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Editorial comment

With the challenges facing the environment and the knock-on impacts on humanity becoming ever clearer, global industries are taking note, applying their expertise, and adapting their processes to becoming more sustainable. Cement is amongst these industries, deploying new technologies and novel processes to lessen its environmental footprint.


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With the challenges facing the environment and the knock-on impacts on humanity becoming ever clearer, global industries are taking note, applying their expertise, and adapting their processes to becoming more sustainable. Cement is amongst these industries, deploying new technologies and novel processes to lessen its environmental footprint.

LafargeHolcim has joined 12 other US and Global Fortune 500 companies to issue a call for action on climate change, including an economy-wide carbon pricing policy. The initiative, known as The CEO Climate Dialogue aims to build bipartisan support for climate policies, increase regulatory and business certainty, reduce climate risk, and spur the investment and innovation needed to meet science-based emissions reduction targets. Jamie Gentoso, CEO of US Cement – LafargeHolcim, was quoted as saying: “Tackling the challenge of climate change is no easy task, and as industry leaders, we have an opportunity to join forces to advocate for climate legislation. It is critical we begin to set durable and achievable goals that help safeguard the environment while reducing our carbon footprint.”

In Europe, the Low Emissions Intensity Lime & Cement (LEILAC) project continues apace. Construction of the pilot has been completed and testing is now due to commence, marking a significant milestone in the project’s development. The core technology behind LEILAC is known as ‘Direct Separation’. Developed by Australian company, Calix, Direct Separation modifies the process flows of a calciner, indirectly heating the limestone in a special steel vessel. This process allows pure CO2 to be captured from the limestone whilst keeping furnace exhaust gases separate.

HeidelbergCement has become the first cement company to gain approval for science-based CO2 reduction targets. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) assesses and validates corporate emissions reductions targets against actual climate science. Dr Bernd Scheifele, Chairman of the Managing Board of HeidelbergCement, stated: “Concrete has the potential to become the most sustainable building material […] Our goal is to realise the vision of CO2-neutral concrete by 2050 at the latest.”

CEMEX recently announced that it has received the most Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) certifications of any company in Mexico. With three cement plants granted certifications this year, the company has now gained eight in total for its Mexican operations since 2016. The WHC’s most recent certifications are focused on projects that promote the restoration of natural areas. Whilst steering a new course can present challenges, it can also represent a massive opportunity for those with the will and expertise to make the most of the situation and drive the industry forward.


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