The Red Eléctrica Group publishes its new ‘Commitment to Biodiversity’
Red Eléctrica allocated €27.5 million to protect the natural environment in 2019
  • The Company continues moving forward in its commitment to generate a positive net impact in the areas in which it carries out its activities.
  • An internal analysis also reveals that the positive impact on society as a whole is almost ten times greater than the negative impacts.
  • The main courses of action of this commitment are aimed at avoiding areas rich in biodiversity, ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, improving the integration of facilities and promoting communication and alliances with stakeholders.

Red Eléctrica continues to move forward in its commitment to conserving the natural environment of the areas in which it carries out its activities, a challenge that is evident in its new Commitment to Biodiversity. In fact, in 2019 the Company allocated 27.5 million euros to launch initiatives dedicated to caring for the environment, an amount revealed and detailed in its EMAS Environmental Statement 2019 and which represents an increase of 3 million euros compared to the investment made in 2018. This figure includes both environmental impact studies and other actions to protect biodiversity, prevent pollution, manage waste and fight against climate change.

Among the actions carried out, noteworthy is the strengthening of the active and ongoing collaboration of Red Eléctrica with the public administrations involved in environmental management, formalising, last year, various collaboration agreements in the field of forest protection and the promotion of marine and land biodiversity. Specifically, six agreements related to fighting and preventing forest fires have been renewed; the investment earmarked for these collaboration agreements over a period of 4 years exceeds one million euros.

The EMAS Environmental Statement is the environmental report that Red Eléctrica drafts and has published annually since 2001 and which includes all the actions that the Company carries out in this field. In 2019, as it does every year, it was prepared in accordance with its strict environmental policy and from a position of utmost respect for the environment. Since 1999, the Company has had an environmental management system certified according to ISO 14001 and is registered in the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). This year, and as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recently published does not yet have the required certification statement from the corresponding Verification Agency, although this is expected to be issued by December this year.

New ‘Commitment to Biodiversity’

According to an analysis recently carried out by the Company, the Group's activity clearly generates a positive net impact on society as a whole, which is almost ten times greater than that of the negative impacts. The objective now is to achieve a positive net impact in the areas surrounding the Company’s facilities. The Company's new 'Commitment to Biodiversity' takes on this challenge as the starting point, incorporating the concept of Natural Capital in the mitigation hierarchy approach, which entails always avoiding protected areas, minimising those impacts which may be inevitable, restoring that which has been affected and carrying out actions to help offset any possible damage caused.

The action plan is set out in four specific courses of action. The first course of action is to establish impact assessment from a natural capital perspective as a new approach. Generating a positive net impact on the natural environment surrounding our electricity facilities requires having tools, methodologies and new ways of working to assess the change derived from the presence of our facilities and their impact on society.

The second course of action focuses on the development of the Group's activity and is aimed at avoiding impacts and restoring areas that may be affected throughout the life cycle of electricity infrastructure, from the outset of the design phase of facilities, all the way through to their construction and maintenance . For this, an analysis of the territory is carried out in order to avoid those areas which are biologically richest, thus allowing the alternative routes of least impact to be selected and, subsequently, define the appropriate preventive and corrective measures for the areas concerned in order to minimise any potential impacts on biodiversity during construction and throughout the useful life of the facilities. The objective of these measures is to make facilities compatible with fauna and to protect habitats and ecosystems of high ecological value.

The third course of action is aimed at compensation and conservation through projects and actions related to the protection of fauna, flora and natural habitats. In this regard, Red Eléctrica proactively promotes and collaborates on the development of projects through alliances with environmental organisations located in the areas in which it carries out its activities, with actions aimed mainly at the protection of focal bird species, the fight against forest fires and the restoration of degraded marine and land forests, and the conservation of ecosystems rich in biodiversity.

Lastly, the fourth course of action is to incorporate innovation and research into the development of new technologies that make it possible to make the facilities compatible with birdlife. It also encompasses the monitoring of fauna in order to know its state of conservation and the state of the ecosystems in which the fauna lives. Additionally, it will also monitor flora, and attempt to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by creating landscapes that are more resilient.

All courses of action included in the Commitment to Biodiversity also entail Red Eléctrica’s open engagement with stakeholders, maintaining active and ongoing communication in order to find out the stakeholder’s opinion and feelings and to convey to them the goal of this commitment, always applying transparency criteria in order to guarantee a lasting and close-knit relationship.