Ferrovial has obtained an Environmental Management Certificate from the Spanish Standards Association, AENOR, according to ISO standard 14001. With it, it becomes the first Spanish, European and International construction company to implement a standardized environmental management system and to obtain its certification from an official body. The Environmental Management System (SIGMA), applied in each and all of the works undertaken by Ferrovial during 1997, is also a new competitive advantage for the Group and again reinforces Ferrovial as the leading company in the construction industry. The implementation of an Environmental Management System (SIGMA) in Ferrovial has required adjusting the requirements of ISO standard 14001 to the structure and organization of the company, to its working culture and to the characteristics of the construction activity, such as among others the geographical dispersion of the works, as well as of employees and resources, and varying equipment depending on the work; adjustment to the specific characteristics of each project and the large number of subcontractors and suppliers. Pioneer experience To this we must add another difficulty: the lack of previous or similar experiences, not only in Spain but also in other countries, which could serve as benchmark for its development and implementation. Accordingly, Ferrovial is a pioneer in the application of a unique management system complying with the requirements of standards UNE_EN_ISO 9001 and 14001, with SIGMA as an integral part of the Quality Management System implemented by Ferrovial according to ISO standard 9001, integrating both systems in a single one. SIGMA is a system which helps to identify the environmental impact of the companys activities and the pertinent legal requirements. Specifically, a customized development and implementation of SIGMA helps to avoid excess costs due to environmental malpractice; it helps to prevent delays in delivery terms; to avoid legal responsibilities, distinguishing for each work the requirements of current regulations; to coordinate all activities with environmental implications and to project the environmental quality of the companys activities. The results obtained by Ferrovial in this respect already suggest a greater effectiveness in global management of the company and optimization of human and other resources. The implementation of good environmental practices has also contributed to the improvement of employees implication in meeting quality requirements. Competitive advantage The ability of anticipation in the face of ever more demanding regulations, the increasing concern of clients which start to demand a greater control of those activities which may affect the environment and societys demands to companies regarding their commitment with environment preservation, make of SIGMA an indispensable requirement to stay in the construction sector, an ever more competitive market. The achievement of the Environmental Management Certificate, therefore, gives a new competitive advantage to Ferrovial with which to face the sectors challenges.