Thriving with our communities and making sustainable building accessible to all

In Acapulco, Mexico, a volunteer supporting Holcim’s relief effort carries a battered chair out of a classroom devastated by Hurricane Otis, which was the strongest storm to ever strike this region of Mexico in October 2023. 

On the floor lie the remnants of school life: colored plastic balls, a blackboard, painted flowers on the walls. His goal? Support the region’s recovery by helping clean up infrastructure and construct safe, dignified homes for the over 600 people affected, many of whom were children. 

The damage was colossal. I remember watching the hurricane wreaking havoc on TV and I knew right away that we had to do something to help those who had lost everything,” says Daniel from Holcim. 

Together with Holcim colleagues across the world, Daniel is delivering positive impacts for the communities where we operate. This means helping on the ground when natural disasters occur, but also by contributing to broader social and economic development. 

Globally, 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing and infrastructure. Using our expertise in building solutions and partnering with communities, NGOs and governments around the world, Holcim is developing innovative low-carbon solutions that address this need. 

Partnering with organizations that share our goal of building more affordable and resilient housing, such as Habitat for Humanity or Build Change, we collaborate to scale up impact. Holcim is also a founding member of Roof Over Our Heads, a campaign to improve the lives of two billion vulnerable people living in informal settlements by 2050.

Partnering with Holcim channels market power and digitalization to improve living standards for those most in need. This partnership highlights the critical role that private sector partners like Holcim can play in increasing access to affordable housing for low-income families.

Jonathan Reckford| CEO Habitat For Humanity International

Here are some of the ways Holcim is supporting our communities.

Disaster relief in Mexico

 

Daniel and colleagues are contributing to recovery efforts in the State of Guerrero by helping to reconstruct affected houses for over 600 people affected by the hurricane. The broader relief plan that has now benefited over 25,000 people through support and reconstruction initiatives.

Holcim Group, the Holcim Foundation in Mexico, the Mexican School of Construction and the Center for Technological Innovation in Construction (CiTeC) collaborated on infrastructure diagnostics, cleanups and self-construction workshops. They trained volunteers to replicate the model in more communities, facilitating a rapid and effective response.

The program’s second phase involves rehabilitating 10 schools and five health centers with a focus on the needs of the most vulnerable communities, including schools for children with disabilities. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Holcim will repair 30 homes affected by the hurricane and continue to support local communities to provide safe, resilient living conditions.

Climate-resilience in The Philippines

 

Many homes in The Philippines are not strong enough to withstand often extreme weather conditions. To improve this situation Holcim invested in a climate-resilient housing program in partnership with local NGOs, Build Change and ASKI-MFI.

The program has helped 37 low-income families in Aurora and Nueva Ecija (Central Luzon) climate-proof their homes – by providing access to housing loans, awareness raising and employing 120 local masons to strengthen homes using Holcim’s low-carbon cement products.

‘100,000 floors to play’ in Nicaragua

 

In Latin America, approximately six per cent of households have dirt floors, which results in inadequate hygienic conditions and can lead to serious illness, particularly among children and elders. Habitat for Humanity launched the “100,000 Floors to Play” initiative to replace 100,000 dirt floors with concrete among Latin America and the Caribbean’s most vulnerable populations.

From 2022 to 2023, Holcim Nicaragua replaced dirt floors with concrete floors in 175 households in the cities of Estelí and Nagarote. We will continue this process at a faster pace until 2030 as we strive to reach our 1,200 households target across the country.

Freshwater access in Bangladesh

 

Near our plant in Chhatak, Holcim Bangladesh launched a project to harvest then treat rainwater to provide safe, local drinking water for locals. We set up water reservoirs with an efficient filtering system to store at least 260,000 liters of water each year. Over 50 families now have access to safe drinking water, and we plan another 10 such systems across the country.

“I don’t need to walk so far to fetch water, as there is a reservoir near my home,” says Ameena Begum, who lives in Chhatak. “The water is safe to drink as well, so we’re getting rid of waterborne diseases. Everyone is happy with the initiative."

‘Homes for Heroes’ in Canada

 

An estimated 5,000 veterans in Canada are homeless, and this group is disproportionately at risk of being so due to mental health problems (including post-traumatic stress) and addictions.

Homes for Heroes project provides a caring, innovative, and comprehensive solution to homelessness by building unique, affordable urban villages in cities across Canada to help homeless veterans get back on their feet. 

As a project partner, Holcim Canada is donating decorative Artevia concrete as well as other aggregates and concretes to build these communities.

With our global footprint, Holcim is committed to thriving with our people and communities around the world. Respect for human rights is at the core of who we are. Let's build a smarter, greener world that works for all.

Christoph von Toggenburg| Head of Human Rights and Social Impact at Holcim
OUR COMMITMENTS TO DELIVER POSITIVE SOCIAL IMPACT

 

Our journey to build progress for people and the planet involves a strong commitment to delivering positive social impacts over time. We commit to: 

  • Improving living standards for all by accelerating access to adequate housing and infrastructure with an overall contribution of 350 million CHF by 2030 
  • Continuing to support communities through a broad range of initiatives covering health, education and skill building 
  • Developing inclusive infrastructure solutions such as scalable affordable housing and sustainable rural roads 

Approximately 3 million people benefit from our inclusive business programs, social investments and donations on an annual basis. 

Our experts develop innovative low-carbon solutions that bridge the gap in affordable housing and infrastructure. This benefits people and communities globally while contributing to our business success. Partnering with organizations that share our goal of building more affordable and resilient housing, such as Habitat for Humanity or Build Change, we collaborate to scale up impact. Holcim is a founding member of Roof Over Our Heads, a campaign to improve the lives of two billion vulnerable people living in informal settlements by 2050.

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