CARBON presents its commitments following the preliminary consultation for the gigafactory project in Fos-sur-Mer
From September 11th to October 30th, 2023, CARBON and RTE conducted a preliminary consultation on the project to establish a gigafactory for solar cell and panel production in Fossur-Mer, under the auspices of the National Commission for Public Debate (CNDP).
Over seven weeks of discussions, 9 sessions were held, engaging approximately 770 participants, including local residents, elected officials, associations, and other stakeholders. At the end of the process, the guarantors of the CNDP presented an assessment of the consultation. Today, CARBON is publishing its response. In its report, the company reflects on the consultation process, the lessons learned, and details its commitments.
Employment, Recruitment, and Training
The gigafactory project will create approximately 3000 jobs by 2027. Recognizing the significance of such a workforce increase, CARBON has developed a strategy for recruitment, training, and work organization. From 2024 onwards, a Director of Human Resources will join CARBON’s teams to oversee its implementation.
To support local employment, CARBON aims to hire at least 50% of its workforce from the local employment pool and/or the Bouches-du-Rhône department. In its hiring practices, CARBON commits to prioritizing individuals who are underrepresented in the industry (such as women, youth, people with disabilities, those in need of job insertion or career transition).
To address the need for structuring the training sector, CARBON will establish a Solar Academy. This entity will also be responsible for supporting factory employees in their professional development.
In terms of workplace well-being and comfort, CARBON aims to minimize and address the hardship associated with certain positions. Shift schedules will be staggered to avoid congestion on roads, particularly during peak hours. Additionally, working hours will be optimized to accommodate either 4.5 or 4-day workweeks where feasible.
Environment, Mobility, and Water Management
Recognizing the importance of respecting the natural environment, CARBON aims to prioritize environmental considerations in the project. The project’s land footprint will be reduced from 62 to 45 hectares through the construction of a multi-story factory. CARBON pledges to preserve biodiversity on the site as much as possible and limit soil artificialization to 30 hectares. The establishment of a CARBON Foundation for nature protection and biodiversity will also be explored.
In terms of mobility, alternatives to individual car usage will be promoted within the company. CARBON also commits to collaborating with local authorities to encourage the development of new infrastructure, improve public transportation options, and participate in discussions on the establishment of new cycling paths in the area.
Lastly, given the essential role of water in the production process of solar cells and modules, CARBON commits to continuously improving the industrial process to maximize water savings (by reducing losses and maximizing water reuse) and continuously monitoring discharged water quality.
Industrial Safety and Risk Management
Some participants expressed concerns about the safety implications of the future gigafactory being classified as a high-threshold Seveso site. Recognizing potential cumulative effects related to the presence of other industries in the area, CARBON has made various commitments. CARBON will collaborate with SPPPI PACA and PIICTO on industrial safety issues. Beyond legal requirements, CARBON plans to offer exercises and training and improve raw material stock management to further reduce risks.
To control atmospheric emissions from the gigafactory, CARBON will ensure continuous data capture for ongoing emissions monitoring. In the spirit of transparency, information collected by ATMO Sud regarding air quality monitoring in the area will be made public. As a reminder, the gigafactory aims to achieve zero carbon emissions through a 100% electric process.
Regarding energy supply and security, CARBON will optimize solar self-production on-site and continue identifying additional potential sites for solar installations to meet the gigafactory’s electricity needs.
The Consultation Continues!
For CARBON’s teams, this preliminary consultation has highlighted the importance of maintaining dialogue with the public and providing clear and transparent information at each stage of the project. Therefore, CARBON commits to ongoing consultation prior to the public inquiry.
This process will include three additional public meetings between March and May 2024. Concurrently, CARBON aims to establish a collegiate monitoring committee to ensure dialogue and transparency at each project stage. Additionally, during the construction phase, CARBON plans to create a newsletter and implement a “code of conduct.” Finally, the consultation website will be maintained to continue providing information and engaging the public.
The full report can be downloaded here.