We apply the mitigation hierarchy to our activities, looking for a positive overall balance of their impact on biodiversity.
Nature is the main source of resources for human life. The current economic growth model is the main culprit for the accelerated loss of biodiversity we have been witnessing. Scientists estimate that we are losing species at speeds 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than normal rates, and that 60% of the resources provided by ecosystems are either degraded or used in an unsustainable manner.
In our combined commitments, we have set a 'no net loss' target for all our new projects with significant residual impacts, until 2030. For that purpose, we have adopted a mitigation hierarchy, according to the following scheme:
This approach applies to all production and transportation activities; however, it does not overlap with the nationally applicable approach or regulations.
Sequential measures to protect biodiversity when planning and constructing new projects, i.e to mitigate their impact by minimizing it to the point of having no adverse effects, reaching at least a 'no net loss' level. By following the mitigation hierarchy, EDP:
i - Avoids: Situations are identified where impacts can be avoided, as early as in the planning and design stages, by carefully selecting the location or moment for the deployment of infrastructural elements.
ii - Minimizes: After surveying the local biodiversity situation, the Company adopts measures to minimize the duration, intensity and/or extent of the impacts that cannot be completely avoided.
iii - Restores/Rehabilitates: After the construction stage, the affected ecosystems are restored and rehabilitated, namely by re-naturalizing construction sites, temporary accesses, etc.
iv - Offsets: If the previous stages were not sufficient to nullify the project's impact on local biodiversity, the Company adopts measures to offset significant adverse residual impacts, seeking net gains for biodiversity.
A NNL goal requires the adoption of an impact mitigation hierarchy based on an adaptive and long-term management strategy that incorporates 10-year minimum monitoring and evaluation systems in order to monitor the longevity of impacts and of the recovery of affected habitats.
Baseline: A description of existing conditions which provides a starting point (e.g., pre-project biodiversity conditions) with which comparisons can be made (e.g., post-impact biodiversity conditions), thus making it possible to quantify change/alterations.
No Net Loss and Net Gain: No Net Loss (NNL) is defined as the point at which the biodiversity impacts caused by the project are offset by mitigation hierarchy measures, i.e., the point at which residual impacts are nullified. When the offsetting exceeds this point, the term used is 'net gains'.
Biodiversity Offset: These are measurable conservation outcomes resulting from initiatives designed to offset significant residual adverse impacts on biodiversity stemming from the project's implementation, after the adoption of adequate prevention, minimization and restoration or rehabilitation measures.
We promote mitigation measures to maintain the structural and functional balance of ecosystems, taking advantage of favorable conditions for some species created by the reservoir.
As compensatory measures, we recover degraded water lines and build small reservoirs for water level stabilization.
In new hydroelectric projects, habitat fragmentation is compensated by the improved quality of neighboring habitats to ensure local survival of the affected species.
Examples of other compensatory measures are the preservation of artificial spawning, water line recovery downstream and the building of fish ladders.
Reduced electricity consumption from fossil fuels, minimizing the impact of acidifying pollutants and those responsible for acid rain (NOₓ e SO₂).
We chose fuels with lower sulfur concentrations and we have implemented denitrification and desulfurization systems.
New plants have cooling towers, thus reducing the water collected for cooling.
We ensure extensive monitoring of the collisions of birds and bats with the blades of wind turbines and the cumulative effect of these.
We limit any indiscriminate access that disturbs sensitive species and habitats.
We promote measures to mitigate the environmental impact of different stages of wind projects: design, construction, operation and decommissioning of the project.
As an avoiding measure, we detour paths to bypass more sensitive ecological areas.
We put signaling line devices to minimize birds collision.
We promote the isolation of overhead lines to avoid electrocution.
We ensure sustainable practices in the management of vegetation in buffer strips, so reducing or nullifying negative impacts on surrounding habitats.
Recognition of the pressure of human activity on the biodiversity. Increased awareness of the economic costs this loss entails.
Governments make increasingly more demanding international commitments which aim to stop or significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity, with the consequent creation of new legislation.
A society more informed and aware of efforts necessary for sustainable development which must be shared by everyone.
The increasing demand for transparency, accountability and willingness to share in the resolution of a problem that affects all humankind.
The external recognition of the company’s high performance facilitates access to credit and new markets with increasingly stringent rules in environmental matters.
The anticipation of risks, the promotion of good practices and the demand for collaboration with other entities allow the reduction of operating costs and improve environmental benefits, either by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of processes, or by reducing the risk of delays in construction.