Holcim Philippines puts sustainability at core of cement business

Holcim Philippines puts sustainability at core of cement business
Published: 15 October 2008

 Holcim Philippines Inc has placed sustainable development as one of its major priorities while pursuing a profitable business in the country.

This was stressed by Holcim Philippines chief operating officer Ian Thackwray in a presentation on Response Ability to Meet Today’ Needs While Keeping Tomorrow’ Promise at the ongoing 8th Asia Pacific Mining Conference and Exhibition.

"We place environmental management high on our priorities as a company. We recognize the public’ high expectations for responsible management in this area and strive to meet and exceed those expectations," Thackwray said.

Thackwray also highlighted Holcim’ Sea Urchin Grow-out project in Balaoan, La Union, which is a model for harmonizing business, social responsibility and environmental protection.

The company helped develop this sustainable livelihood project for the community, which led the residents to make a conscious effort to protect their waters from illegal fishing.

During the conference, a Zen garden-like exhibit booth was put up by Holcim to feature its efforts in environmental management and social responsibility. The concept of the booth represents the various site beautification and biodiversity enhancement projects implemented by the company in its four cement plants.

For example, Holcim’ plant in Lugait, Misamis Oriental has a butterfly farm, an herbal garden and an orchidarium within its compound.

"Holcim is doing it’ best to be in the driver’ seat of sustainability, steering the cement industry towards a cleaner environment. We are committed to continuously improve our environmental performance," says Thackwray.

The company is continuously investing in equipment and systems that monitor air emissions and keep the air clean. All of its cement plants have state-of-the-art Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems (CEMS) which far exceed the minimum requirements of the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, and also reaffirms Holcim’ commitment to environmental standards.

Holcim is also the first cement company in the Philippines to receive approval from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for a Final Mine Rehabilitation Plan.

Additionally, Holcim works with local government units and industrial companies in promoting solid waste management.

Through Holcim’ processing technology, the company is able to turn solid and industrial wastes into alternative fuel.

When this technology is fully developed and utilized, Holcim sees a significant solution to the landfill problem of mega cities such as Metro Manila.