Environmental Excellence for Responsible Growth
Environmental Excellence for Responsible Growth
For CEMEX, reaching environmental excellence is a main objective. We dedicate significant efforts to address key sustainability-related issues, from biodiversity and conservation to renewable energy, climate change and emissions monitoring.
- CEMEX Environmental Management System (EMS)
- KPIs and standard protocols follow up
- Emissions monitoring and reporting
- Biodiversity and conservation efforts
- Waste and water management
- Regulation updates, trends and new technologies
- Promotion of best practices throughout our operation
To access CEMEX's Environmental Policy please click here.
As part of our sustainability efforts, we continuously strive to find ways to meet the demands of a growing urban society without compromising the planet for future generations.
We’re creating new purposes for materials that traditionally would have entered the landfill, providing our communities with an effective and secure way to alleviate the social, economic and environmental issues associated with municipal waste management. For example, our alternative fuels program is a key part of our sustainable manufacturing.
Through co-processing – the utilization of waste from other industries as a source of energy –we’re contributing to a circular economy. Over the past decade, our alternative fuels substitution rate has risen almost six-fold, from 5.1% in 2005 to more than 25% in 2020.
Thanks to these efforts, 94% of our waste has been recovered, reused, and recycled, meaning only 6% of the waste generated by our operations is sent to disposal sites.
ADVANCING OUR WASTE REDUCTION MANAGEMENT
At CEMEX, we dispose of the waste generated by our production processes in accordance to local regulations. In terms of operational waste streams, cement kiln dust represents the largest amount of waste we produce. We try to reuse it in production and other processes as much as possible and seek to monitor, minimize, reuse and recycle all of our wastes when possible.
To minimize the amount of generated waste sent for disposal, we have integrated waste management into our operations in several respects. We reuse many of the by-products of our operations—for example, cement kiln dust (CKD)—in our production process. We commonly add CKD to finished products and use it to stabilize waste or for environmental remediation. We seek additional beneficial uses for any CKD produced and, through good operational practices, keep to a minimum the proportion that we send to landfills. The rest of our operations produce comparatively little waste.
Other efforts include:
- Monitoring of hazardous and nonhazardous waste generation in all of our operations
- Replacing primary aggregates with other discarded materials (e.g. demolished concrete)
- Reusing and recycling fresh concrete returned from construction sites
For more information on CEMEX's position regarding Aggregates Recycling please click here.
Thanks to these efforts, 95% of our waste has been recovered, reused, and recycled, meaning only 5% of the waste generated by our operations is sent to disposal sites.
In addition to minimizing the waste produced by our operations, we are increasingly using society's waste—chipped tires, sewage sludge, household waste, and biomass such as rice and coffee husks, sawdust, and palm residues—as alternative fuels in our cement kilns. In the process, we are diverting societal waste from landfills and using it to displace fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions. We are also using by-products from the steel and power industries, such as fly ash and blast furnace slag, as alternative cementitious materials to reduce the percentage of clinker in our production process and help reduce energy consumption.
CEMEX Environmental Management System
We are devoted to conducting business minimizing the impacts and protecting the environment of sites and communities in which we operate. This commitment is documented in the CEMEX Environmental Policy and is systematically implemented across the world through a risk-based framework known as the CEMEX Environmental Management System (EMS).
Our EMS integrates key mechanisms for environmental performance enhancement and impact assessment, stakeholder engagement, and response to events with input from a range of subject matter experts and specialists. We have management teams responsible for the EMS across all locations who annually carry out internal audits across all sites. The CEMEX EMS is aligned with global environmental standards such as the ISO 14001 and the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme.
During 2020, we made progress in our global EMS implementation and reached 97% of our company’s facilities across all businesses, compliant with our internal environmental management standards. Also, we have 97% of our cement sites certified with ISO 14001.
Additionally, you can revise CEMEX's position on Environmental Management and Biodiversity here
Enhancing Air Quality
Cement production releases different types of pollutants into the environment, mainly as airborne emissions, which must be strictly controlled. The major emissions our operations release are dust, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur compounds, which are often subject to national legislation and local regulation. Other pollutants, such as dioxins, furans, volatile organic compounds, and heavy metals, are usually found in very small quantities in emissions from our cement plants. We have comprehensive continuous and discontinuous systems in place to monitor the release of major and minor emissions.
Our efforts include:
- Investing in equipment to reduce major emissions (dust, NOx, SOx),
- Establishing the “status analysis” for minor emissions at cement kilns (evaluating the emissions “fingerprint” of each kiln to determine if additional controls are needed),
- Developing guidelines for handling fuels and emissions,
- Participating in industry-based efforts and multi-stakeholder dialogues to develop methods for addressing mercury and dioxin emissions,
- Reporting emissions in accordance with the CSI reporting protocol.
In addition, we are working diligently to monitor, measure and reduce our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as part of our broad-based effort to address climate change. We are increasingly using alternative fuels and renewable energy sources to generate power for our operations. We invest in wind, hydro power, and waste-to-energy projects that power our operations and help us reduce our CO2 emissions.
Our quarrying and cement manufacturing activities give rise to emissions of noise and vibration that can have a negative impact on the health and well-being of workers as well as the surrounding community.
We work to mitigate the noise associated with our operations through operational controls and local measures such as noise suppressors, regulation of distance between noise sources and operators, isolation of noise sources, scheduling of blasting activities, and the provision of ear protectors to employees working in areas where noise levels exceed noise limits. These controls conform to the standards and requirements of our environmental management system and local regulations.
To minimize traffic congestion, and as part of our sustainable transport approach, we seek alternative ways to transport our raw materials and products. For example, many sites use conveyor belts to transport raw materials from the quarry, which reduces noise, congestion, and the likelihood of traffic accidents while also conserving fuel use. We seek alternative modes of transport—for example, multimodal systems comprising road, rail, and water transport—wherever feasible to reduce these impacts. The ultimate impact of these efforts is to reduce noise, vibration, energy use, CO2 emissions, and costs.
Protecting the natural resources society relies on is an important part of the sustainable development of urban environments.
Natural ecosystems are intrinsically valuable and provide essential services to people, sequestering carbon, providing fresh water and supporting food production and disease prevention.
Rapid urbanization, climate change, energy demand, biodiversity loss and water scarcity are global issues that will exert significant demands on businesses and society over the next decades.
MANAGING WATER TO MINIMIZE USE
Water is of paramount importance to CEMEX. It is used in several stages during the production process of cement, ready-mix and aggregates as well as for cleaning plants, trucks and equipment. To protect this natural resource and help our business flourish, we work to increase our water efficiency and control our water waste.
Our Corporate Water Policy defines our global strategy for responsible consumption and acts as a framework for the development of local water conservation and management across our operations worldwide.
BIODIVERSITY ACTION PLANS (BAPS)
Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) are CEMEX’s principal tool for achieving a net positive impact on biodiversity. CEMEX and BirdLife International have created a standard for the development of BAPs to ensure individual operations are able to thoroughly and systematically produce their own tailored to the particular biodiversity values associated with the operations and challenges they face. This work is guided by our Corporate Biodiversity Policy, which is fully integrated into our business model in all countries and operations, and aligned with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
SUPPORTING THE EUROPEAN UNION’S NATURE CONSERVATION POLICY
In recognition of the value and achievements of our national partnerships with BirdLife, BirdLife Europe and CEMEX issued a joint statement wholeheartedly supporting the European Union’s Nature Conservation Policy.
PRESERVING EL CARMEN
Since 2001, CEMEX has been preserving nature and sharing its wonder through El Carmen, a private trans boundary conservation area in Mexico owned and managed by CEMEX and other private landowners.
Comprising five different ecosystems, the wilderness reserve is home to a myriad species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
With an area of 140,356 hectares, the reserve is eight-times larger than the amount of area CEMEX has dedicated to operations worldwide.
Today, El Carmen is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots and trans boundary ecosystems in the world.
CONSERVATION & NATURE BOOK SERIES
Since 1993 CEMEX has had the privilege to work with some of the world’s most prestigious and dedicated conservation organizations to publish provocative books that illustrate the need to preserve and protect our environment.
This series is part of our commitment to promote among our stakeholders a culture of biodiversity awareness and conservation, as well as to raise awareness of the interconnected nature of biodiversity and climate change. We publish a new book each year that illustrates strategies and diverse approaches to foster the protection of our natural world and is complemented by powerful images from the world's best nature photographers. We have distributed these books through public and private sectors as well as universities, where they are used as a reference tool by experts in several fields. We have donated thousands of the books to conservation organizations to help them fund their projects.
To know more about CEMEX Conservation & Nature Book Series click here
CEMEX NATURE SITE
To further promote a culture of appreciation and respect for nature across the global community, CEMEX is launching the CEMEX Nature Site, using the dynamics of social media channels to reinforce the impact of the published books. The site will go beyond extracts from the most recent books to include information about CEMEX’s other biodiversity and environmental projects.
We welcome you to visit CEMEX Nature Site: www.cemexnature.com
We are determined to find opportunities to meet the demands of a growing society through effective and secure ways to alleviate the social, economic and environmental issues.
REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT FROM OUR OFFICES
In localities where administrative processes are carried, we seek gradually to implement the system “3 R's of Environment”: Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling to manage effectively the resources we use to do our work. At CEMEX we have realized that the implementation of this system is not only the right way to act, but this system has proved its business case in the company providing savings and significant gains that help us countersign the implementation of this initiative throughout our worldwide operations.
One of the actions we have promoted is reducing the use of printing paper and eliminated paper towels for drying hands in offices, replacing this by electric hand dryers. Only in the corporate offices we have managed to save 1.2 million paper towels in a year, this is equivalent to 127 trees.
We have also put into operation a test program consisting of the installation of some lighting control devices to reduce our energy consumption. Thanks to this measure at the Corporate Hedquarters, we have reduced around 65% of our electricity use in offices, bathrooms, meeting rooms, halls, and other frequently used spaces.
We have installed some containers to reuse sheets that have been used only on one side. The containers are located generally next to a printer; the goal is that employees use these papers to print non official documents.
Also, some of our administrative operations have their own water treatment plants in order to give the water other uses such as watering gardens.
We reused some materials and appliances for some remodeling projects in our buildings such as air conditioning systems, steel products, furniture, etc.
As an example of recycling in almost all our administrative offices we have implemented trash cans to separate paper, organic, plastics, and other type of wastes. We send these wastes to recycling centers.
For some of the recent remodeling projects across our operations, we acquired new furniture produced from recycled sources.
INSTIGATING GREEN POWER
Some of our offices around the world receive electricity from clean sources, for example the main offices in Mexico receive clean energy from our EURUS wind farm in Oaxaca.
We also have made some agreements with photovoltaic panels, solar heaters, LED Bulbs companies to get preferential prices on quality products for our employees. We are expanding these agreements to our operations in other countries. More than 500 solar panels have been installed to date.
Two conferences about home energy saving were held in Mexico, employees could follow the discussions via Webcast. Technologies such as efficient air conditioning systems, solar heaters, solar cells, LED bulbs, etc. were presented during the talks. Some tips to reduce energy and water consumptions were given as well.
GREEN BUILDING POLICY
Recognizing the potential negative impacts associated with the design, construction and operation of our buildings, CEMEX has implemented a new policy focused primarily on our administrative and industrial buildings that are our property as well as those in which we have a lease contract. The policy requires that our new facilities have an accreditation by an international green building certification such as LEED or BREEAM. This new policy in CEMEX will help us to find opportunity gaps to reduce our consumption of non-renewable resources. To learn more about this policy click here.
Green Building policy includes the sustainable use of water. In order to achieve LEED or BREEAM accreditations, it is necessary to implement low water consumption technologies and infrastructure that captures rainwater.
SUSTAINABILITY MOBILITY AND HOME OFFICE
We have implemented a sustainable mobility program in the corporate building to address the problem of traffic congestion in the city of Monterrey, promoting the use of shared car or “carpooling” among employees, reducing gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with employee commuting, and contributing to reduce traffic in the city. Some priority parking spaces have been designated for employees who participate in carpooling, as well as for employees who drive electric or hybrid cars. A charging station for electric cars was installed next to the priority parking places, in which the electricity is supplied from our Eurus wind farm, making the mobility of these cars carbon-free.
In our corporate offices in Monterrey a drive tests program of electric and hybrid cars was implemented, the program’s goal was to give our employees the opportunity to test these vehicles and know more about their environmental and economic benefits. More than 100 drive tests were held during the program.
In our operations where bicycle mobility is common, we provide facilities and adequate spaces to park the bicycles.
We also allow our employees to work remotely when they have personal issues to attend to, as long as the characteristics of the work permit it, for example, work done primarily in a computer.