Lafarge reaches its first objective of reducing its CO2 emissions

26 March 2009

Lafarge has taken a major step in ongoing efforts to reduce its ecological footprint by reaching its first CO2 emissions reduction objective two years in advance. Absolute emissions in the industrialised countries have gone down 12.5 percent over the 1990-2008 period. The original objective was a 10 percent reduction between 1990 and 2010. The other objective, aiming to reduce net CO2emissions per metric ton of cement for the group throughout the world by 20%, saw the result reaching 18.4 percent at the end of 2008 (compared with 16 percent in 2007).

On this occasion, Bruno Lafont, Chairman and CEO of Lafarge, said:

"In a world in profound evolution, we have the strong will of resolutely pursuing our engagement in the field of sustainable development. The reduction of our CO2 emissions that we are proudly announcing today is the result of the ongoing exemplary conduct of our operations and the active engagement taken since 2001 with WWF at our side. These results reinforce our commitment to remain a leader of our industry in the area of social and environmental responsibility, and transforming this into a competitive advantage."

These results are aligned with Lafarge's 2012 Sustainable Ambitions, a roadmap with 16 sustainable development operational objectives, ranging from security to industrial health, from persistent pollutants to biodiversity.

A pioneering partnership with WWF International

Lafarge's commitment to sustainable development has been implemented within the context of on-going partnerships with WWF International and other environmental organizations. Lafarge has been one of WWF's first Conservation Partners since 2000 and is currently finalizing discussions with WWF International to renew their partnership for the next four years.

Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International, welcomed the achievement and said:

"WWF is pleased to see that Lafarge's commitment to reducing its ecological footprint has resulted in significant reductions of CO2 emissions in 2008. As the leader in the construction materials sector, we encourage Lafarge to keep on driving ambitious change and to set the example for the business community at large."

Reducing the carbon footprint of the cement production process

98% of Lafarge's CO2emissions come from its Cement business. These emissions come in part from the chemical reaction of lime to heat, while the other part comes from the fossil fuels used to fire the kiln.

For many years, Lafarge has been firmly committed to a policy of reducing its environmental footprint and has operated several levers of progress, for example:

  • the continuous improvement of the energy performance of its factories
  • the use of alternative fuels such as industrial residues or biomass, partly replacing the fossil fuels used to fire its cement kilns
  • the use of cement additives that can partly replace clinker in cement production. Mostly, these are slag and fly ash, which are by-products of the steel industry and coal-fired power stations, respectively.

Some of these initiatives have been registered as "Clean Development Mechanisms" by the United Nations: a wind farm supplying the Tetouan cement plant in Morocco, the use of palm oil nut shells as fuel in a cement plant in Malaysia and the replacement of part of the clinker (a constituent of cement) by fly ash in India.

Some other cement manufacturers have made commitments to reduce their emissions per metric ton of cement. Lafarge's absolute emissions reduction objective remains the only one of its kind. Even though this has now been attained, Lafarge is aware of its duty to continue its action to reduce its polluting emissions and pursue its industrial activity in a sustainable and transparent manner, respecting the communities and the environment where the group is present.

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 more than 84,000 employees in 79 countries, Lafarge posted sales of Euros 19 billion in 2008.

In 2009 and for the fifth 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.

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