Note 20: Soil and groundwater remediation

Soil and groundwater remediation

There are costs associated with the assessment and remediation of historical soil and groundwater contamination. We periodically review historic contamination at our sites, taking remedial action when required, and have procedures to prevent new contamination.

A dedicated group of legal and environmental experts assesses, manages and resolves environmental liabilities. In 2015, the Corporate Directives were extended to include a new directive designed to ensure the appropriate and effective management of closed sites to maintain value, avoid future liabilities and control risks to people and the environment.

In line with IFRS accounting rules, we make provisions for environmental remediation costs when it is probable that liability will materialize and the cost can be reasonably estimated. We have set aside €305 million, which we believe is sufficient for the sites where we have ownership or responsibility (See Note 19 of the Consolidated financial statements).

Mandatory annual environmental liability reviews are conducted to review risks, monitor progress in resolving our liabilities and assessing changes in company exposure.