Water

Protecting freshwater resources


Knowing that freshwater is a finite resource, we aim to reduce water intensity throughout our business operations. We tailor our solutions to local conditions and replenish freshwater resources in medium and high water-risk areas.

Our water stewardship commitments


Our nature strategy sets out measurable targets to protect and restore precious freshwater resources, with a tangible action plan to achieve them by 2030.

33
%
freshwater withdrawal reduction by 2030 per metric ton of cement produced
20
%
freshwater withdrawal reduction by 2030 per metric ton of aggregates produced
15
%
freshwater withdrawal reduction by 2030 per cubic meter of ready-mix concrete produced
75
%
of our sites located in medium, high and extremely high water-risk areas will be water positive by 2030 thanks to freshwater replenishment projects outside our site boundaries to the benefit of communities and nature
100
%
of our sites in medium, high and extremely high water-risk areas to be equipped with recycling systems by 2030
100
%
of our discharged water by 2026 will meet Holcim water quality standards and in-country regulations to protect ecosystems and biodiversity

Our strategy for water stewardship

 

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

 

How we reach our commitments

 

Freshwater withdrawal reduction


Our operations are becoming more water-efficient through process optimization, reduced leakages and freshwater recycling systems. 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.

Holcim commits to reducing freshwater withdrawal by 2030 in cement, aggregate and ready-mix concrete production by 33%, 20% and 15% respectively.

 

Zero water pollution


Holcim commits 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


With 30% of our sites located in medium to high water-risk areas, Holcim is doing its part by implementing freshwater replenishment programs beyond our site boundaries.

Projects include watershed protection and restoration, water access and sanitation, and water for productive use. Solutions are tailored to local needs in consultation with community and institutional stakeholders.


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.

Water product innovations


Water is one of the two pillars we place at the heart of our nature strategy. In addition, we continue to develop products and solutions that positively impact freshwater ecosystems.

Going beyond our freshwater commitments, we are creating solutions to preserve and protect marine ecosystems.

Hydromedia: permeable water management solution


Hydromedia 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).

EXPLORE HYDROMEDIA

I-DRACRETO: intelligent concrete solution


I-DRACRETO infuses moisture into concrete, reducing early-age cracking and associated repairs while saving 70 liters of water per square meter of concrete floor.

EXPLORE I-DRACETO

SmartBlends Technology: workable cement


Sold to retail and masons, this bag cement delivers superior performance while requiring up to 25% less water than traditional cement.

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