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Cement companies walking the walk in sustainability

World Cement,

Released today, the results from an independent audit undertaken across the membership of the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) demonstrate that leading cement companies are improving their sustainability through the CSI collaborative approach.

A total of 17 member companies were audited against their commitments and responsibilities set out in the Charter* of the CSI, a global effort by 24 major cement producers with operations in more than 100 countries. The results confirm that the Charter enables member companies around the world to better integrate their sustainability practices, seek out opportunity for value creation and more effectively manage their environmental footprints.

Philippe Fonta, Managing Director of the CSI, said: “The CSI is unique in bringing together cement companies across the world in mature and emerging markets. The Charter sets out the commitments through a collaborative approach. It reinforces our view that what gets measured gets done.” 

The audit showed that long-standing member companies who were more active in the CSI generally received higher scores, reflecting the added value of membership through offering a collaborative platform and developing roadmaps for improving performance across the board.

CSI member companies were visited by auditors from DNV-GL, who mapped the implementation of the Charter in seven key areas:

  1. CO2 emissions and energy management.
  2. Fuels and material use.
  3. Health and safety.
  4. Emissions monitoring and reporting.
  5. Local impact on land and communities.
  6. Reporting and communications.
  7. Governance.

In each area, at least one company scored 100% in terms of implementing commitments of the CSI Charter, although no member achieved perfect scores across all seven areas. This result reflects the robustness of the audit process as well as the relevance of the CSI Charter and its ambitious yet achievable requirements.

In general, higher scores were achieved for the management of energy and CO2 emissions, as well as for fuels and material use. More technical in nature, these issues have been part of the CSI work programme since the launch of its first Agenda for Action in 2002. They have provided significant benefits such as waste recovery, economic savings and nurturing innovation.

The audit also identified areas for improvement, such as biodiversity, communications and relationships with communities.  The requirements of the Charter relating to these specific fields will be reviewed for clarity and strengthened where necessary.

Member companies participating in the audit found the exercise beneficial for gaining an external, independent view and for driving internal reflection required to review and adjust their implementation strategy.

Bruno Lafont, Chairman and CEO of Lafarge and current co-chairman of CSI, commented: “The cement sector fully recognises its responsibility to mitigate its carbon footprint as well as fulfil its broader responsibilities to society and nature. It was this outlook that led to the original and unique development of the CSI over 10 years ago to advance sustainability among the major cement manufacturers around the world. Since then, the CSI has maintained a leading role to support the reduction of carbon emissions by the sector, as evidenced by this audit. Such an approach is even more important in this year of the COP21, which provides the opportunity for a global roadmap that is more ambitious in its objectives.”

Philippe Fonta added: “Independent verification of compliance with the CSI Charter is a critical part of this initiative. It enables the CSI to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our Charter while setting the agenda for the future. Results show that achieving 100% in every aspect is challenging, but possible. If one member can do it, it encourages all the other members to strive to reach the same level.”

Future audits will continue to monitor trends in progress and reinforce the global added value of the CSI’s collaborative approach for its members.

*The companies participating in the CSI sign the CSI Charter and commit to fulfil the requirements, implement the guidelines and report on the key performance indicators as defined by the CSI Charter.

Written by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Cement Sustainability Initiative. Adapted to house style by 

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