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CSI holds meeting at Rio+20

World Cement,


The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, is currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and will run until 22 June. It will gather representatives at the highest possible level from over 170 countries to discuss central issues such as energy, sustainable cities and disaster readiness.

In addition to central discussions on energy, sustainable cities and disaster readiness, there will be an assessment of the progresses, difficulties and global challenges in sustainable development. The Conference theme is twofold: (a) green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

CSI achievements

Prior to the Rio+20 Summit, a meeting took place to summarize the initiatives and achievements of the cement industry over the last decade, in terms of environmental stewardship and its compromise to the future. The meeting was called by the International Chamber of Commerce, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the report was presented by the WBCSD’s Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI).

Emissions reductions in Latin America

FICEM, the Inter-American Cement Federation, was invited to join the session, having been appointed to the CSI’s ‘Getting the Numbers Right’ Project Management Committee in 2011. The project is a voluntary database that consolidates global CO2 emissions and energy performance information from the cement industry. FICEM promotes the participation in GNR of non-CSI cement companies in Latin America.

The report notes the impressive 16% global reduction of net emissions per t of cement, which averaged 631 kg of CO2 vis-à vis 1990.

An assessment of 63% of the cement plants in Latin America shows that, between 1990 and 2000, the region achieved a decline of 15.2% and 17.5% in its gross and net CO2 emissions/t of cement, respectively. This improvement is attributed to the increase in co-processing rates within the industry, particularly the use of biomass and industrial waste-based alternative fuels. Waste heat recovery and other energy-saving initiatives have also had an impact. These practices will continue going forward.

 “As a member of the Project Management Committee together with other regional associations like the Cembureau, the Latin American industry will be able to visualize 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.

A responsible cement industry

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.

20 years after the historical first Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and 10 years after the World Summit held in Johannesburg in 2002, this year’s meeting is a strong push by the UN to achieve a stronger global compromise towards sustainable development. 

Adapted from press release by Katherine Markham.

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