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Lafarge partners with WWF in a worldwide commitment to reduce its GHG emissions

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Issues Addressed

  • Principle 7 - Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  • Principle 8 - Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
  • Principle 9 - Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

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Partnership Project

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Case Description

In November 2001, Lafarge committed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20 percent per tonne of cement produced worldwide over the period 1990-2010. This corresponds to a reduction, by 2010, by 15 percent of the absolute level of Lafarge CO2 emissions from 1990 levels in industrialized countries, as envisaged by Annex 1 of the Kyoto Protocol.

The main levers that Lafarge will use to reduce its emissions are:
- Improving energy efficiency;
- Using waste fuels; and
- Incorporating cementitious additions, such as steel slags and fly ash from coal-fired power stations.

Thanks to the Global CO2 emissions reduction commitment jointly developed with WWF, Lafarge has now fully integrated mitigation of its CO2 emissions in its global performance programs.

Each business unit is given innovative tools to measure its performance, benchmark it within the Group and set its own targets in contribution to the overall corporate target.

This initiative has triggered several new programs within the organization. For instance, search for raw material substitution have been systematized and intensified.

A research initiative has been launched to investigate the potential for development of new low-carbon cement substitutes.

New sources of biomass fuels are now looked at in a systematic fashion.In year 2000, biomass used as fuel represented only 0.8 % of total fuel energy used in the group, a figure unchanged since 1990. In 2002, this number has risen to 2.3 % a very significant increase.

Finally, acknowledging that 80% to 90% of emissions occurring during the lifetime of a building are relative to usage of building, Lafarge has launched a new initiative aiming at the development of more sustainable construction. This initiative targets building companies, housing developers and architects and aims to promote a shift towards more sustainable construction and architecture.

Following the pledge by Lafarge to reduce CO2 emissions from its cement making operations, other large cement producers have started to consider a similar approach.In July 2002, ten major cement producers gathered under the Cement Sustainability Initiative (a project led under the WBCSD umbrella) and committed to an agenda for action for the period 2002 to 2007. Among many issues, they addressed climate change and were strongly influenced by Lafarge.

All ten companies committed to publish individual performance data and targets for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2006. A few months later, Holcim, one of the other very large producers of cement joined Lafarge in taking a commitment to reduce its worldwide emissions by 20% per tonne of cement between 1990 and 2010. Holcim’s commitment is very close to the one taken by Lafarge in 2001.

Now the original group of companies have been joined by others and the initiative totals 15 large cement companies.In 2006, it will be quite difficult for these companies, not to take on a commitment at least as ambitious as the one taken by Lafarge in 2001.The most remarkable outcome of this initiative has been to raise the bar among the cement industry players as is described above.It was also instrumental in triggering a reaction among the R&D teams which eventually led to setting up a substantial R&D program on low carbon cements.

As far as performance is concerned, we now have a robust CO2 inventory system. We calculate our emissions once a year, figures are audited by an independent third party verifier and we report publicly our performance every year (see our sustainability report at www.lafarge.com)

At the end of 2003, our net CO2 emissions per ton of cement produced had reached 670 Kg, a 11.8 % reduction compared to our pro-forma 1990 performance. This is in line with our 2010 target of 20% reduction.


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