Carbon neutrality means not emitting more greenhouse gases (GHG) than we can absorb. According to the United Nations, more than 110 countries - responsible for 65% of global CO2 emissions - have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050: United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, the United States under the presidency of Joe Biden... China has set itself a deadline of 2060. What about France?
CO2 emissions have fallen by 20% in the country since 1990, including -0.9% in 2019 alone. With the context of the Covid-19 health crisis, according to a report by Climate Transparency, they have recorded an actual drop in 2020: -13% between January and May. Compared to other G20 countries, France is even at the forefront in terms of reducing GHG emissions, particularly with regard to the decarbonisation of the energy and building sectors.
What is the situation at Teréga with regard to carbon neutrality commitment? “Since 2017, the BE POSITIVE programme is pursuing an ambitious objective: gradually erase the environmental footprint of our activities. To achieve carbon neutrality in 2020 and generate positive value by 2025. Our ambition is to be exemplary and preemptive with a proactive approach: Avoid-Reduce-Offset", explains Laëtitia Mahenc, head of the Environment & Corporate Social Responsibility department. An approach that produces results!
Since 2017, Teréga’s overall Carbon Footprint has fallen by a quarter.
Our environmental performance, based on the ratio between greenhouse gas emissions produced and the quantity of energy transported, capitalises on a +15% improvement.
In terms of energy performance, we have managed to reduce our consumption by 20% for an equivalent activity.
“These three points help demonstrate that the company’s environmental strategy is working. To which we must add a fourth factor: the reduction of our methane emissions, which are more than 15% in four years,” adds Laëtitia Mahenc.
In terms of Carbon Neutrality strategy, the principle involves somehow constructing a straight line to reach zero, knowing that there is an incompressible level of emissions. “So, we are working hard to establish a plan of concrete, tangible, quantifiable and efficient actions to monitor our environmental footprint and reduce it as much as possible,” says Laëtitia Mahenc. Since the implementation of BE POSITIVE in 2017, Teréga has initiated various actions to achieve its ambition of setting an example:
Increase team skills for optimising the availability of works prior to construction and the determination to anticipate further,
Develop a digital solution – OPTIMUS software – for real-time optimisation of our machinery, incorporating the CO2 factor in the technical solution.
Use a MOBIL COMP recompression truck – a Teréga specificity – to prevent methane discharges during the work phases, which can recover between 10 and 15% of emissions,
Burn off residual methane using flaring, helping to reduce the impact of emissions when recompression is impossible.
Deploy NGVs within the vehicle fleet, with already 1/3 of the fleet completely renewed since January 2021,
Self-produce electricity with a solar farm project of about 10 MW installed, with a production target of 12 GWh/year and commissioning scheduled for 2022/2023.
Teréga has decided to give priority to reducing its own emissions. Teréga has decided to give priority to reducing its own emissions. Since 2012, we have thus seen a reduction of 50% in our greenhouse gas emissions overall, and our next target is a further 30% reduction in emissions by 2024. But there is an incompressible threshold that involves offsetting to achieve carbon neutrality. "This is the last step of BE POSITIVE. We have chosen to offset all our emissions by assuming a GWP (Global Warming Power) of 34 for our methane emissions. This is the highest value estimated by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). For comparison, the GWP of CO2 is 1 and the value for methane can be considered between 28 and 34,” explains Laëtitia Mahenc. Once again, Teréga’s proactive approach is expressed and takes shape in a very specific manner.
The company has chosen to devise its approach with Eco-Act, a leader in the offsetting sector, which develops its own international projects. These are standardised according to the two labels that are the basis for offsetting: VCS and GoldStandard.
In 2018, four international offsetting projects will be put to a vote by employees. "This phase had to reflect who we were, our identity. It was also necessary to continue to involve employees in the BE POSITIVE programme,” adds Laëtitia Mahenc.
The most popular one is the Clean Water project, involving Somalia and Eritrea in East Africa. The aim is to develop the drinking water supply of the population, which avoids having to boil water and therefore to cut wood. This shared benefits approach won over Teréga’s employees. The project has both a social advantage for the local population and an environmental advantage in avoiding deforestation.
litres of drinking water/year
tonnes of unburned wood
A well drilled in Eritrea as part of Clean Water projects.
Women near a well drilled in Eritrea as part of Clean Water projects.
Although the next milestone for BE POSITIVE is 2025 and achieving a positive carbon balance, the approach and objectives remain the same. "Today, we are in line with BE POSITIVE’s initial intention. So, reaching the new level means consolidating what we have begun and reinforcing this dimension of the company’s identity”, says Laëtitia Mahenc. With priority areas for progress:
Aim for a further 25% reduction in methane emissions by combatting diffuse losses,
Further strengthen collective involvement, particularly with the endowment fund for societal projects,
Innovate on these dynamics with consideration of how to develop skills patronage,
Within two to three years, develop offset projects for France that are closer to our installations, in particular through biomethane production and a virtuous approach for a circular, decentralised economy, closer to consumers…