DUBAI: Spain's Acciona, a leader in sustainable solutions for infrastructure and renewable energy, has been rejecting projects that are not carbon neutral as part of its commitment to environmental protection.
According to a top executive, the company has been turning down projects directly involved in oil and gas extraction or production since they will add to the carbon dioxide emissions on its balance sheet.
Founded in 1931, the company has been carbon neutral since 2016, said Acciona's Middle East Director-General Jesus Sancho while speaking to Arab News.
"That's something easy to say, but it is very difficult to achieve for a company which is present across 60 countries in the world," he said.
That’s something easy to say, but it is very difficult to achieve for a company which is present across 60 countries in the world.
Sancho explained that one part of the company invests solely in renewable energy to achieve carbon neutrality. Acciona owns and operates its assets, including more than 12 gigawatts of renewable energy, contributing to negative carbon emissions.
As for renewable energies, the company has solar thermal, photovoltaic, concentrating solar-thermal power and wind farms, all of which are carbon-negative and offset the carbon dioxide generated by the other areas of the company, he added.
The challenge for Acciona, which has invested approximately SR1.8 billion ($500 million) in projects, is minimizing each project's carbon footprint to achieve carbon neutrality.
"We are focusing on projects aligned with our philosophy," he said, adding that his company's sustainability master plans were well aligned with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030's goals.
The company's sustainability commitment has already invited the attention of the futuristic smart city, NEOM.
Acciona, according to Sancho, is bidding for NEOM in the heavy civil area with hopes of contributing to the Kingdom's projects.
The company is currently working on water treatment plant projects in the Kingdom. It has also set up desalination plants in Alkhobar 1, Alkhobar 2 and Shuqaiq 4.
Acciona also built the Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant to full capacity, producing 450 million liters of potable water daily. In addition, the plant is equipped with energy-efficient seawater reverse osmosis technology.