Ten major cement companies have today published their Agenda for Action on Sustainable Development. 'Our Agenda for Action,' produced by the Cement Sustainability Initiative, is the next step of a project spearheaded by 10 of the world's largest cement producers. It aims to facilitate actions and accelerate progress on the move toward sustainable development. It was produced in association with the Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
The ten companies in the Cement Sustainability Initiative are Cemex (Mexico), Cimpor (Portugal), HeidelbergCement (Germany), Holcim (Switzerland), Italcementi (Italy), Lafarge (France), RMC (United Kingdom), Siam Cement (Thailand), Taiheiyo (Japan) and Votorantim (Brazil). Together, these companies produce about one third of global cement supply and operate in two thirds of the world's cement markets.
The Agenda follows a three-year program of scoping, independent research and stakeholder consultation, and focuses on six priority issues: climate protection, fuels and raw materials, employee health and safety, emissions reduction, local impacts and internal business processes.
Launching the agenda, business leaders from all ten companies issued the following joint statement:
"Sustainable development provides us with a comprehensive framework for tackling some of the biggest issues facing the industry today, such as climate change. We believe it is central to our progress towards creating effective, efficient businesses in the 21st century.
"We are committed to taking forward the projects and actions in this report, and we ask you to judge us on our success when we report on our progress in 5 years' time. But we cannot achieve our goals alone. The Cement Sustainability Initiative aims to work with other sectors of society who have important roles to play in helping us address these key issues. Most importantly, we actively invite other cement companies to join with us on the journey towards a more sustainable future."
The Agenda for Action sets out the first of several five-year programs by the 10 companies, and will report on progress in 2005 and 2007.
Key projects are:
- All ten companies will publish individual performance data and targets for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2006. To this end, they will apply their recently developed CO2 Protocol (part of the WBCSD-WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative) to measure, monitor and report on their emissions.
- Stakeholder dialogues will be held to develop guidelines for the use of fuels and raw materials in cement kilns, particularly industrial by-products and waste. All ten companies will apply the guidelines across their operations once agreed and validated.
- A Health and Safety Task Force, which has already been set up, will frame common reporting practices and share best practice.
- A protocol for measurement, monitoring and public reporting of emissions will be developed.
- Common guidelines for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) will be designed in consultation with key stakeholders
- Key performance indicators on sustainable development will be established for the cement industry.
"The Agenda for Action is unique in that it outlines individual actions and joint commitments being taken by the ten companies in response to independent research. I hope other cement companies will join these ten in implementing the actions it sets out," said Mostafa Tolba, former Executive Director of UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) who chaired the assurance process for the research phase of the project.
Bjorn Stigson, President of the WBCSD, welcomed the report, saying: "This is a unique program. These 10 cement companies have made a strategic decision to tackle the sustainability challenges head on. It is the first time an industry, using extensive research and stakeholder consultation, has critically examined its own performance on sustainable development, and then set out a specific plan to improve it."
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a coalition of 160 international companies united by a shared commitment to sustainable development. Members are drawn from more than 30 countries and 20 major industrial sectors. The WBCSD benefits from a regional network of 38 national and regional business councils located primarily in the developing world.
'Our Agenda for Action', produced by the Cement Sustainability Initiative, is available on the WBCSD website at www.wbcsdcement.org.