At a press conference held today, Holcim presents its Corporate Sustainable Development Report 2009. CEO Markus Akermann is pleased to confirm "that Holcim has met its targets on schedule and in the case of the reduction in CO 2 emissions even earlier than planned". All Group companies have played a significant role in this gratifying development. As part of its contribution to the current UN Year of Biodiversity, Holcim is making a major effort to promote biodiversity in the vicinity of its raw material quarries. The close cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is pointing the way forward for the entire sector. Holcim's commitment to environmental and social responsibility has also been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2009, Holcim was named one of the most sustainability-conscious companies in the building materials industry for the seventh time in succession.
CO2 reduction target achieved ahead of schedule - new target for 2015
Holcim achieved its voluntary CO 2 emissions reduction target ahead of schedule. Taking 1990 as reference year, Holcim's original target was a 20 percent reduction in net CO 2 emissions per tonne of cement by the end of 2010. As presented in the Corporate Sustainable Development Report, these emissions were already reduced by 21 percent by the end of 2009 (excluding the Group's own power generation). Holcim intends to continue to make a decisive contribution to reducing greenhouse gases in the future. The Group has therefore set itself the new target of reducing CO 2 emissions by 2015 to a level of 25 percent below the 1990 baseline. Holcim expects that the marked improvements in the environmental efficiency of new cement plants coming on stream from 2010 onward will make a substantial contribution to achieving this goal.
A foundation to promote sustainable construction
According to Holcim, the importance of sustainable and, hence, CO 2-efficient construction methods continues to grow. "This demands an accelerated pace of innovation, a challenge we accept", Markus Akermann explains. Population growth and urbanization will result in growing demand for residential accommodation and additional infrastructure. The objective is to contribute to the breakthrough of sustainable construction, as building and the built environment account for some 40 percent of global energy consumption. In 2003, Holcim established the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction to function as a global platform for promoting sustainable building. Today, the Foundation is one of the leading organizations in its field and recently staged the Third International Holcim Forum in Mexico City, which brought together around 300 experts from 40 countries. Under the motto of "Re-inventing Construction" participants discussed various solutions, in particular approaches to reducing CO 2 emissions in construction. The conference's conclusions will be published in book form in the fourth quarter of this year. In addition, the third three-year cycle of the Holcim Awards for sustainable construction projects and visions is to be launched this summer. The international competition for architects, planners, engineers and developers awards a total of USD 2 million in prize money. In 2009, an independent jury of experts nominated the best of the almost 5,000 entries for the Global Holcim Awards.
Holcim launches innovative products
A number of Group companies have successfully launched new building materials and the associated services that provide more sustainable building solutions. The emphasis is on the development of composite cements, the production of which uses considerably less energy than conventional products. Moreover, along the entire value-added chain the broad range of products is complemented by appropriate offerings. A good example of this are complete packages for do-it-yourself construction of affordable housing, including support in financing the building project, specially designed for customers in emerging markets. At the same time, Holcim is increasing the proportion of alternative heat sources in cement production and of renewable energies such as wind power plants in India - both important contributions to reducing emissions.
Workplace safety remains a priority
The safety of our employees and those of suppliers and third-party companies continues to enjoy absolute priority. Since 2004, the lost-time injury frequency rate has been cut by an impressive 74 percent and should be reduced further. Holcim's goal is to ensure that a safety culture takes root throughout the Group in keeping with the vision of "Zero Harm to People." In line with this, there is an urgent need to reduce the excessive number of fatal accidents.
Holcim promotes biodiversity in the vicinity of its plants
Natural raw materials obtained from quarries or gravel and sand pits provide the basis for the production of building materials such as cement, aggregates and concrete. In conjunction with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Holcim has engaged a panel of experts to help it develop solutions to biodiversity challenges. Building on this, Holcim has launched its own Group biodiversity management system. By 2013, 80 percent of quarry sites located in high biodiversity value areas must have action plans in place. An excellent example of how to preserve biodiversity is Holcim Spain's renaturalized El Puente quarry, which has already won major national and international awards.
Holcim supports the humanitarian projects of the International Committee of the Red Cross
As announced at the beginning of 2010, Holcim is the only international producer of building materials to join the Corporate Support Group of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Holcim supports projects of the ICRC in conflict regions where the company operates. Thus, in 2010 Holcim will provide financial support for an ICRC program for clean water and better access to drinking water in rural areas of Sudan.
Corporate Sustainable Development Report produced together with external experts
Holcim maintains continuous contact with a wide range of stakeholder groups. A panel of experts contributed to the reporting process and made valuable recommendations. A UK- based assurance provider, Two Tomorrows, audited this Corporate Sustainable Development Report in accordance with the AA 1000 standard, and PricewaterhouseCoopers verified the CO 2 emissions of production and the health and safety data. In addition, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) confirmed that the Report fulfills the requirements of the highest application level of A+.
Performance recognized by third parties
Holcim's commitment is recognized at the local and global levels. For the seventh time in succession, the Group was confirmed as a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In addition, in acknowledgement of its status as a leading company in sustainability worldwide across industries, Holcim was again included in the "SAM Gold Class" category by the Sustainable Asset Management Group (SAM) in cooperation with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
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Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt including services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in around 70 countries on all continents.
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