Lafarge has made a significant breakthrough in reducing its carbon footprint by exceeding its CO2 emissions reduction target one year in advance.
Lafarge is following a voluntary approach on a global scale. For ten years, the Group has been publicly committed to reducing its global net emissions per tonne of cement by 20% between 1990 and 2010, within the framework of a partnership with WWF International.
At the end of 2009, the Group had reduced its emissions by 20.7%*, thanks to the mobilization of operating units in three areas:
- The improvement of energy efficiency through mastered production processes
- The substitution of fossil fuels by alternative energy sources, such as biomass or industrial waste
- The development of new ranges of products meeting market requirements, using additives and recovering by-products from other industries.
Lafarge intends to continue its efforts to reduce its CO2 emissions; this is the major reason that led to the renewal of the strategic partnership with WWF International.
* Figure verified by Ernst and Young
A continuous investment in industrial ecology, independent of regulatory constraints
The Group is continuously and heavily investing in order to deliver on its commitments. Over the last five years, more than 800 million euros have been spent for reducing the environmental footprint of the Group's cement plants.
A dynamic innovation turned towards reducing the carbon footprint of buildings
In parallel, Lafarge has intensified its R&D actions for developing sustainable products and solutions. In recent years, almost half of the Group's research budget has been devoted to developing new products with a reduced carbon footprint. More than 120 researchers and technicians are involved in these topics.
As examples, Thermedia 0.6B, in partnership with Bouygues Construction, is the first in a range of structuring insulating concretes, and the Pregymax 29.5 plasterboard provides very high thermal and acoustic performances.
A mobilization of the industry to accelerate the deployment of good practices
Apart from these investments, the Group has been strongly committed to develop a sectoral approach for change in the field of climate change, particularly through the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI). Co-chaired by Bruno Lafont, the CSI, an organization of 23 worldwide cement groups, has recently been joined by five key Chinese cement manufacturers.
The European context
These actions aimed at reducing both the industrial and the product carbon footprint have been launched on a voluntary basis and mainly before any national or regional regulations.
In Europe, Lafarge, like other industrial businesses, is subject to the ETS system (European Trading Scheme) that was put in place in 2005 to encourage manufacturers to begin or to pursue their efforts in reducing their CO2 emissions. In 2009, the Group had surplus quotas worth 140 million euros, due to both investments and efforts made to reduce CO2 emissions and a context of declining volumes in European countries.
Notes to editors
Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in all of its businesses: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete and Gypsum. With 78,000 employees in 78 countries, Lafarge posted sales of Euros 15.8 billion in 2009.
In 2010 and for the sixth year in a row, Lafarge was listed in the ‘Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World'. With the world's leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity.