Swiss global cement producer Holcim Ltd has published its second sustainability report, signaling progress in a number of fields. "Building on the foundations" reports the company's performance across the triple bottom line of sustainable development over the past two years.
The sustainable development (SD) agenda of Holcim has developed and priority topics now range from corporate governance, energy and climate, and occupational health and safety, to community involvement and the willingness to engage with a variety of stakeholders.
The report is based on experiences over the past two years, on challenges faced, on suggestions from stakeholders, and upon the energy and commitment of the company's employees. They bring the concept of SD to life for the benefit of Holcim and society at large.
For the first time, Holcim is reporting in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines - a comprehensive set of indicators covering all aspects of SD.
Holcim also reports on its SD strategies and policies and the supporting structures and global networks. The report signals progress in a number of fields:
Economic performance: Cement products and activities come early in the value chain, and their indirect economic impacts are multiplied several times further along the chain in terms of employment, investments, private and public buildings, infrastructure and innovation. Over recent years, Holcim has invested significantly in emerging markets, where the strongest growth in demand is expected in the next years.
Energy and climate: Holcim is on track to reach its CO2 emission reduction target. Since 1990 the global average specific net CO2 emissions have been reduced by 12.9%. Investments in energy and process efficiency, the commissioning of more energy efficient plants and the increased use of mineral components and alternative fuels led to an improvement of specific emissions.
Quarry management and rehabilitation: Extraction of limestone affects the landscape as well as surrounding communities. Today 80% of Holcim operating, cement-related quarry sites have rehabilitation plans in place. Award-winning projects, such as wetland conservation in Vietnam and rehabilitation and reforestation initiative in many of its Group companies demonstrate how Holcim is conserving and restoring resources for the future.
Social responsibility: The involvement with neighboring communities has always been a mainstay of the company's engagement. Group companies engage in longer-term action in areas such as education, projects to build infrastructure for livable communities and sustainable community development.
Occupational health and safety (OH&S): Ensuring the health and safety of its employees, subcontractors, third parties and visitors is a major concern as the company must significantly improve to achieve its goal to have not a single injury resulting in death or permanent disability. Therefore OH&S has been designated as the principal focus for corporate social responsibility.
Stakeholder engagement: The external engagement activities of Holcim are reflected in the co-chairmanship of the Cement Sustainability Initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the participation in the UN Global Compact. In line with these commitments the first corporate stakeholder dialogue was held in December 2003.
This report covers the sustainability performance against new and existing targets in the cement business, which accounts for 74% of net sales of Holcim. The environmental and social performance data of the aggregates and concrete businesses will be reported in the next sustainability report due in 2006. SD performance data is updated on the company website on a yearly basis.
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Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries on all continents.
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