The construction of port infrastructures with composite materials, patented by the company, has won the prize for the product or service that makes the best contribution to sustainable development.
Their Royal Highnesses the Princes of Asturias presented the prize, awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (through the Fundación Biodiversidad) to ACCIONA Vice-president Juan Ignacio Entrecanales.
ACCIONA has been awarded the European Business Award for the Environment (Spanish section) within the "Product and/or service for sustainable development" category for its construction system for port installations based on composite material caissons. This competitive system reduces CO2 emissions and lessens the impact on marine ecosystems in the construction of port infrastructures. The Princes of Asturias has award the prize today to ACCIONA Vice-president Juan Ignacio Entrecanales. The European Business Awards for the Environment are awarded by the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment, coordinated in Spain by the Fundación Biodiversidad of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment. The Spanish prizewinners will compete at the European level.
The Jury, consisting of ten experts in sustainability and the business world, examined around one hundred candidatures before recognizing the innovation and contribution to the protection of the environment of the new construction system patented by ACCIONA. The system replaces the traditional concrete caisson solution for building breakwaters, wharves and mooring points in ports with one that involves caissons made from composite materials. By doing this, the use of natural resources, impact on the environment and the generation of waste, discharges, emissions and pollutants are minimized throughout the life cycle (manufacture, assembly and maintenance).
This system is already being used in the extension of the Port of El Rosario (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands), and will become a pioneer installation worldwide in the use of this state-of-the-art technique.
The award of this prize and the candidature of ACCIONA for the European Business Award for the Environment represent a recognition of the company's track record when it comes to combining economic development with the protection of the environment in an approach based on innovation.
ACCIONA is a pioneering company in the effort to adopt its business model to a low-carbon economy that uses resources efficiently and is socially inclusive. Thanks to this philosophy of creating value through the environmental variable, the company avoided the emission of 15 million metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere last year - 24 times the amount of carbon dioxide generated from its activities. Not only that, ACCIONA has reduced contaminating emissions generated by its activities for the sixth year in succession, emitting 21% less CO2 than the previous year (and two-thirds less than the amount generated in 2007).
Another of the key themes in ACCIONA's environmental policy is its concern for the conservation of water resources. In this area, ACCIONA has improved its water footprint by 32%, and the company makes an ever-larger contribution to the treatment, desalination and purification of water in relation to its consumption and discharges. In 2013 ACCIONA's record vis-à-vis the environment is clearly favorable, with a positive water footprint on the planet of 562 hm3 (equivalent to the annual consumption of 7 million people). Also in 2013, 30% of the water that ACCIONA consumed was recycled, re-used or collected from rainwater.
The company has carried out over 400 environmental initiatives, for example in the fields of waste reduction and recycling, energy and water consumption, the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity, emblematic actions such as the installation of photo-trap cameras (activated by movement) around its installations to monitor the behavior of wildlife in the area, the creation of wetlands in places where the availability of water is a limiting factor for many animal and plant species, or initiatives for the protection of endangered species such the European mink.
Among the key data related to sustainability, we would highlight the efforts made in innovation: 173.2 million euros, 5% more than the previous year. This has enabled the company to register 111 patents as opposed to 94 the previous year, either granted or currently being processed. These innovations have been crucial in achieving CO2 reduction objectives and improving the company's water footprint.
ACCIONA's responsibility and commitment to the environment has been recognized by the main international indices that evaluate companies' performance in the area of sustainability.
The company has been selected for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the seventh successive year, and for the first time within the Electric Utilities sector. This index has given the highest rating to ACCIONA's climate strategy and the best report on environmental indicators and initiatives.
The company has also been recognized by CDP with a special prize to highlight its leadership in the fight against Climate Change. The same organization awarded ACCIONA the top rating as a sustainable supplier ("CDP Supplier Climate Performance Leadership Index").
ACCIONA is present in the main world forums on sustainability, such as the Advisory Board of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All initiative, promoted by the United Nations and the World Bank. It also has a seat on the the Management Committees of Global Compact LEAD and Caring 4 Climate of the UN Global Compact. ACCIONA is also the only Spanish company in the annual Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World 2014 and has received recognition from Corporate Knights, placing it second among the Top 10 Most Sustainable Utilities in the World.