12. Resource Management

The company discloses what qualitative and quantitative goals it has set itself with regard to its resource efficiency, in particular its use of renewables, the increase in raw material productivity and the reduction in the usage of ecosystem services, which measures and strategies it is pursuing to this end, how these are or will be achieved, and where it sees there to be risks.

Environmental protection in the HOCHTIEF Group

Environmental protection is integrated into processes in all projects. For this purpose, management systems are in place in accordance with the ISO 14001 international standard. In 2018, the proportion of Group units certified on the basis of environmental management systems was 75.3% (by number of employees, 2017: 77.3 %).


Water management


Water conservation and the responsible use of this resource are highly important to us, because large quantities of water are often required in construction projects or interventions in the groundwater balance are necessary. To work efficiently and at the same time environmental compatible and responsible, each project team develops tailor-made water conservation concepts. The use of groundwater and drinking water in the course of the project, the discharge of process water and waste water, infiltration, water pollution and treatment are essential aspects. Most projects, certified projects in particular, include responsible water management. A case in point is the WestConnex M4 East project in Sydney, where the consortium led by CPB Contractors captures rainwater specifically in order to spray construction access roads. By this way, the team used 350,000 liters of rainwater between June and September 2018. Also, at Turner, projects are planned to minimize soil erosion and sediment loss as well as surface water and groundwater pollution.

As CIMIC operates in water-scarce regions where effective water management is of immense importance on projects due to severe scarcity, CIMIC actively investigates opportunities for conserving and recycling water in every project. The company's aims are to minimize the use of mains water as well as increase water recycling and recovery. Reused water accounted for approximately 53 percent of total water consumption at CIMIC in 2018, presenting a significant improvement on the prior year (2017: 35 percent). CIMIC regularly participates in the CDP Water Ranking and achieved a B- score in 2018 (2017: B score).


Waste Management

Since construction processes generally generate large quantities of waste, we at HOCHTIEF are very careful to handle materials responsibly, especially the mineral content of construction waste. As a matter of principle, we seek to eliminate avoidable waste and reduce or recycle unavoidable waste with a view to the increasing scarcity of resources. Our aim is a constantly high recycling rate (including recovery) of at least 85 percent each year.


The total volume of waste increased in 2018 compared with the prior year, mainly driven by ongoing tunneling projects at CIMIC producing large quantities of excavated material. In 2018, the Group-wide recycling rate was 87.1 percent (2017: 90.6 percent). Fluctuations in waste volumes are normal due to the pronounced variation in our contracting business, with major infrastructure projects generating large quantities of waste. Usage of all materials is monitored and planned in detail. Our project-specific teams work from an early stage to develop waste disposal plans that optimize economic and environmental performance in material flows. We also aim to minimize material and waste transportation by reusing materials in the same projects when possible.

Critical substances contained within built-in materials are a special challenge in demolition, convesion, and revitalization projects. These need to be identified and removed in a safe and environmentally compatible manner before constructions starts. We provide ongoing training to ensure the necessary level of employee information and awareness. We keep a close watch on refurbishment contracts where installed materials were permitted at the time of construction but nowadays count as a health hazard. We aim to maximize recycling quality in the long term by segregating contstruction waste into high-purity fractions.


Hazardous materials

Where projects involve hazardous materials or products containing hazardous substances, responsible and correct handling of such materials is a major priority for HOCHTIEF as these can endanger people and the environment. Since legal and internal regulations vary from country to country, the requirements of the hazardous substances registers are stored in the HOCHTIEF Europe division via an online program. There, employees can also view workplace-specific operating instructions, precise information on individual hazardous substances and safety data sheets.


Biodiversity conservation

In the context of our activities that can affect the natural environment and biodiversity, we strive to minimize and reduce the negative effects. When this is not possible on a specific project, we develop disturbance avoidance strategies so that project work can continue effectively and safely. To compile environmental assessments before commencing construction and including species conservations in detailed environment plans, we work in consultation with authorities. Measures include biodiversity management strategies, assessments, regular monitoring, and specialist analysis. For example, on the A6 freeway project, an area of approximately 3.6 hectares by the River Neckar that frequently floods, is being set down to a lower level.

As mining activities have considerable environmental impacts, CIMIC uses environmental-friendly mining practices and rehabilitates sites when mining is complete. In 2018, CIMIC companies rehabilitated a total of around 614 hectares of land following mining activities.


Opportunity and risk situation in the HOCHTIEF Group: Natural environment

Along with the risk assessment for extreme weather conditions, the prevention of environmental incidents is also a top priority: Even minor environmental incidents can have a lasting negative impact on the environment, people, and wildlife. Additionally, they can adversely impact project profitability and the company’s reputation. As part of our environmental and risk management, we identify potential hazards and factor them into project planning. Recording and analysis of environmental incidents provides important information about risks and enables us to prevent potential environmental damage by adopting targeted countermeasures.