Cement companies score best on carbon, energy in sustainability watchdog audit

An external audit of multinational producers behind the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Cement Sustainability Initiative finds high scores in two of seven key CSI Charter areas: 1) Carbon Dioxide and Energy Management and 2) Fuels and Materials Use. Emissions reduction and resource optimization have netted economic savings, improved waste recovery, and nurtured innovation.


“The cement sector fully recognizes its responsibility to mitigate its carbon footprint as well as fulfill its broader responsibilities to society and nature,” says Lafarge Group Chairman Bruno Lafont, who co-chairs CSI. “This outlook led to the original and unique development of the CSI over 10 years ago to advance sustainability among the major cement manufacturers around the world.”

Auditors measured performance in the remaining CSI Charter areas of Health and Safety; Emissions Monitoring and Reporting; Governance; Local Impact on Land and Communities; and, Reporting and Communications—the latter two harboring points for improvement. In each charter area, at least one company scored 100 percent in terms of implementing commitments. Results reflect what WBCSD officials note are a robust audit process, plus CSI Charter relevance and its ambitious, yet achievable, requirements. The results likewise confirm that the Charter enables member companies to better integrate their sustainability practices, seek out opportunity for value creation, and manage more effectively their environmental footprints.

The audit showed that long-standing member companies who were more active in the CSI generally received higher scores, reflecting the added value of membership through offering a collaborative platform and developing roadmaps for improving performance across the board. Member companies participating in the audit found the exercise beneficial for gaining an external, independent view and for driving internal reflection required to review and adjust their implementation strategy.

CSI’s 24 members mill powder in 100-plus companies and, excepting Buzzi Unicem, include all but two multinational companies with integrated North American operations: Argos, CRH, Cemex, GCC, Heidelberg, Holcim, Italcementi, Lafarge, Taiheiyo, Titan and Votorantim. “The CSI is unique in bringing together cement companies across the world in mature and emerging markets. The Charter sets out the commitments through a collaborative approach,” says CSI Managing Director Philippe Fonta. “It reinforces our view that what gets measured gets done.

“Independent verification of compliance with the CSI Charter is a critical part of this initiative. It enables the CSI to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our Charter while setting the agenda for the future. Results show that achieving 100 percent in every aspect is challenging, but possible. If one member can do it, it encourages all the other members to strive to reach the same level.”


After achieving energy reduction of 10 percent or more within five years of program participation, nine Cemex USA ready mixed concrete operations have qualified for the Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Challenge for Industry Award. The plants are Iowa Colony (Arcola RM), Tomball, Houston (Cutten RM), Webster, Edinburg, San Benito (Harlingen) and El Paso (Section 10), Texas, plus La Luz and Ruidoso, N.M. Collectively, they cut energy intensity by 21 percent on average through replacement and use of more efficient parts and devices for dust collectors, conveyor belt pulleys, lighting and other power-consuming targets.

“[We are] committed to sustainable practices throughout our operations and these awards are a reflection of our ongoing commitment to be stewards of the environment through effective energy management practices,” says Cemex Texas/New Mexico Region President Scott Ducoff. “We are honored to be recognized by the EPA and Energy Star for our commitment to sustainable practices.”

“Achieving success with the Energy Star Challenge for Industry demonstrates continuous commitment to strong energy management practices that benefit the environment, our company and our customers,” adds Cemex USA Corporate Energy Manager–Process Technology & Sustainability Bhaskar Dusi.

Cemex is a corporate Energy Star program partner and active proponent of energy efficiency measures across integrated cement, aggregate and concrete operations. The EPA initiative focuses on strategic energy management and emphasizes the importance of demonstrating environmental leadership for future generations. The ready mixed concrete plant’s participation in Energy Star Challenge for Industry dovetails similar optimization efforts Cemex USA has applied to cement plant power consumption.