Water

We commit to protecting the availability of freshwater resources. Fresh water is a finite resource. Of all the water on earth, just 3% is freshwater and less than 1% is both fresh and accessible.

Water is essential for cement, aggregates and ready-mix concrete production. Of our sites, 23% are in the medium to highwater-risk areas. As water is a local resource, we tailor our solutions to local conditions and we prioritize our actions on these sites.

 

Our water stewardship commitments

 
-33
%
Freshwater withdrawal per ton of cementitious material by 2030

Freshwater withdrawal per ton of cementitious material by 2030

 
-20
%
Freshwater withdrawal per ton of aggregates by 2030

Freshwater withdrawal per ton of aggregates by 2030

 
-15
%
Freshwater withdrawal per m3 of Ready Mix Concrete by 2030

Freshwater withdrawal per m3 of Ready Mix Concrete by 2030

 
75
%
of sites located in water risk areas will be water positive by 2030.

of sites located in water risk areas will be water positive by 2030.

We will replenish the freshwater we use in our operations in water risk areas to the benefit of communities and nature by implementing water projects outside our site boundaries

 
100
%
of our sites in medium, high and extremely high water-risk areas to be equipped with recycling systems by 2030

of our sites in medium, high and extremely high water-risk areas to be equipped with recycling systems by 2030

 
100
%
of our water discharged will meet Holcim water quality standards and in-country regulations enhancing water quality and protecting biodiversity by 2026

of our water discharged will meet Holcim water quality standards and in-country regulations enhancing water quality and protecting biodiversity by 2026

 

Holcim water stewardship actions

We will replenish freshwater used in our operations in water risk areas to the benefit of communities and nature by implementing water projects outside our site boundaries.

water stewardship v3

* Projects are implemented within a local context and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including communities and public infrastructure

 

How we reach our commitments

Specific freshwater withdrawal reduction

We improve our water usage efficiency by reducing leakages and optimizing our processes. Our sites in water-risk areas will be equipped with recycling systems and we are committed to reducing our specific freshwater withdrawal. When possible, we shift our water usage from freshwater to non-freshwater. In some countries, during heavy rains, we use harvested rainwater, while in others we use sea or treated municipal wastewater. We have committed to reduce our specific freshwater withdrawal in Cement, Aggregates and Ready Mix operations. Respectively, 33%, 20% and 15% compared to our 2018 baseline.

Zero water pollution

We commit to treat the water we use and return it to nature. We require all our sites to implement strict standards to ensure the discharge of high-quality water according to in-country regulations and Holcim’s standards.

 

Freshwater replenishment

We commit to implementing water programs beyond our site boundaries, in particular in water-risk areas.

Water risk in countries where Holcim operates

water risk v2

*Source: Rating of overall water risk as defined by World Resources Institute Aqueduct accessed on 26 February 2020.

Three main project categories can be implemented: watershed protection and restoration; water for productive use; and water access and sanitation. Projects are selected according to local needs, and in consultation with relevant stakeholders including communities and public institutions, to maximize the watershed improvements and equitable distribution of water.

 

Product innovation for water

Holcim provides a number of solutions to our customers with a positive impact on freshwater ecosystems.

 

is a water management system that combines the properties of concrete and advanced drainage technology. It absorbs rainwater from streets, driveways, etc., reducing flood risks. Hydromedia rapidly evacuates water directly into the soil, producing a natural aquifer recharge allowing urban forests to grow and minimizing the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE).

 

is a concrete with inbuilt provision of curing water. Under normal environmental conditions (evaporation rate < 0.5 kg/m2/hr), it facilitates elimination of any external curing without compromising the design performance of the concrete. It saves 70 liters of water per square meter of concrete floor.

 

is a workable cement. Thanks to an innovative design, the bag cement sold to retail and masons requires up to 25% less water while providing significant superior performance.