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Editorial comment

As pandemic restrictions relax across many parts of the world and industry begins to ramp up for a post-COVID environment, the focus of the cement sector will doubtless return to the challenge of emissions reduction. Indeed, there have been a number of stories over recent weeks that make it clear how seriously this challenge is being taken.

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LafargeHolcim has adopted a programme of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) with the aim of bringing greater transparency to the carbon footprint of its products. Like nutritional information labels on food products, EPDs can be used to detail the environmental impact of materials. Instead of fats and sugars, EPDs highlight various Global Warming Potentials (GWPs), such as the amount of energy used during the manufacturing process, the environmental impact of producing various ingredients, and even the fuel used to deliver the material to job sites.

Previous attempts by the cement industry to promote and sell lower-carbon products had been met with resistance from customers unwilling to pay higher prices. However, as environmental awareness amongst consumers (and, in turn, their own customers) continues, it is hoped that clearly displaying the environmental impact of products will drive consumers to make greener choices. Jay Moreau, CEO, U.S. Aggregates and Construction Materials (LafargeHolcim), commented on the development: “The growth in sustainable construction is driving demand for low-carbon building products that can transparently demonstrate a decrease in our environmental footprint.”

Back in June, it was announced that Aker Solutions and Norcem (a subsidiary of HeidelbergCement) signed an agreement as a step towards the construction of a CO2 capture, liquification and intermediate storage plant at Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik, Norway. If the project is approved by the Norwegian Government, the plant could become the world’s first large-scale capture plant at a cement production facility. The estimated 400 000 tpy of captured CO2 will be transported for permanent offshore storage by Norway’s Northern Lights project.

HeidelbergCement also recently published its 2019 Sustainability Report, which provides an annual overview of the company’s performance with regard to a range of factors, such as emissions reduction. The company had set itself the goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 30% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. As of last year, the report shows that the company is well on the way, having already achieved a 22% reduction.

Emissions reduction will be amongst the topics discussed at World Cement’s exciting new online conference: WCT2020. With technical presentations ‘by producers, for producers’, WCT2020 will provide an online venue for the cement industry to gather and discuss the topics that matter most. Head over to pgs 32 – 33 for more details or go straight to to register now!

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