Uganda - Hima coffee development project

3 January 2017

What if simple coffee husks could help the circular economy percolate while boosting local economic development and reducing the environmental footprint of our cement plant? This innovative project from our Geocycle teams in Uganda shows us how!


Supporting the circular economy with LafargeHolcim's innovative solutions

Coffee is of vital importance for Uganda’s economy, accounting for more than 22% of the total exports. As much as one-fifth of the entire population earn all or a large part of their income from coffee. And did you know that it also plays a major role in helping the Group reach its 2030 sustainable development goals in Uganda?

Coffee husks are a waste product of coffee milling that are commonly sent to landfill or burned for disposal. But our Geocycle waste management experts saw a way to harness the power of this humble by-product to put our operations on a low-carbon path. Since the mid-2000s, they have been helping the LafargeHolcim plant in Hima use biomass to fuel its cement kiln and dryer. A significant portion of this biomass comes from coffee husks, which acts as a replacement for fossil fuels. Today, over half of the thermal energy for the kiln comes from biomass rather than oil that must travel over 1,500 kilometers to reach the plant.

Discover our waste management solutions

Securing access to sustainable energy & local development

To meet the plant’s expanding use of biomass, LafargeHolcim developed a strategy to subsidize local coffee production. This would benefit farmers who previously couldn't afford coffee seedlings and reduce the cost of transport. After consultation with local stakeholders in 2011, the plant launched the Hima Coffee Development Project to secure sustainable access to renewable energy, while stimulating local economic growth and alleviating poverty. The program has three goals:

  • Raise household income for smallholder farmers
  • Reduce negative environmental impact of coffee husks
  • Provide the cement plant with an increased local supply of biomass residue


The LafargeHolcim 2030 Plan

By using wastes derived materials as an alternative energy source, replacing fossil fuels with carbon-neutral biomass and partnering with local communities for poverty reduction, our actions on the ground in Uganda contribute to three key pillars of our 2030 Plan: 

Circular Economy: we aim to use 80 million tonnes per year of waste derived resources to power our operations worldwide. This coffee husks project alone generates approximately 100 kilotonnes of biomass residues annually.

Climate: we have set an ambitious target of reducing our CO2 emissions by 40% per tonne of cement. Efforts in Uganda will help LafargeHolcim reach this goal by saving roughly 150 kilotonnes of CO2 savings every year.

People and Communities: we want to better provide answers to the challenges affecting the communities where we operate. In Hima, our teams have distributed roughly 16.7 million coffee seedlings to farmers to over 60,000 small scale farmers. The resulting income is expected to total CHF30 million by 2020 according to Geocycle Manager at Hima Cement Israel Tinkasimiire.

Learn about the 2030 Plan's other targets