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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Leadership and Governance for Sustainability > Global Leadership

Greening the Cement Industry and Our Use of Cement

Cement accounts for 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions - and it touches on a wide range of sustainability issues

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building with cement and carbon footprint reduction The cement industry plays a key role in meeting society's needs for housing and basic infrastructure by supplying concrete.

The industry employs about 850,000 workers in facilities in 150 countries, producing about 1.5 billion tons of cement a year. It has an estimated annual turnover of $87 billion and has grown by nearly 4 percent a year over the past decade.

Cement production is energy-intensive - it accounts for 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions - and it touches on a wide range of sustainability issues including:

  • Climate change
  • Pollution
  • Resource depletion
  • Worker health and safety

To address these issue and to provide vision and direction for a more sustainable approach to the industry's future growth, the WBCSD works with the industry to carry out a sector project on cement.

Under the auspices of the WBCSD, the working group commissioned the Battelle Memorial Institute, a US-based not-for-profit consulting firm, to conduct independent research into how the cement industry can meet these sustainability challenges. Battelle�s final report, Toward a Sustainable Cement Industry ( 568 kb), was released in April 2002.

The report listed 8 major topics that will shape the cement industry's path toward a more sustainable future in the next 20 years:

  • resource productivity: improving eco-efficiency through improved practices in quarrying, energy use and waste recovery and reuse
  • climate protection: understanding and managing CO2 emissions
  • emission reduction: reducing dust from quarrying, NOx, SOx, and other airborne pollutants from cement manufacture
  • ecological stewardship: improving land use and landscape management practices
  • employee well-being: managing and improving employee health, safety, and satisfaction
  • community well-being: working more effectively with local communities
  • regional development: participating in regional affairs
  • shareholder value: creating more value for shareholders research.

SOURCE: World Business Council for Sutainable Development -- Cement Sustainability Initiative

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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