A mobilising factor

Eurocopter is firmly committed to the environment. This is clearly shown by the ISO 14001 certification of the German sites in July 2007, the same certification of the French sites in February 2008, and Eurocopter in Spain certification which is expected at the end of the year.


© Eurocopter/É. Raz
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Detoxification plants treat the majority of the liquid effluent released by the French and German sites.

Three years ago, Eurocopter introduced an environmental management system (EMS) which focuses not only on sites, but also on the product. EMS introduces plans of action that are designed to identify, assess and reduce environmental risks. Environmental management is one of the initiatives of the Vision 2020 programme defined by EADS CEO Louis Gallois, which aims to make the company eco-effective.

Concrete actions
One of the ecological priorities of the Eurocopter group is to reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) which are predominantly used in cleaners, degreasing agents, paint and thinners. Considering the complexity of the aeronautical industry’s paint validation and qualification procedures it is obvious that the introduction of paint with a reduced solvent content requires far-reaching substitution plans. But one major objective has already been reached: with one or two exceptions, the EC135 and EC145 civil programmes use waterbased paint, and the other civil programmes will soon follow their example. In France, products with the greatest impact on the environment will be replaced primarily when new surface treatments are introduced at the end of the year. Selective sorting at source is widely used for dangerous or non-dangerous waste with a view to its treatment and recycling. At certain sites, the level of recycling is over 80% and this figure will continue to rise. In terms of energy management, very significant reductions have been made by insulating old buildings, making extensive use of solar panels at the Albacete site in Spain, using low-energy light bulbs in buildings and for external lighting, and implementing centralised management of electricity for heating, lighting and air conditioning in the new buildings. Detoxification plants treat the majority of the liquid effluent released by the French and German sites, and ensure that the risk of pollutant emissions contaminating the surface water is virtually zero. In four years, the effectiveness of aqueous waste treatment has doubled. Environmental investment and operating costs relating to waste management and emission monitoring have tripled over the last few years. This clearly shows the effort that the company is making to protect the environment.

Promoting staff awareness
The extensive programme to promote awareness, which is aimed at the group’s entire workforce, includes such measures as training modules and communication campaigns. The goal is to rally the workforce behind all the initiatives and to transmit a message that is as motivating and unifying as it is convincing: protecting the environment is everybody’s business. The final initiative concerns chemicals and includes several types of action: promoting awareness to change behaviour and to control the quantities ordered, as well as the storage of products which must be restricted to the quantity necessary for the activity. Finally, the hazardous item management (HIM) project will provide even more effective traceability of the flow of chemicals, thanks to major optimisation of the information system.


© Eurocopter/J. Deulin
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The new surface treatment projects involve adapting infrastructures and equipment for greater conformity.



_AUTHOR: CHRISTIAN DA SILVA



© Eurocopter/E. raz
Even more waste is to be recycled. The level is already over 80% at some Eurocopter sites.

FIVE FIELDS OF ACTIVITY

• Reducing air emissions
• Ensuring the long-term effectiveness of surface treatments and taking action to substitute products
• Optimising waste management
• Promoting awareness and training personnel
• Managing chemicals


© La Mancha Press / Luis Vizcaino
Extensive use of solar panels is made at the Albacete site.

REACH

Introduced in June 2007, this EU regulation stipulates that all hazardous substances must be registered, evaluated and substituted before 2018. To support the introduction of these new regulations, Eurocopter set up a multidisciplinary workgroup to take an inventory of the products used and manage feedback from the Global Supply Chain. Its aim is to pave the way for the future substitution plans and research programmes.


© Fotostelle ECD
Modernisation of the heating plants at the Donauwörth and Marignane sites.