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Lafarge sustainability report highlights progress on reducing carbon footprint

The UK’s leading cement manufacturer, Lafarge, has launched its annual sustainability report and statement, which highlight the company’s strong environmental performance in 2008.

The company has published:

  • An environmental statement, which provides in-depth environmental information on its operations - as required under the internationally recognised Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) of which Lafarge is a member.
  • A sustainability report which provides a broader overview of the company’s approach to sustainability across its business.

After independent verification of its data by the British Standards Institute (BSI) amongst others, Lafarge is able to demonstrate strong progress on its commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations and products:

  • Based on 1990 levels, Lafarge Cement UK has reduced CO2 emissions from its manufacturing process by 40 per cent, through the implementation of a long-term investment programme and the use of carbon-neutral waste-derived fuels and raw materials.
  • A further reduction in the level of CO2 emitted by road transport, thanks to a £15 million-plus investment to improve and expand rail capacity.
  • Increasing the proportion of bulk and packed cements manufactured with lower carbon footprints (CEMIIs to IVs) to over 30 per cent of all products made.
  • Commissioning independent research which demonstrated that its plastic packaging has a lower carbon footprint than traditional paper packaging.

Business sustainability manager, Jim Rushworth, explained: “We have now published details on our environmental performance for nine years and have been gradually developing our reporting for other areas of our business since 2005. Our work in this area has been recognised by a number of awards, most notably the Business in the Community Award for Excellence we received from Former US Vice-President Al Gore in 2007.

“This work has been underpinned by the accreditations we hold for our management systems which require independent verification annually. It demonstrates that our commitment to sustainability is delivering tangible results. This year, we sought advice from independent experts WSP Environment & Energy, who helped us to better define what sustainability actually means to us in a wider business context.

“With WSP’s help, we have identified 26 different criteria, broadly grouped into social, economic and environment categories, and have looked to measure our performance against the best performing companies in terms of sustainability credentials.”

Following interviews, audits and a review of the company’s management systems, WSP identified that Lafarge has clear programmes to manage all 26 criteria. Indeed the company’s approach to public policy work and trade union/labour relations was identified as one of the strongest amongst all industries.

WSP’s director of corporate services, David Symons added:“Our work with Lafarge helps the company to benchmark their current level of performance and allows them to develop a roadmap to improve in the areas necessary for their organisation.

“Through accredited management systems, Lafarge has been able to drive impressive improvements in a number of areas, especially in its environment performance. The company is now in a position to further improve its performance in all the 26 key criteria required by truly sustainable companies.”

Lafarge Cement’s managing director Erdoğan Pekenç added:“Lafarge is committed to improving the company’s sustainability performance and we’re pleased to publicise our progress in achieving this. These reports clearly demonstrate the progress we are making through our commitment to reduce the environmental footprint of our products and operations, at the same time as making a positive contribution to the communities we are based in, and society in general through the supply of essential building materials.”