As a side event to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (20-22 June 2012) the Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD), will take place previous to the Rio + 20 Summit.
The objective of the meeting is to summarise the initiatives and achievements by the cement industry in the past 10 years in relation to environmental stewardship and its compromise towards the future. The report will be presented by the CSI (Cement Sustainability Initiative).
FICEM, the Inter-American Cement Federation, was invited to join the session after its appointment in 2011 as a member of the GNR’s (Getting the Numbers Right) Project Management Committee. FICEM promotes the participation in GNR of non-CSI cement companies in Latin America. The project is a voluntary database that consolidates global CO2 emissions and energy performance information from the cement industry.
One of the highlights from the report is a global reduction of 16% in net emissions per tonne of cement, which averaged 631kg of CO2 vis-à vis 1990.
According to the assessment of 63% of the cement producing plants in the Latin America region, between 1990 and 2000 reported a decline of 15.2% and 17.5% in its gross and net CO2 emissions per tonne of cement respectively.
In terms of net CO2 emissions, the improvement in relation to gross emissions can be attributed to growing co-processing rates within the industry; particularly the use of biomass- and industrial waste-based alternative fuels. Initiatives like waste heat recovery have also contributed to the improvement.
The cement industry will continue to enhance its performance through the implementation of co-processing and reduction of the clinker factor.
“As a member of the Project Management Committee together with other regional associations like the Cembureau, the Latin American industry will be able to visualise its actual performance against global conditions, set goals for the future and work with policy makers on the base of figures that are opportune, transparent and precise. It will also strengthen the cement industry’s reputation in the region” declared Gabriel Restrepo, Chair of the FICEM Board of Directors.
Aware of the cement industry’s responsibility regarding environmental issues, in 2010 FICEM created the Co-processing and Climate Change Task Force that seeks to identify, document and promote cases of success in the utilisation of alternative fuels and raw materials in the region. The Task Force is also dedicated to supporting a culture of sustainable development.
“The aim of the Task Force is to prepare the Latin American cement industry for future climate change regulatory frameworks, encourage co-processing in the region and support the development of legislation promoting responsible co-processing in the industry, integrating this technology to regional waste management standards” said María José García, General Director at FICEM – APCAC.
The cement industry is a pioneer in the implementation of relevant initiatives for the protection of the environment, developing programs for the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases.
It is expected that Rio + 20 will become the blueprint to modify consumption patterns, encourage the sustainable development of human settlements, and strive for the protection of biodiversity, the forests, oceans and water resources with the agreement upon concrete goals into the future.