Sustained efforts

Published 24 October 2011


With global climate change on the top of the agenda, cement companies are making sustained efforts to reduce their environmental footprints. ICR reviews the latest offering of corporate sustainability reports and highlights their key advances.

With today’s global climate change debate on the top of the agenda, cement companies worldwide are acutely aware of the need to reduce their environmental impacts. But improving energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint is only part of their environmental brief. In addition, they also need to conserve the earth’s resources through innovative use of alternative raw materials and fuels as well as preventing harmful emissions to the atmosphere by employing ideally best-practice equipment and processes. And there is no time for complacency as compliance standards are tightened with the passing of new legislation such as NESHAP in the US.

CO2 emissions

Figure 1: specific net CO2 emissions by company

in 2009 (blue) and 2010 (purple)

Specific net CO2 emissions have largely remained stable over the past year, as can be seen from Figure 1. Lafarge leads the field as it pushed its CO2 emissions further down to 606kg CO2/t of cementitious material, ahead of Cemex and Holcim, which each posted a figure of 629kg. HeidelbergCement’s figure rose modestly YoY to 638kg. Italy-based Buzzi Unicem and Italcementi saw their net specific CO2 at 681kg and 714kg, respectively. Buzzi’s record was actively helped by its plants in Luxembourg (587t) and Germany (600t).

Thermal energy efficiency

Figure 2: thermal energy efficiency by company

in 2009 (orange) and 2010 (red)

Holcim continues to push down thermal energy efficiencies figures at its plants, now reaching a global operational average of 3555MJ/t clinker. Lafarge made more modest improvements, reaching 3660MJ/t clinker, not far ahead of Cemex, which recorded an average thermal energy efficiency of 3696MJ/t across its plants.

HeidelbergCement’s latest result reveals a largely stable figure of 3703MJ/t.

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