Our Corporate Social Responsibility Commitments
The conservation and restoration of biodiversity is a major challenge considering the multiple human pressures on ecosystems. But ecosystem services provided by biodiversity are crucial.
Boralex’s activities operate over long cycles and have a direct impact on natural environments. From the design phase of its projects, the Corporation is extremely vigilant in applying regulatory procedures and the “Avoid, Reduce, Compensate” sequence.
Boralex is committed to reducing its footprint on ecosystems to limit the risk of damage to biodiversity by acting on the most striking factors, such as the destruction and fragmentation of natural environments and pollution, and by creating conditions conducive to the preservation of species and their habitat.
Also, at each phase of construction work and operation, ecological monitoring is systematically carried out by an independent research firm, which ensures that companies are aware of and implement the avoidance and minimization measures from the environmental actions plans (engine and material control). Clean-up kits are routinely made available on site in case of accidental pollution. Monitoring also reports on the damage to hedgerows and trees, with the objective of locally replanting the equivalent of what has been damaged or destroyed.
According to the UN, more than 60% of the global greenhouse gases (GHGs) currently emitted come from the energy sector. Fast decarbonizing of the sector is therefore necessary to fight climate change and comply with the Paris Agreement. Boralex’s operations aim to produce electricity from renewable sources and through processes that emit little or no GHG emissions.
Therefore, by its very nature, Boralex contributes to the reduction of global GHG emissions worldwide by producing and making available to consumers energy that generally emits less GHG than national energy mixes that are still largely based on fossil fuels.
2021 Commitment: By committing to the issue of GHG emissions, Boralex is following the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and identifying the opportunities and risks associated with this issue. Boralex’s mission is to produce renewable energy, which represents an opportunity in the fight against climate change.
The Corporation plans to identify its sources of emissions and the concrete actions it can take to reduce its carbon impact as of 2021. In addition to increasing the ratio of electric, hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles in its fleet, Boralex offers several employee benefits programs to encourage eco-friendly transportation (mileage allowance for bike use, reimbursement of public transit passes, etc.).
Adapting to Climate Change
As a producer of renewable energy, Boralex depends on nature and its elements. While wind, water, wood resources and sun exposure are predictable in the short term, some climate change effects are less predictable in the long term. These could have adverse, or at least uncertain, consequences on the Corporation’s financial performance or the condition of its facilities.
Therefore, the first step for Boralex is to pursue its strategy of geographical and technological diversification of its energy production sources in order to reduce the overall vulnerability of Boralex’s assets to climatic hazards.
Responsible Resource Use
As a leader in renewable energy production, Boralex pays special attention to resource management. The Corporation is increasing its efforts to find the best solutions to reduce waste production and optimize the use of resources (raw materials, water, energy) throughout the life cycle of a project, including for its internal operations.
For Boralex, adopting a sustainable vision means integrating circular economy principles into all phases of a project’s life cycle, including dismantling, upgrading and repowering.
Boralex also plans to pursue its efforts to use resources responsibly across all its sites and offices. The Corporation’s goal is to reduce waste production and increase the traceability and recovery of its consumable waste.
In Canada, Boralex began a repair process for defective turbine parts. 68 parts were given a second life, thus strongly reducing waste production and generating savings of approximately $50,000 CAD, all based on a circular economy approach. This project will be expanded in 2021 and will allow Boralex to develop in-house expertise while reducing its dependence on external services.
30 Years, 30 Actions in Sustainable Development Contest
To celebrate 30 years of contribution to the energy transition, Boralex organized, with the help of the Internal Sustainable Development Committee, a contest among employees to find 30 sustainable development initiatives that the Corporation will commit to in 2021.
More than 200 suggestions were submitted by the employees, proving the contest was a real springboard for developing and sharing good sustainable development practices internally. Selected proposals include consuming paper and ink more responsibly, purchasing environmentally friendly cleaning products and creating a network for exchanging and lending material among employees. These suggestions will drive the CSR action plans for the coming years.
Health and Safety – Priority Issue in 2021
During the construction phase, Health and Safety teams oversee risk prevention on construction sites. Since Boralex hires subcontractors for certain construction operations (e.g., civil engineering, electrical engineering, wind turbine assembly), the Health and Safety teams ensure that they comply to Boralex’s safety standards.
In North America, for instance, a special effort is being made in remote sites and power plants. This reality requires adapted training, in particular to raise awareness of avalanche risks and to promote respect for and cohabitation with local wildlife and fauna.
2021 Commitment: Year after year, Boralex strives to be an industry leader in occupational health and safety. Boralex is committed to providing a healthy and safe workplace and strengthening the Corporation’s Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) culture, particularly by providing all employees with OH&S training that is adapted to their location and working conditions.
Diversity and Equal Opportunities – Priority Issue in 2021
Boralex recognizes how important diversity and inclusion are in creating a fulfilling workplace. Boralex honours the differences that make each person unique by promoting and valuing the diversity of its employees, partners and communities. Rhese include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, religion, age and ability.
A diversity in experience, perspectives and expression is also highly valued. Going beyond employment equity standards and laws, Boralex demands that all its employees be treated fairly, ethically, and with respect and dignity. Boralex encourages its employees to be authentic and true to their nature at work, so that they can be truly appreciated for who they are and allowed to flourish and contribute to Boralex’s mission.
Inspired by the bonds of respect and trust that unite us with our business partners from Indigenous communities, Boralex committed in October 2020 to contribute to the enhancement of First Nations culture among our employees. We believe that the richness and diversity of their culture needs to be better understood. That is why, as early as 2021, we are committed to incorporating awareness of racism against Indigenous peoples into our training programs, our welcome guides for new employees and our code of ethics
Local Community Consultation and Engagement
To foster social acceptance, to build lasting relationships and to share economic value created, Boralex focuses on consulting as many stakeholders as possible, including communities, associations, Aboriginal communities, and local and regional authorities. Driven by the development teams for projects and operations teams for operating sites, Boralex seeks to ensure that it can grow from being a guest to a member of the community.
Creating and sustaining a neighbourhood relationship in a territory implies understanding how the Boralex’s activities affect communities and populations during the development phase in order to establish a fully integrated project which goes beyond landscape, environmental and technical aspects. This also requires implementing a mechanism to effectively manage and process complaints that may emerge during the operational phase.
Boralex has put community consultation at the heart of its expansion in the United States. Three open house events were held in Green Corners, two of which were virtual: a first for Boralex. Other consultations have been carried out in New York State (Monroe, Fort Edward), including the release of explanatory materials and forms on solar development projects.
Donations and Sponsorship Program
Through renewable energies, the global energy model can be revised, and Boralex is proud to be a part of the transition toward a decarbonized world. However, this transition must be achieved by leaving no one behind, and businesses must contribute with a positive impact and participation in social progress.
Boralex engages in many donations and sponsorships. It helps fund a multitude of educational programs, such as the Carbone Scol’ERE scholarship, which enables elementary school students to adopt ecoresponsible behaviours, or the J’adopte un cours d’eau program, which introduces students and citizens to the water utility. In total, the Corporation paid more than $1,090,173 CAD in partnerships.
In April 2020, Boralex pledged to make a corporate donation and launched an internal solidarity donation campaign by committing to match the donations of each employee to the organizations of their choice. A total of $185,000 CAD was given to support nearly 50 organizations that help people in vulnerable situations due to COVID-19 in Canada, France and the United States.
Boralex’s approach to responsible procurement is constantly evolving. The Corporation and its suppliers have a shared responsibility toward the environment and those involved in their value chain. This is a long-term commitment, as having a truly responsible procurement approach requires significant effort. Boralex is committed to this and it will continue to promote the integration of ethical, social and environmental considerations in its goods and services purchasing practices.
Boralex subscribes to the Equator Principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has adopted a Sustainable Procurement Charter. This charter sets out Boralex’s commitments and those expected from suppliers towards responsible purchasing leading to a sustainable relationship between the parties.
For Boralex, the first step will be to formalize a shared responsible procurement process for North America and Europe, applicable throughout the value chain. The Corporation will then be able to support its suppliers and subcontractors regarding sustainable development issues, particularly by carrying out supplier audits. This approach will ensure all suppliers are treated fairly.
Iron Boralex Challenge
The Iron Boralex Challenge’s mission is to help charitable organizations.
The associations were chosen accordingly to suggestions made by employees and had to help people living a difficult situation (disability, illness, grief, etc.) as well as have one or more employees personally involved and/or volunteer on a regular basis. With this challenge, Boralex helped eight associations (four in France, three in Canada and one in the United States) by giving a total amount of €4,200 in France and $5,000 CAD in North America.
Ethics in Business and Behavior
Boralex prides itself on being a trusted renewable energy producer whose conduct is beyond reproach.
As such, it has put in place prevention mechanisms and control procedures to avoid unethical business practices and thus ensure compliance with applicable national and international laws, regulations and standards. This includes the fight against corruption and illegal agreements, as well as adherence to a Code of Ethics regulatory compliance.
Over the past several years, Boralex has put in place a formal procedure that encourages employees to report potential violations of the Code of Ethics. An independent telephone line and website are made available to employees to ensure the anonymity of those reporting a situation.
Responsible Corporate Governance
As a sustainable business, it is crucial that Boralex ensures its profits are shared responsibly. The Corporate Social Responsilibity approach is integrated at the corporate management level and Board of Birectors level through the Nomination and Corporate Novernance Committee.
Boralex reviewed its Short-Term Incentive Plan this year to ensure each employee’s performance and contribution had a direct impact on their compensation, as well as offer a fair and competitive increase aligned with the company’s strategic plan.
Boralex is also committed to maintaining a certain level of independence for its board of directors, particularly in terms of corporate governance criteria (independent members).
Boralex launched its Security and Information Protection Policy in April 2020. It aims to determine the best practices to protect Boralex’s information and operational assets to prevent incidents such as fraud, cyber attacks, information leaks and privacy breaches.