Responsible technology to safeguard the environment
The inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla predicted that anybody, on land or sea, would be able to receive news from anywhere in the world or private messages intended only for them with a simple, cheap device that would fit in the pocket. And he predicted this at the beginning of the 20th century. Yes, many people thought he was mad, but he was a true visionary.
And not just that. Without Tesla we would not have today's electrical systems. Because alternating current, the electrical system the inventor developed, represented a real revolution and we still use it today in our homes, over 150 years later. However, Tesla never became as famous as Thomas Alva Edison, who has always been proclaimed the father of electricity.
But of course, Edison was also a key figure in the development of the electrical system, so both of them were essential in the technological advances they achieved.
Because without them it would be impossible to have the technological infrastructure we have today; in fact, they were both essential in developing systems that have helped our society to progress. Systems that, by developing new forms of energy like solar power or tools that monitor our use of energy in the home, also enable us to safeguard the environment, caring for our surroundings, our planet and our home. Technology is increasingly necessary to help protect the natural environment.
Technology and caring for the environment are therefore key factors in carrying out technological projects involving major infrastructures, indispensable tasks if society is to progress rather than slipping back.
So it is fair to say that today technology and caring for the environment go hand in hand, like Tesla and Edison.
"Care for the environment and society must be part of every phase in the project cycle, from design to decommissioning, including construction and operation," declares Alejandra Tajuelo, head of environmental and social impact at Dominion 360º.
To manage environmental and social aspects efficiently throughout the cycle of all projects, there are several factors that must be taken into account.
On the one hand, it is essential to fulfil the requirements of local regulations in the country where the activity is to take place.
On the other, there are various international standards and requirements such as the Performance Standard of the International Finance Corporation (World Bank). These standards are often used in countries where environmental and social regulations are not fully developed or where they are a requirement for external funding of a project.
Above and beyond each country's regulations, Dominion demonstrates its environmental commitment in all the initiatives it carries out, always integrating the community and its needs into every one of its projects.
All the possible impacts and potential future risks are analysed in detail by a professional team of experts in each of the relevant fields.
"The result of the multiple specific analyses and backoffice and field work accurately describes the potential future effects identified and their level of impact, and these are included in the Environmental and Social Impact Study (ESIS) which is approved for each project," explains Tajuelo.
As a result of the impacts identified in the above study, for the project to be carried out various measures may be necessary, such as for example mechanisms for protecting bird life, measures to reduce dust emissions during construction, consideration of nearby indigenous populations if these exist, as well as resettlement or compensation processes for the population affected.
"All these mitigation and minimisation measures identified in the ESIS are recorded and implemented in the relevant environmental and social management plans and additional procedures," states the division's head of Environmental and Social Impact.
On the basis of the exhaustive analysis carried out by Dominion before executing all its projects, the company designs whatever management plans might be applicable depending on the nature of the project, dealing with biodiversity, resettlement, historic finds, occupational health and safety or local permits and licenses, among other matters.
Thus, on the basis of the environmental and social action plans approved and once the project developer has defined the details of the work to be done, the necessary resources are assigned to deal with the environmental and social aspects. In this respect, it should be pointed out that computerised management allows checking and monitoring of compliance with the applicable standards, so reducing potential risks.
Commitment to the community
The company is currently carrying out different projects at international level, including the implementation of a high-voltage power line in Africa. In each of them all the possible risks of the project are identified, in order to take measures to avoid or minimise potential problems.
"Our goal is to assure compliance with any requirement or commitment included in the environmental licence, in local regulations or in the environmental and social management plans or related procedures," stresses Tajuelo.
In line with its Corporate Social Responsibility policy, Dominion puts all its efforts into correct, efficient management of all the resources, whether natural, economic or social, possessed by the community where the project is to be carried out.
Dominion is aware of the importance of the environmental and social aspects around a technology project, so it opts to combine technology and sustainable development. Today these are indispensable elements that must go hand in hand.