08. Commitment to the environment

Day-to-day environmental management


Use of new technologies

The SyV Group has continued with the ambitious project launched four years ago to design and install a new IT tool that will enable us to process information from multiple work centres and monitor the different activities performed at each. The aim is bring together in a single application all the information related to corporate responsibility and environmental management and the rest of the system’s quality management, integrating the various sources of information available at present.

In the development process, functionalities are created which, because of their usefulness, imply an improvement in systems, given that the application is guided by ongoing improvement.

In 2011, great efforts were made to implement and put into practices processes of audit management, corrective actions, suppliers, monitoring and defining of procurement specifications, definition of targets and goals and social responsibility.

The Social Responsibility functionality has been designed to carry out in-depth monitoring of the indicators for the Biodiversity area, providing with centralised information on protected spaces and high biodiversity areas, threatened species and restored habitats and sustainable initiatives implemented as part of the activities carried out by the SyV Group.

Furthermore, small modifications have been made to existing functionalities, which will enable the Group to report information more efficiently. One of these modifications is a field for quantifying spills, should they arise; the treatment given to waste has been added, etc.

The array of functionalities added allows us:

• Instant communication, at all levels, between quality and environment personnel, and affected staff, of the required data for monitoring and control of systems. (nonconformities in work centres, information issued by the quality and environment department, etc).

• Support in the process of rolling out and monitoring systems in the different work centres (e.g.: communication of deadlines expired in the event of nonconformities, exceeding the deadlines hazardous waste storage, etc).

• Possibility of greater monitoring and control of the different work centres by people responsible for each area and the quality and environment departments.

• Production of statistics and lists to analyse, at global and individual level, the extent of system implementation.

The Group’s objective, in this area, is to consolidate the rollout of the new functionalities in 2012. The key benefits of introducing this system will be process automation, data availability and the possibility of conducting fast, centralised monitoring.

In 2011, accesses dropped by 10.5% compared with 2010.

Access data per year and the number of accesses per month since 2008 are shown below:

número de accesos por año

Environmental responsibility

Law 26/2007, of 23 October, on environmental liability, in addition to Royal Decree 2090/2008, of 22 December, partially implementing this law and the rest of the related implementing regulations, will be at the forefront of the environmental regulatory framework in the coming years. Predicated on the principle of prevention, this Law is based on two main pillars: the repair of environmental damage caused by contamination by the party responsible and the establishment of financial guarantees to cover the related costs.

número de accesos por mes

For the last three years, Sacyr Vallehermoso has been taking part in the Mirat Project in different sectors. The projects involve the preparation, along with other industry players, of an environmental risk report model that can be assured externally.

In step with its increasing awareness of the Group’s environmental risks, SyV has arranged a corporate environmental liability insurance policy with an international scope that covers all the SyV Group’s subsidiaries. This environmental liability insurance policy sufficiently complies with the qualitative and quantitative demands set out in the laws applicable in each country (e.g.: Act 26/2007 in Spain and Decree – Law 147/2008, in Portugal). The Insurance Programme covers up to €40 million per claim and €60 million a year at the Group level. In the specific case of compliance with Portuguese law, a local policy has been arranged with an annual indemnity limit of €5 million per loss. The Group insurance programme takes effect to cover any mismatch in indemnity limits and insurance conditions.

Statutory environmental requirements

The SyV Group regularly identifies and documents all statutory environmental requirements applicable to its businesses. There are currently have 1,729 statutory provisions classified by subject matter in 12 areas, e.g.: water, atmosphere, waste, etc. The breakdown is as follows:

In 2011, Somague Construction created a new application for the Somague intranet (SNET), which allows safety and environment laws to be identified and analysed. One of the most important functions of this new legal instrument is the organisation by subject of all laws applicable to Somague’s activities, which is systematically associated with requirements directly applicable to the company and whose records should be maintained. The contents of this application are updated monthly and are available to all employees..

Similarly, the Somague services area has a database containing all applicable environmental laws and the identification and scope of their applicability.

In 2011, SyV was named as the target of 27 new environmental penalty claims in Spain. Proceedings were completed for 49 claims, 13 of which were initiated during in the year. Only 10.2% of completed proceedings entailed a cost to the Group, amounting to€1,471 euros in total. 12.24% refer to proceedings closed due to lack of liability and the remaining 77.55% correspond to proceedings which have expired and hence been closed. All of these are being processed by the Group’s legal department in accordance with current legislation.


Valoriza Energía received two penalty proceedings in 2011, which are currently in process; in one of them, the pertinent allegations have been made; while in the other, the company has received notification that proceedings have commenced, though no list of charges has been submitted.

No environment-related penalty was levied in 2011 against Somague – in either its construction or environment area – or against Sacyr Chile.

For the SyV Group, it is a priority to comply with all the statutory environmental provisions in carrying out its activities, regardless of the country where they are being developed.

For the SyV Group, it is a priority to comply with all the statutory environmental provisions in carrying out its activities, regardless of the country where they are being developed.

Tax relief for environmental expenditure

In 2011, as in previous years, the process of identifying Group expenditure that may be eligible for environment-related tax breaks continued. In the previous year’s report, we had stated that three facilities were being assessed to judge whether they were tax-deductible: installations for the storage of rubber-modified bitumen, fixed coldrecycling equipment and active-layer stabilisation equipment using dehydrated lime.

In 2011, Sacyr achieved a deduction of 2%, in other words, a 4,460 euros deduction for environmental protection investments relating to fixed coldrecycling equipment for aggregate stemming from roads for the manufacture of new paving.

In addition, the environmental department of the regional government of Castilla y León is considering an application filed for a 49,500 euros tax deduction in respect of a project submitted in 2009 – specifically, a hot asphaltic macadam recycling plant.

Legislation in force governing tax relief for capital expenditure on environmental protection allows deductions in respect of certain environmental investments, such as:

• Facilities designed to reduce air and water pollution and to help reduce, recover and treat industrial waste.

• The acquisition of new industrial or commercial road transport vehicles with reduced pollutant emissions.• New facilities and equipment designed to harness renewable energy sources.

Environmental costs and expenditure

The SyV Group’s commitment to the environment is the source of a wide range of initiatives to prevent, mitigate and, wherever possible, eliminate or minimise the environmental impact of its businesses.

Putting these initiatives into practice carries a number of environmental costs, which have to be identified and assessed from a wide variety of perspectives. Sometimes, the costs arise from discretionary activities, while in other cases they are required by contract or environmental law.


In 2010, we identified possible environmental costs and broke these down into groups to glean a rough idea of environmental expenses and investments (given the difficulty of obtaining information from the different work centres). In 2011, we defined and established an internal system based on the work carried out the previous year, broadening the categories for environmental expenses and incorporating information from a greater number of centres. The results obtained were as follows:

Training and awareness-raising

Human capital is one of the driving factors of the SyV Group. So one of the Group’s goals is to have a select team of employees and contractors in place whose quality and environmental criteria are aligned with those of the SyV Group..

The search for sustainable development and the fight against climate change, inter alia, means that in the design, contracting, construction, upkeep of roads, rendering of services, rental of properties, etc., all activities carried out by the SyV Group, it is not enough simply to comply with the requirements demanded by the environmental laws applicable, but it is essential to take a step further, towards promoting and fostering the application of good practices in order to minimise impacts on the natural environment, efficiency in the use of resources and the application of the hierarchy in waste management.

For this reason, environmental training and awareness-raising are one of the cornerstones of the Group’s strategy, and it uses a combination of didactic methods to raise awareness among employees and partners of the potential environmental implications of their activities, with the primary goal of enhancing their environmental awareness and encouraging environmentally friendly conduct.

In 2011, 8,063 hours of environmental training were taught in Spain to 1,117 employees through courses and informal discussions in various forms (external, internal, on-site, on-line, etc.). Compared with 2010, training contact hours have increased and training attendees have decreased. In Somague Construcción, 2,140 hours of environmental training were given to 325 collaborators, while in Somague Ambiente 287 hours of environmental training were given to 153 collaborators.


Continuing with its system for creating and distributing environmental best practice handbooks and guides, which serve as supports in training and awareness-raising initiatives for both employees and subcontracted companies, in 2011, Sacyr Vallehermoso carried out the following activities:

• At the start of the year, it published the Handbook for Good Environmental Practices in Waste Water Treatment Plants.

• In the second half of 2011, the Group began to update the existing Good Environmental Practices Guides for cleaning activity and building maintenance, of which there are currently two: the Guide of Good Environmental Practices in Cleaning activities and Guide of Good Environmental Practices in facility and property maintenance services. Specifically, three documents have been drafted - one for each one of the activities developed by Valoriza Facilities, designed for the three types of contract which currently exist. The following handbooks have been prepared:

- Good Environmental Practices for Complete Service Management Handbook
- Good Environmental Practices for Installation Maintenance Handbook
- Good Environmental Practices for Property Cleaning Handbook


- In late 2011, work began on updating the current Good Environmental Practices Handbook for road upkeep, maintenance and operation. These new documents have been prepared taking into account the latest Good Environmental Practice handbooks published by some of the companies in the SyV Group, marking the guidelines to be followed in environmental issues, and including a consultation guide focused on relevant environmental topics such as, for example, the labelling of hazardous waste, environmental emergency situations, etc.

Sacyr Vallehermoso has environmental best practice handbooks and guidelines for each of the different activities it carries out. The catalogue comprises the following titles:

• Handbook of environmental best practices in offices
• Handbook of environmental best practices in construction project.
• Handbook of environmental best practices in gardening and environmental services.
• Guide to environmental best practices in building cleaning activities.
• Handbook of environmental best practices at concession companies.
• Guide to environmental best practices in road cleaning and waste collection services.
• Guide to environmental best practices in facilities and property maintenance.
• Guide to environmental best practices for construction laboratories.
• Guide to environmental best practices for the end-to-end water cycle.
• Handbook of environmental best practices for healthcare services.
• Handbook of environmental best practices for motorway conservation, maintenance and operation.
• Handbook of environmental best practices in desalination plants.
• Handbook of environmental best practices in waste water treatment plants.

Furthermore, the SyV Group is committed to the motivation, integration and involvement of employees in improving their own performance and efficiency. Quality and Environment Department staff accordingly train daily in management skills. Courses taken by department employees include:

- Communication and effective time management
- Team management

Environmental communication. Relations with stakeholders

The SyV Group considers it essential to have fluid communication channels, both within the organisation and externally, that enable us to release information on our environmental performance and gather information on our stakeholders’ main concerns about environmental matters. The SyV Group has established various internal and external communication channels to this end.

The main channels for internal dissemination of environment-related information are the Group’s intranet (SyVnet), the green mailbox, the Dimensión in-house magazine, the environmental improvement, consultation and suggestion section, the Group’s website (see section entitled “Channels of stakeholder engagement”), and the environment newsletter, and the new “Press Statements” space started a few months ago.

The environment newsletter is an internal communication channel devoted exclusively to quality and environment issues. Created in 2009, it keeps all SyV employees up to date with the key environment topics. The first issue was released in July 2009 and e-mailed to all Group staff.

In mid 2011 a quality environment mini-site was created on the Group Intranet (SyVnet) called “Press statements”. This is a new space for all the press statements made by the SyV Group through its different channels, directed exclusively to communications on environmental matters. This section currently contains the following Press Statement: “The street tree conservation service in Madrid, carried out by SyV, obtains the EMAS III certification”.

These internal communication channels enable our personnel to share their experiences in the organisation and update their know-how.

In relation to external communications, Sacyr Vallehermoso has a variety of channels available to the public, the most important of which are its Annual Corporate Responsibility Report, Somague´s Annual Sustainability Report (Relatório de Sustentabilidade), the Group’s website and the environmental statement associated with its EMAS certifications.

Another important means of environmental communication is provided by the affiliation of the Group and its subsidiaries to various specialist organisations. SyV’s Quality and Environment Department is a member of AEC, the Spanish Quality Association, a private non-profit organisation that promotes a culture of quality and sustainable development.

In addition, the Sacyr Vallehermoso Group and companies belonging to it regularly sponsor and participate in conferences and other dedicated forums to promoting values that foster respect and care for the environment. In this way, the Group shares its experiences and best practices with the wider community. Events in which it took part in 2011 included the following:

• Participation in the 35th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON BRIDGE AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING ORGANISED BY IABSE-IASS, held in London from 20-23 September 2011, with the “Talavera Bridge” presentation.

• Speaker at the 5th CONGRESS OF THE STRUCTURAL CONCRETE SCIENTIFICTECHNICAL ASSOCIATION, which took place from 25-27 October 2011 in Barcelona. The specific presentations were as follows:

• Talavera southern by-pass cable-stayed bridge. Construction of foundations.
• Talavera southern by-pass cable-stayed bridge. Construction of table.
• Talavera southern by-pass cable-stayed bridge.

Construction of pile

• Cadagua junction. Launch of V1 viaduct with V4 viaduct and V2 viaduct with VR2.

• Cadagua junction: Machine lifting of viaducts V4 and VR2.

• Cadagua junction: Assembly of V3 viaduct.

• Participation in International Research in Construction Workshops under the title “Structural Landmarks of Architecture and Engineering”, organised in Madrid, on 17 and 18 November 2011, by the Eduardo Torroja Construction Science Institute and the Polytechnic University of Madrid. The Group made a presentation entitled “Design and construction of the third set of locks of the Panama Canal”.

• CONCRETE AND STEEL PUBLICATION. Cadagua junction construction process.

• The Metro Txurdinaga joint venture took part in the “Technical railway tunnel workshops” held in the Basque Country in June 2011, organised by Adif, Aetos and Ets. These workshops addressed the subjects of high speed tunnels, urban tunnels and their environmental integration and safety.

• Valoriza Energía delivered a presentation in the Jaén – Meknès business meeting on renewable energies and olive biomass, held in Jaén in February 2011.

• Valoriza Energía took part in the European Energy Week, in the workshop on “Successful Cases in the Field of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies in the Province of Jaén”, which took place in April 2011, with a presentation on “Centralised air conditioning projects with biomass, thermo-electrical cogeneration with natural gas for drying pomace oil, and Electrical generation with Biomass”.

• The Director of the Linares industrial complex took part in the Master’s course in Renewable Energies held at the University of Jaén in April 2011, with a presentation entitled “Thermal and Electrical Applications of Biomass”.

• In October 2011, Valoriza Energía took part in an advanced course on forestry crops with energy applications, giving a presentation entitled “Supply, legislation and energy recovery of biomass for electrical generation”.

• SACYR played an active role in the organisation and presentation of papers in the 1st R&D+I Civil Engineering Workshop held at the Engineering School of Granada on 8 June 2011. The aim of this meeting was to disclose the results of the research works carried out through the agreement subscribed with the University of Granada on “Research in new technology applications for civil engineering works”.

• Sacyr Chile manned a stand at the FIMAT Atacama Industrial Mining Fair 2011, held in the city of Copiapó in the Atacama Region, from 8 to 11 November 2011. This event offers business opportunities in the mining business and companies are able to showcase their services. It is a networking event for the mining business in the Atacama Region, where the highest investment at national level is expected to be made over the next 10 years.