The Group recognises that its operations have both an indirect and direct impact on the environment, and therefore has implemented an Environment and Social Policy which establishes the management’s approaches which enable the Company to become a more environmentally-friendly institution. With fewer than 40 employees at Georgia Capital level, as a Company we have a relatively small direct impact in terms of the environment and other sustainability issues. While across our businesses, the most direct impact on the environment is created by our Housing Development and Hospitality and Commercial Real Estate businesses, managed by m2. Environmental consideration is an integral part of m2. It delivers environmentallyconscious products whilst being aware of immense importance of buildings with energy-efficient designs for sustainable development; new buildings present an opportunity to achieve energy savings over the long term. m2 reduces waste and pollution by using energy-efficient building materials which lead to a significant reduction in energy use. Aiming at increasing the efficient use of energy, water and materials, m2 installs energy-efficient lighting systems and uses low emission window glasses and other modern insulation materials to cover the façade of the buildings, thus, reducing the U-value of constructed buildings to 0.21W/m2K. The Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission and Green for Growth Fund (GGF) Director, visited m2 large-scale energy-efficient project and during the visit examined the measures that m2 is able to implement in the buildings: improved building insulation, modern boilers and appliances, and better insulated windows and doors. For the 801 apartments constructed as part of this initiative, the total expected annual savings of CO2 are equal to planting 210,000 trees each year. This project was financed by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Green for Growth Fund (GGF) and supported by the EU. GGF also provided technical assistance to conduct energy audits and identify the most efficient manner to meet high energy standards.
As for the direct environmental impact, we believe that the impact of the insurance businesses is not significant. Nevertheless, we undertake a number of measures to reduce electricity, paper, water and fuel consumption. Moreover, Aldagi encourages its clients to fulfil their environmental and social responsibilities by offering products like “Green Auto”. This campaign offers to insure hybrid cars at low insurance rates.
Water utility and renewable energy businesses, managed by GGU, are in full compliance with the current Georgian Environmental legislation, as well as environmental monitoring and control procedures. GGU’s environmental activities strongly and directly support the Georgian Government with the implementation of a national obligation under the EU Association Agreement. Furthermore, GGU’s environmental activities directly address UN Sustainable Development Goals under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. The UN
Sustainable Development Goals address the global challenges the Company faces, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice. It is important that each goal and target is achieved by 2030. GGU is also strongly committed to introducing sustainable water management practices and carrying out water utility business operations which consider the principles of green economy, which targets increasing the country’s welfare with minimum environmental impact and maximum resource efficiency. Since sustainable water management encompasses maximisation of resource efficiency, GGU urban water management includes the consumption and reuse of water resources, as well as reduction in energy and material resource consumption and lower emission levels related to Water Utility operations. In order to improve efficiency, GGU invests in the upgrading of ageing infrastructure, introduces innovative technologies and implements continuous training of staff, as well as awareness-raising campaigns. GGU’s specific investments for resource efficiency maximisation include the following:
- improvement of worn-out water distribution infrastructure;
- installation of pressure regulators, with corresponding data loggers, and development of their live monitoring systems at 100 different locations throughout the city;
- hydro-modelling, which helps in minimising the energy required for extracting and distributing water;
- development of major water-loss identification mechanisms and carrying out respective repair works;
- installing the new smart meters to the customer base; and
- carrying out social campaigns for educating the younger generation about responsible water consumption.
Furthermore, GGU has specific targets for decreasing its own electricity consumption for its water utility business as part of the overall KPIs set for management team. By making the investments listed above, the Company has successfully managed to decrease the consumption throughout last several years and from consumption level of 291 million kWh in 2017. GGU reached 237 million kWh in 2018. GGU further intends to get to 220 million kWh target over the next three years.
Our water utility business is currently implementing an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) in accordance with the roadmap schedule presented in the Environmental and Social Policy Framework, adopted by the Company in 2016, which is also in compliance with the Georgian legislation and the IFC performance standards (Environmental, Health and Safety guidelines for Water and
Sanitation). The Environmental and Social Policy Statement declares that the Company is committed to conduct business and provide services in a thoughtful, responsible way, with a view to preventing pollution and safeguarding the natural and social environment. It highlights, that the Company is dedicated to the continuous improvement of operational performance in order to reduce any adverse environmental and social impact. The Environmental and Social Policy Framework consists of a combination of Environmental and Social Policy Statement, legal and regulatory review, overview of GGU’s activities and environmental impacts, description of management system including various management plans, procedures and practices, description of the monitoring programme and the stakeholders’ engagement process.
In the framework of the ESMS, environmental and social audit of the Company has been performed. The environmental and social audit report covers the environmental topics, which are mainly associated with water treatment, water distribution, sanitation (sewerage system) and wastewater treatment and discharge, as well as occupational health and safety topics related to accidents and injuries, chemical exposure and noise. To manage the risks associated with GGU’s business, the Company has elaborated ESMS procedures and topical management plans, which are being implemented according to the Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) in the set timeframe. Additionally, ESMS will
facilitate the process of obtaining the ISO14000 standard for environmental management and the ISO26000 standard for social responsibility.
The Group’s various implemented projects have a direct positive impact on national and regional environments. In particular, after the rehabilitation of Gardabani WWTP, treated wastewater quality discharged into the Mtkvari River meets all applicable norms and regulations. As a result of the improved wastewater treatment process, water quality in the transboundary Mtkvari River will significantly improve, which will also support the Government of Georgia to implement international environmental agreements.
Projects implemented by our renewable energy business are also in compliance with local and international environmental standards and legislation. In 2018, the environmental and social management system (ESMS) was introduced, which is applicable to all types of renewable projects. In general, for the projects which are at the development stage, the Company elaborates Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) documentation, which also includes a scoping report and, if need be, a Resettlement Policy Framework (RFP) and a respective Resettlement Action Plans (RAP).
Additionally, for wind projects at the development stage, bird and bat monitoring is performed (bat monitoring is done according to EuroBAT Guide). As for the projects at the construction stage, the following management plans are developed: campsite, dumpsite, traffic and waste management plans, stakeholder engagement plan, and environmental and social management plan. The main direction of the energy policy of Georgia is the rational use of energy resources. In terms of hydropower development, preference is given to the construction of small and medium-sized hydropower plants, as they are characterised by comparatively low risk of negative environmental impact. Based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Government of Georgia, the project on the construction and operation of HPPs cascade (Mestiachala 1 HPP and Mestiachala 2 HPP) on Mestiachala River,
in Mestia Municipality is being implemented with a total capacity of 50MW. In addition, small plants, Saguramo HPP and Bodorna HPP were also constructed with total capacity of 6.9MW. GGU also invests in wind and solar projects. Large-scale researches, including Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, are being conducted to meet technical and environmental targets. The projects will foster low carbon generation and contribute to Georgia’s energy demand.
The Company’s Environmental and Social Policy Framework and the ESMS is based on the following principles: no pollution of water, soil and air (including dust and noise). In order to identify the arrangements necessary to prevent pollution of water, air and soil, the Pollution Prevention and Control Plan (PPCP) was developed and adopted by the GGU group of companies and their contractors in compliance with the IFC PS3 and the WB General EHS Guidelines. The PPCP consists of the following components: Wastewater and Storm-water Management; Spill Prevention and Control; Hazardous Materials Storage and Handling; Air Emissions Management; and Dust Control and Noise Management.
Since the Group’s business is very much dependent on such climate elements as precipitation, wind speed and air temperature, the Group’s development will be definitely affected by the climate change. Current climate changes in Georgia are assessed based on the observation data of hydro-meteorological network. The prognostic scenarios for the periods of 2021-2050 and 2071-2100 were
compiled using Regional Climate Model RegCM4. The Group is strongly committed to actively contributing to limiting climate change through its Environmental Policy, procedures and implementation of Environmental Management Plans. Water, Energy and Resources Management Plans were developed and adopted at corporate and site-specific levels. The objective of the plan is to ensure efficient use of water, energy and resources during construction and operation of the proposed development, thereby reducing resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
GHG’s medical waste management recordkeeping standards remain at least in line with national legislative requirements and were amended in 2018 to be in line with the new national regulations that came into force during the year. GHG personnel are responsible for registering the information on produced hazardous waste on the state platform and filling out waste registration and transportation forms. To further reduce risks and maintain regulatory compliance, GHG regularly conduct internal trainings on waste management procedures and issue special certificates to the attendees who successfully pass the test. At each of the Company’s hospitals, there is a special storage room set up to store waste before final disposal.
To prevent human or environmental harm, the Company’s clinics collect and dispose of medical and biological waste through a specialised outsourced service. For waste collection, GHG use plastic bags or containers that have sufficient strength and are secured with staples. Then steam sterilisation is used
to decontaminate biological and bio hazardous waste, including blood. All used sharp objects are placed in labelled, hermetically sealed single-use containers made of hard plastic. Waste is collected from GHG’s sites daily or twice a day when required. The maximum on-site storage time is 24 hours. To ensure reliability of their contractors, GHG regularly examine their monthly reports and impose penalties if necessary. In total, GHG hospitals generated 600 tonnes of medical waste in 2018. The Company will continue to look at innovative ways of reducing medical and biological waste, taking advantage of best practice both in Georgia and internationally.
The beer production process releases additional carbon dioxin (CO2) and wastewater that directly contribute to environment pollution and climate change. The emission implications on communities, agriculture and the availability of raw materials are complex and challenging. The beer business responsibly reduces these implications:
- by constructing a CO2 recovery plant, which captures the carbon dioxide released during the carbonated drinks production process;
- by constructing a wastewater treatment plant, that cleans wastewater chemically, biologically and physically to obtain ecologically safe wastewater; and
- by having developed a Green Fridge Policy to reduce the carbon footprint of cooling bottled and canned products through purchasing fridges – branded with its own and licensed trademarks. In order to achieve the following objective the business cooperates with suppliers of cooling equipment, that are able to deliver fridges complying with the highest standards. The beer business continuously improves its procedures to further reduce the energy consumption and environmental impact of the fridges.
The Group has in place a Code of Ethics, as well as policies which relate to environmental matters, employees, social matters, our respect for human rights and anti-corruption and bribery.
Copies of these polices can be found here.