The focus on climate change and the impact of different sectors on carbon emissions and the environment has put our industry in the frame as one of the most significant global contributors.
However, many of us have been and will continue to work hard to reduce this – making serious pledges to adapt our operations. This is why CEMEX has announced a Climate Action strategy: Future in Action, with a global target set to achieve 35% CO2 reduction by 2025 and 40% by 2030. This goal is validated to the well-below 2°C scenario of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). In Europe, the target is a 55% reduction by 2030 and CEMEX is the first company in its sector to align to the EU’s aspiration to achieve this across all member states.
Cementing pledges into pillars
To drive towards achieving these targets all our business units now work under four clearly defined action pillars:
- Sustainable Products and Solutions
- Decarbonising Our Operations
- Innovation and Partnerships
- Promoting a Green Economy
By focusing on these four pillars, all our operations can play their part and help to make the business sustainable, ensuring we can achieve our targets. Focussing purely on our global vision can be overwhelming. But by breaking down our strategy into action pillars means that every employee can see where they can make an impact and be inspired to see where and how they work with fresh eyes.
We encourage all employees to think creatively and be empowered to suggest ideas to improve sustainability. Not only can they make a difference at their location, but we can also apply their innovations to other sites across the country.
This is particularly apparent in the work being done to save water by our asphalt, readymix and mortar plants. We understand that industry can put pressure on the water cycle, but if we reduce the water we use and recycle our water where possible, we can lessen that pressure and help make our demands on nature more sustainable.
Innovating to save water across our sites
Water saving efforts have been mainly focused on resource efficiency and capturing and reusing rainwater. At our Castleford Mortar Plant, the team replaced the high-volume pumps used to clean the trucks and yard with high pressure, low volume lances to reduce water consumption. This resulted in reduced mains water as well as energy consumption, and reduced the volume of wastewater discharge from the site. The lances operated using 3kw motors as opposed to the traditional high-volume pumps which operated with between 7.5-11kw motors; meaning water usage was reduced by 36% while the time taken to utilise them was also reduced.
At our Salford Asphalt Plant and Depot, rainwater is collected at various points around the site via a system of pumps and tanks. This has allowed for the storage of roughly 70,000 litres of water which can now be used in dust suppression and in the wheel wash. As a result, the mains water usage has reduced, improving efficiency and reducing costs.
At our Oakengates Readymix plant, empty intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) were utilised to harvest surface water to reuse when recirculation water for concrete was running low. When needed for use in the concrete the IBCs can be drained off into the recirculation system. When it rains the IBCs are filled with 10,000 litres of extra water. This system allows mains water usage to be reduced and prevents water discharge from the site. This type of system has been utilised at several of our other plants around the country.
Simple solutions making a big impact
These are just a few examples of the efforts that are being made by our locations to reduce their water use. The solutions are relatively simple and straightforward to implement but can have a real impact. Employees on these sites have been able to see first-hand what a difference it makes and how easy these ideas have been to action, which in turn empowers them to suggest further innovations.
Not only does this work benefit the environment, but it also offers financial benefits – reducing energy consumption and costs. While we should all be adapting our operations to help the world around us, this does not necessarily mean it has to come at a cost to the bottom line.
We all have a role to play to ensure that future generations can enjoy the planet as we have done and cutting our water use is just one of the changes we need to make. At CEMEX, we believe that every one of our sites, and every single person in our business, can make a positive impact.
Find out more about CEMEX’s global plan for climate action here.