Lafarge, the world leader in building materials, announces today that it has received France's “Renewable Energy Award” for its commitment to using renewable energy sources in its production sites and for the numerous initiatives taken by the Group to promote the use of renewable energy. The award, presented by the French Syndicate for Renewable Energy highlighted Lafarge's wind farm which provides electricity to one of its most important cement plants in Morocco.
The wind farm, which was inaugurated in September 2005, provides 50% of the electrical needs of Lafarge's cement plant in Tetouan, Northern Morocco thanks to 12 wind turbines which, together, generate a total output of 10 MW. The farm will help curtail climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30,000 tons a year - the equivalent of planting 2 million trees. It has been recognized as a Clean Development Mechanism by the United Nations CDM Executive Board, the first of its kind in France. Lafarge is also looking into other opportunities to use renewable energy.
As part of its commitment to the environment and to sustainable development, the Group has been working for a number of years to reduce its worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. This commitment was formalized in a pioneering partnership made with the WWF in 2000 in which the Group set itself the voluntary objective of reducing its net CO2 emissions by 20% per ton of cement produced worldwide over the period 1990 to 2010. It should be noted that this commitment goes far beyond the target set by the Kyoto Protocol, under which industrialized countries (Annex I) must reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases during the period 2008-2012 by 5.2% compared to1990. In 2005, the Group recorded a 12.7% reduction in CO2 emissions.
A second CDM project, in Malaysia, which substitutes alternative, biomass energy sources for fossil fuels, has also recently been approved by the CDM Executive Board, representing a reduction of 60,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year, or the equivalent of 4 million trees. Lafarge is currently developing two other CDM projects, one in India and another in Brazil.
Today, convinced that its commitment toward society should extend beyond the borders of its own industrial sites to cover the entire value creation chain of the construction industry, from suppliers to end customers, Lafarge has been focusing on sustainable construction. As such it has taken various steps to promote more sustainable methods of construction. Indeed, sustainable construction was one of priorities outlined in the renewal of its partnership with the WWF in 2005.
Examples of the Group's commitment to sustainable construction include:
- Hypergreen, a concept of a mixed-use, environmentally responsible tower building, designed for the world's mega-cities in partnership with the French architect Jacques Ferrier. Hypergreen is designed to be environmentally responsible throughout its entire life-cycle thanks to its use of renewable energy sources and high performance building materials, such as Ductal®.
- The creation of a university chair in the science of materials for sustainable construction with leading centers of academic excellence in France and major international universities such as MIT and Berkeley.
- Lafarge has a key role in the United Nations Environmental Program project on Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative which aims to promote and support sustainable solutions in the building and construction sector.
- With the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Lafarge is co-leading a 3-year project to transform the building industry such that by 2050 buildings will consume zero net energy and operate with minimal environmental impact while being economically viable to construct. These buildings will be consistently eco-efficient, aesthetically pleasing and profitable.
- In France, Lafarge is a founding member of Fondation Bâtiment Energie, which provides financing for R&D projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption and to encourage greater use of renewable energy sources in the building sector.
The use of renewable energy is part of the Lafarge's commitment to sustainability. The Group has been pursuing a strategy of sustainable development for many years because it believes that long-term value is best created when considering the interests of the community and environment in which it operates. This strategy reflects the Group's core values and combines industrial know-how, performance, value creation, respect for employees and local cultures, environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources and energy.
Note to Editors:
Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in all four of its businesses: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. With 80,000 employees in 76 countries, Lafarge posted sales of Euros 16 billion in 2005.
Lafarge has been committed to sustainable development for many years, pursuing a strategy that combines industrial know-how with performance, value creation, respect for employees and local cultures, environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources and energy. Lafarge is the only company in the construction materials sector to be listed in the 2006 ‘100 Global Most Sustainable Corporations in the World'. To make advances in building materials, Lafarge places the customer at the heart of its concerns. It offers the construction industry and the general public innovative solutions bringing greater safety, comfort and quality to their everyday surroundings.