding each site and contribute to the protection of this environment over the different stages of fabrication and maintenance, as well as through social-responsibility initiatives.

The Toulon site’s proximity to the harbour roadstead requires additional precautions to be taken, for example throughout fairing-related operations: a procedure that consists in cleaning and stripping the outer skin of the vessel using high-pressure water. The dry dock in which the vessel is placed then becomes filled with effluents, which Naval Group collects, treats and analyses. Pumping and filtration equipment is deployed and prevents any uncontrolled emissions into the natural environment.

Fairing of a vessel in Toulon

Beyond these activities, the Toulon site has also been associated with the Var Maritime Prefecture for the annual “Rade propre” (Clean roadstead) operation for several years. This event allowed, for example, a dozen or so boat wrecks to be recovered in 2017.

In Cherbourg, the challenges have increased since the site was entrusted with the Australian submarine construction project and dismantling the first-generation nuclear ballistic submarines (SSBNs), the latter including recycling the vessels’ construction metal and removing asbestos and lead. “We are in the midst of a rapid industrial expansion and are developing our infrastructures to respond to increasing technical, human and environmental needs”, explains Nicolas.

Nicolas Besnard, environment manager at the Cherbourg site

Objectives over 3 years

The different environmental actors at Naval Group have set objectives for the period 2018-2020 which following on from the 2015-2017 plan and are monitored by Charlotte Breuil, director of Workplace Health and Safety and Environment. The directors of site management have thus committed to reducing baseload consumption (energy consumption on the sites during periods of inactivity) by 10%; keeping the proportion of purchases made in compliance with the corporate social responsibility requirements at 30% and reducing the maximum number of Level-2 environmental incidents (generating pollution of medium extent) from 4 to 2. The reduction of dangerous waste generated is also a priority, the best type of waste being one which is never generated. Lastly, and above all, the share of eco-design in R&D files and new projects should increase significantly to anticipate client demand and international regulations.

Florence Bourgue, environment manager at the Toulon site

From identifying risks to redefining new goals, reflecting on the most suitable solutions to achieving these, all the way through to measuring their effectiveness, the continuous improvement methodology adopted by Naval Group does not just involve environment managers. “Environmental problems go beyond the remit of the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) department”, Florence reminds us.

Indeed, Naval Group’s ISO 14001 certification for all sites is proof of how we manage the impact of our activities, products or services on the environment in the correct manner.

We are stepping up our initiatives aimed at limiting our environmental footprint on a wider scale than just our core activities, in particular via a company transportation plan which encourages our employees to choose sustainable transport means.

“Today, environmental responsibility is a major asset and an increasingly important factor for clients, especially in the industrial sector. The definition of concrete environmental measures and objectives applied to all the Group’s activities represents in itself a driver for our industrial performance”, concludes Charlotte Breuil.