The Lafarge Group, will invest Sh1.4 billion across its East African operations to reduce carbon emissions over the next two years.
Bamburi CEO, Mr Michel Purchercos (front) and external affairs director Robert Nyanga’ya, at the briefing in Nairobi.
The investment will support a Clean Development Mechanism, which involves among other things substitution of fuel power with biomass plantation in an effort to reduce the amounts of carbon emitted into the atmosphere.
According to Mr Bernard Osawa, Bamburi Cement business manager for alternative fuels, the need for a reduction in carbon emission is in line with demands of the Kyoto Protocol-safe guarding the ozone layer from further depletion.
"The cement industry contributes five per cent of global carbon emission annually. It is, therefore, upon us as manufacturers to find sustainable ways of reducing the carbon emissions from our factories," he said. Lafarge Group operates Bamburi Cement in Kenya, Hima Cement in Uganda and Mbeya Cement Company in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The company also runs conservation projects across the east Africa region.
In Kenya, apart from Bamburi Cement, Kenya Electricity Generating Company and Mumias Sugar Company have already instituted programmes aimed at reducing their carbon emissions.
Cumbersome registration procedures have, however, delayed the projects. In Africa, South Africa has taken the lead with 13 clean development mechanisms for carbon reduction projects having been implemented.
With the investment, the group expects to have, by 2010, reduced emissions from its factories to about 20 per cent. Currently, the firm has put in place partial fuel substitution that by last year had seen the emissions cut to 16 per cent.
"The utilisation of rice and coffee husks as well cashew nuts and coconut shells to replace heavy fuel oil has significantly reduced the net carbon dioxide we emit," noted Mr Osawa during a media briefing at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday.
To efficiently implement the substitution, the production equipment will have to be redesigned to meet new specification which will consume a large portion of the investment expenses.
Fuel substitution efforts have also paid off for the manufacturer having saved approximately Sh1 billion in production costs. The company has also devised additional measures to ensure that the value of cement produced is increased while using the same amounts of raw materials.