Cement company's concrete commitment to the environment

Posted: 23 November 2001

Lafarge, a leading industrial group and world leader in cement production, has announced its commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions as part of its effort to combat global warming. As a partner in the World Wide Fund for Natures's (WWF) 'Conservation Partner' programme, it has pledged a 10 per cent reduction below 1990 levels by 2010 in CO2 emissions per tonne of cement produced worldwide.

In collaboration with WWF, Lafarge aims to reduce its emissions by improving energy efficiency, using waste fuels and incorporating cementitious additions, such as steel slags and fly ash from coal-fired power stations. Currently, Lafarge produces more CO2 emissions than Switzerland. A future project of the partnership will be to explore ways of increasing the use of renewable energy in Lafarge's global operations.

Dr Claude Martin, Director General of WWF International, said, "We certainly hope that Lafarge will become a catalyst in the cement sector. When one of the largest CO2 emitters commits to significantly reduce its emissions, this shows that climate action is smart action."

Quarry improvements

Lafarge has also made other gains in its environmental policy. For more than 30 years, Lafarge has been restoring its quarries and recovering secondary materials to limit its consumption of natural resources. The Group is now integrating quarry sites into natural landscapes through the creation of habitats and wetlands to encourage the breeding of specific flora and fauna, landscaping of workfaces, recultivation of soil in heavily farmed areas, reforestation of woodland or ornamental species and the development of recreational areas. To help in this end, WWF has joined the Strategic Quarry Rehabilitation Project (SQRP) task force set up by Lafarge in 1999. Lafarge has also set a performance target to rehabilitate 80 per cent of its quarries by 2004. Lafarge operates more than 800 quarries in 75 countries.

In addition, Lafarge has also pledged commitment to:

  • reinforce its environmental policy by implementing performance indicators (environmental audits, reductions of fossil fuel consumption, waste recycling and emissions controls),

  • to contribute to the restoration of forest ecosystems through the WWF 'Forests Reborn' programme,

  • to heighten awareness of the benefits of environmental preservation through local partnerships with national offices of WWF's global network).
Environmental policy is now an integral part of Group strategy and Lafarge's environment-related investments amount to nearly 45 million Euros each year. Nearly 20 per cent of capital spent on any new plant is earmarked for the environment.

The collaboration between Lafarge and WWF was born out of WWF's 'Conservation Partnership' programme launched in 1998. This aims to form strategic alliances with leading businesses worldwide to develop environmentally-friendly policies to preserve biodiversity and protect the environment.

Related links:

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Lafarge