For the third year in a row, the Lafarge Group has teamed up with the Paris city authorities to stage the Paris-Plage (Paris beach) event. Lafarge will supply and transport by river the 1,500 tonnes of sand needed to make up the various beaches (square in front of the Paris city hall, children's play area and beaches along the banks of the Seine). The company will also make a 400m² barge available to house a catering area—one of the new features of the 2005 Paris-Plage event.
This partnership reflects the decision by Lafarge, the principal aggregates producer in the Ile-de-France region, to contribute to the life of the city and its summertime festivities. The event provides an opportunity for it to combine a key material for urban development with a clean and environmentally friendly mode of transport.
Aggregates a key material for urban development
With over 400 million tonnes produced each year in France, aggregates are a key ingredient in concrete, the second most widely used raw material in the world after water. Aggregates (sand, crushed stone, gravel, etc.) play a key role in urban development and construction. For instance, 300,000 tonnes of aggregates were needed to build the Stade de France stadium, and around 100 to 300 tonnes are needed for a house. During 2004, over 28 million tonnes of aggregates were used in the construction, civil engineering and road-building markets of the Ile-de-France region.
A urban and environmentally friendly method of transportation
Most aggregates are distributed in Paris by water. This method of transportation, which is economically viable, also represents a major environmental benefit for the city as river transportation is an environmentally-friendly, safe, economic and punctual mode of transport. It does not generate any noise pollution or traffic congestion. As part of its emphasis on sustainable development, Lafarge prioritizes this method of transportation for its French aggregates business. It plans to invest €10 million over the next four years in refurbishing one quarter of its fleet. The delivery of the 1,500 tonnes of sand needed for the Paris-Plage event in a single convoy will dispense with the need for the equivalent of around 200 trucks or 100 train wagons.
Lafarge, the world leader in building materials, holds top-ranking positions in all four of its Divisions: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. Lafarge employs 77,000 people in 75 countries and posted sales of €14.4 billion in 2004.