Environmental management systems
To ensure compliance with stringent company requirements we expect all our cement plants to have an environmental management system in place. In 2020, 89% of our cement plants had an environmental management system equivalent to ISO 14001 in place.
We expect that all our cement sites measure and manage air emissions. In 2020, we monitored dust, NOx and SO2 emissions from 97% of the clinker we produced; 85% of clinker production is monitored continuously. The vast majority of Holcim plants operate within best practice emission ranges and some are among the best in the sector. In 2020 Group dust emissions reduced by around 13.0% year on year, as well as NOx by 0.3%. In order to assure the quality of our performance, we are completing globally the installation of TIS (Technical Information System) and CEMS (Continuous Emissions Monitoring System), which will enable us to monitor in real time air emissions from any kiln in the world.
Today we are shifting our focus to consider our total impact on water resources in the communities where we operate, particularly in water-scarce areas. We optimize and prevent the use of fresh water as well as reduce the risk of depletion or pollution by measuring our operational water footprint, reducing freshwater withdrawal, assessing water risks, engaging with stakeholders on sharing water and providing more water to communities.
We are already one of the world’s largest recycling companies, recycling 46 million tons of waste in our operations in 2020. This decrease from 48 million tons in 2019 is due to a COVID-19 related drop in production.