Our sustainability progress in 2018: An interview with Jens Diebold

14 May 2019

How is LafargeHolcim doing in its sustainability efforts? We sat down with Head of Sustainable Development Jens Diebold for a few questions ahead of the 2018 Sustainability Report publication.

Jens Diebold, Head of Sustainable Development



Q: What are the highlights of LafargeHolcim’s sustainability performance in 2018?

A: Our net CO2 emissions per tonne of cement were 25% lower compared to the 1990 baseline, confirming us as the leader among international cement groups. By reusing 52 million tonnes of waste in our operations, we also happen to be one of the world’s largest waste solutions companies. We reduced freshwater withdrawal by 19% since 2015, and 3 million more people benefitted from our community programs.

Q. Your sustainability targets have changed? How so, and why?

A: Sustainability is integral to our strategy and the long-term success of our company. To that end we wanted to make sure there was a complete alignment between our sustainability ambitions and Strategy 2022 – “Building for Growth”. Our targets are now fully aligned and fixed to interim 2022 targets, replacing the 2020 and 2025 targets that we had previously.

Q. Can you say more on the reasons behind the change in your climate and energy target?

A: We revisited our ambition based on three factors: new external references, revised internal scenario planning and climate change ambitions of the countries where we operate. Principally we have aimed to make sure we are consistent with the low-carbon technology roadmap defined for our sector by the International Energy Agency (IEA). We also wanted to ensure that we remained consistent with the “2-degree scenario” defined at the COP 21 world climate conference in Paris.

Q: What has driven your emissions reductions to date, and how do you expect to generate more reductions in the future?

A: We have reduced carbon emissions mainly by reducing our clinker-to-cement ratio and consuming less energy per tonne of product. Since most of the CO2 emissions associated with cement occur during the production of clinker (the main component of cement), we will continue to reduce carbon intensity by replacing clinker with alternative mineral components such as pozzolan, slag or fly ash. Our products currently replace an average of 28% of the clinker with other constituents. The same goes for energy. We use less fossil-based energy mostly by using alternative fuels and improving the efficiency of our processes. We will continue to reduce the carbon intensity of our cement production by using pretreated waste and low-carbon fuels. In some of our operations we have met 90 percent of our energy requirements with alternative fuels.