Canada's cement sector releases first-ever sustainability report
In addition to being a silver sponsor of last month's Globe 2006 in Vancouver, the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) leveraged this key business event to launch the industry's first-ever sustainability report. Formally released by CAC chairman Alan Kreisberg, the 2006 Canadian Cement Industry Sustainability Report outlines the progress that the industry has made towards implementing the priorities outlined in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Cement Sustainability Initiative (WBCSD-CSI).
"The release of this report demonstrates to Canadians the extent to which the cement industry has embraced the principles of sustainable development," Kreisberg said, adding, "By measuring the performance of Canadian companies against the CSI commitments, we have shown that our interest is not only in making pledges, but also in being held accountable for results."
The report focuses on cement manufacturing and includes performance information from Canadian manufacturers of Portland grey cement as of 2004. It does not include information related to the manufacture of concrete. Portland cement is the key ingredient in concrete, even though only a small amount (7-15%) is used in making concrete. It functions as the "glue" holding the concrete mixture together.
Based on the CSI priorities, the report presents information on six themes: climate protection and CO2 management; responsible use of fuels and materials; emissions monitoring and reporting; local impacts on land and communities; employee health and safety; and innovation and sustainable industry solutions.
The cement industry has an established track record of developing innovative technologies and processes to reduce the industry's environmental footprint. In the 1990s, in response to concerns about smog and acid rain, Canadian cement producers installed new technologies such as low-NOx burners and baghouses to reduce emissions of NOx and fine particulate.
The production of cement, typically using a combination of limestone, clay and sand, requires intense heat in the kiln, in the range of 1,500 *C (2,732 *F). For this reason, the industry has devoted considerable effort to improving improved kiln efficiency and reducing GHG emissions per tonne of cementitious product. It is also working with the federal government to establish CO2 reduction targets.
Energy and raw material consumption are critical issues for the cement industry. The report notes that between 1990 and 2002, the sector improved its kiln fuel efficiency by 12%, reducing the amount of fuel required to produce each tonne of clinker (the pellets produced from the chemical reaction between the raw materials and the heat of the kiln).
Over half of Canadian cement plants have taken steps to reduce their fossil fuel use by turning to alternative fuels. By 2002, the percentage of total fuel derived from alternative sources reached 8% but has since declined, partly because of supply variations and competition to available materials. Biomass materials such as wood chips and sludge are becoming more important as a fuel source, offering an alternative to traditional fuels and reduced GHG emissions.
Other highlights of the report include the following.
*All 15 Canadian cement plants have emissions monitoring systems in place and make their emissions data available to the public.
*All facilities plants have in place as well a statement of business ethics and a documented health and safety management system.
*Thirteen plants are using alternative raw materials such as flyash, lime sludge, bottom ash or cement industry byproducts such as cement kiln dust in their production processes.
*Thirteen plants have established a systematic dialogue with stakeholders.
*Twelve plants have established a formal Environmental Management System (EMS).
*Eleven plants have rehabilitation plans in place for quarries.
*Ten plants have developed climate change mitigation strategies.
*Nine plants are using alternative fuels.
*Nine plants have developed biodiversity plans for the quarries from which they obtain their raw materials.
*Seven plants have community engagement plans in place for quarries.
*Six plants have drawn up rehabilitation plans in place for plants.
*Five plants have biodiversity plans in place for plants.
The CAC plans to publish subsequent sustainability reports every two years, enabling interested parties to monitor the industry's environmental, social and economic performance, progress on key sustainability initiatives and achievements of member companies. The Canadian Cement Industry 2006 Sustainability Report may be viewed on the CAC Web site, http://report.cement.ca. More information is also available from Sharon Daly at the CAC, 613/715-1350, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.