Holcim US, United States: Conservation Day.

Project Description
Climate, energy, and resource conservation are arguably some of the most important
challenges facing the cement manufacturing industry in the coming decades. Sustainable
development is an integral part of the Holcim business strategy. Recently, Holcim (US)
developed and rolled out our “CSR Conservation strategy”. Conservation speaks to employees
at all levels, motivating awareness and opportunities to conserve. Conservation at our
operations translates into the preservation of not only natural resources, finances and jobs, but
the communities where we operate.

Conservation makes sense in all aspects of our business and personal lives. One way Holcim
is spreading the message of conservation is through Conservation Days. The event is focused
on giving employees, retirees and their families the opportunity to better understand how energy
use, transportation and waste have an impact on our environment. This is accomplished
through seven interactive stations. The last station provides the family with the opportunity to
calculate their carbon footprint and together develops ways to decrease that impact.
Conservation Days is a family fun event and a good excuse to get employees, retirees and their
families the resources and information they need to bring conservation home.

Objectives

The Conservation Day concept aims to:

  • Make employees, their families and members of the local community aware of how dailychoices made in their home, their travels and what they buy and waste impact our environment
  • Motivate and educate them on how to take a personal and professional stewardship for protecting the environment and pledging to make a difference today

Activities

The first Conservation Day took place at the Holcim US Ada plant, Oklahoma, in December
2007. Since the initial event took place there has since been six successful conservation days.
The stations are set up like a “learning fair”. Each station provides specific information and
ideas on how to decrease your impact. Each station has an employee, who presents the
information and fields questions regarding each topic.

  1. Simple Steps You Can Take at Home: this booth provides information on decreasing energy use when heating and cooling your home, increasing the energy efficiency of appliances, and other electrical energy users and insulation.
  2. Kid’s Corner: this booth empowers kids to control their own impact by making choices that reduce their carbon footprint. Some ideas include reusing lunch bags, using both sides of paper when taking notes at school, using the local library instead of buying books, recycling and carpooling to school and other events.
  3. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: This booth describes what CFLs are, why to use them and the energy and cost saving benefits associated with replacing incandescent bulbs.
  4. Transportation: This booth provides ideas on how to decrease your impact when getting from here to there. Some ideas include, walking or riding a bike, consolidating errands, fuel efficient vehicles, and better car maintenance.
  5. Carbon Sequestration: This booth provides information on how CO2 from the atmosphere is absorbed through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in trees, branches, foliage and soils and how trees offset emissions. At many of the plants we have either giving out seedlings or planted trees are part of the event.
  6. Waste Reduction: This booth provides information on strategies to decrease the amount of waste that your household must dispose of. These include, reducing the amount of packaging you buy, reusing water bottles, avoiding disposables etc. There are also recycling and reuse tips.
  7. What is a Carbon Footprint: This booth explains what a carbon footprint is and that our individual carbon footprint includes both direct and indirect sources. This is also the booth where the individual family gets their carbon footprint calculated. During the calculation we discuss the different avenues by which we produce carbon dioxide through our every day choices. Families are then encouraged to pledge to reduce that impact, using ideas from previous booths and any other family specific insight.

“We want our employees to understand the impact they have as individuals on conserving
resources. So we designed a program to show them” says Erika Guerra, Holcim US
Government Affairs and CSR Manager. The average American puts 27 tons of carbon dioxide
into the atmosphere through choices made in daily living. Lowering that amount can be as
simple as swapping compact fluorescent light bulbs for incandescent ones, keeping tires
properly inflated to improve gasoline mileage, car pooling and recycling grocery bags.
Mobilizing Employees: Employee Engagement / Employee Involvement / EmployeeVolunteering 3
Holcim continues to place significant importance on spreading the message of sustainable
development and conservation to employees and communities across the US.

Results

Conservation Day has proven to Holcim that when employees are committed to conservation
and sustainable development, it makes them more committed to these topics in their jobs.
Holcim (US) has completed seven successful Conservation Days at the following locations:


  • Ada, Oklahoma
  • Artesia, Mississippi
  • Devils Slide, Utah
  • Mason City, Iowa
  • Midlothian, Texas
  • Ste. Genevieve, Missouri
  • Trident, Montana

To date over 500 employees have pledged to decrease their carbon footprint with a pledged
reduction of more than 4 million lbs of CO2 per year. Aside from attending and pledging to
make changes over the months following Conservation Days, news spreads of employees
taking their pledges and making changes both big and small. Some examples include:


  1. At our Ada, Oklahoma and Mason City, Iowa facilities we have seen a decrease in plant energy use directly following conservation days.
  2. One employee at our Utah plant, purchased a hybrid vehicle the month following the Devil’s Slide Conservation Day.
  3. Another employee at our Montana plant, went out the next day and purchased a programmable thermostat.
  4. Another employee from our corporate office has been spreading the word on reusable water bottles. He stopped buying a case of water bottles that would last him about two weeks or so and now is seen carrying around his reusable bottle.
  5. At one facility the event inspired an employee’s grandson to use our Conservation Day theme for a school club project, marketing changes for a greener future. They adopted the motto “If Holcim can improve their green, so can you!”

Conservation Day has proven to be a great way to not only make employees, families and
community members more aware of SD issues, but also motivate actual change, benefiting both
our employees, our operations and the communities where we operate. Our hope is to continue
to spread the message of conservation using this family fun and interactive avenue, eventually
hosting Conservation Day at each of our facilities throughout the US.