Climate change and Energy

Climate change is a defining challenge for the 21st century and the construction sector as a whole. As a major emitter of greenhouse gases, we are aware and accept our responsibility to minimize and offset these emissions through our actions. Therefore we have developed a comprehensive climate and energy strategy based on three areas: improving building energy efficiency, reducing our emissions, and promoting responsible climate and energy policies.

 

A comprehensive climate change and energy strategy revolving around three areas

 

Improving building energy efficiency

Buildings energy consumption

Today, buildings consume 90% of their total energy during usage through heating, lighting and air-conditioning. With existing technologies, including cement and concrete based solutions, it is possible to reduce this energy consumption by 60-80%.

As a leading building materials manufacturer, we have developed a number of solutions to improve energy efficiency in buildings:

  • high performance insulating concretes and construction systems;
  • positive energy houses built in partnership with home builders;
  • solutions for sustainable cities developed with urban planning agencies.

 

We are also leading the EEB initiative (Energy Efficiency in Buildings) within the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in order to achieve 80% reduction in building energy consumption by 2050.

As a signatory to the Manifesto for Energy Efficiency in Buildings, we have reached 12% reduction in energy consumption across our offices in one year.

 

In Spain, we are working on Madrid 0.0, which will be the first NZEB (near zero energy building) housing in Madrid. The challenge of climate change is pushing us to innovate in solutions like Hydromedia™ or Agilia® screed A.

Estefania, Architect and Construction Specialist - Spain
 

Reducing direct and indirect emissions

A complete strategy to reduce direct and indirect emissions

Lafarge was the first cement company committed to reduce its CO2 emissions. Today, our target is to reduce our CO2 emissions per ton of cement by 33% by 2020. End of 2014, we had already achieved a 26.4% reduction.

We have focused on three established levers to reduce our emissions:

  • Emissions from our industry
    • We constantly work on improving kiln energy efficiency through the implementation at all our cement plants of a world-class operating model.
    • We have significantly improved our use of alternative fuels, reaching an average substitution rate of 20.7% in 2014, resulting in a CO2 reduction of 6.3 million tons. Besides, our biomass fuel use accounted for 38% of our overall alternative fuel use in 2014 – significantly higher than the 30% we targeted in our 2020 Sustainability Ambitions program.  
    • Accordingly to our customers’ requirements, we continuously reduce the quantity of clinker in our cement, mostly responsible for greenhouse emissions.
    • In addition to addressing industrial performance, we are also harnessing R&D to develop new lower carbon cements.

 

  • Emissions from electricity generation

Where it is feasible and economically viable, we make efforts to use renewable energy to reduce our CO2 emissions linked to electricity generation, mainly buying energy from more sustainable sources.

  • Emissions from transportation of products

At country level, we work on optimizing distribution towards rail and water transport to reduce our CO2 emissions related to product and materials transportation.

 

Promoting strong climate and energy policy

Bruno Lafont, Lafarge Chairman and CEO

We are strong advocates of responsible energy and climate policies, particularly through our participation and leadership in associations such as European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). These key positions helped us support the introduction of policies that eliminate subsidized fossil fuels, establish a meaningful price on carbon while avoiding ‘carbon leakage’, and promote long-term price stability to avoid volatility in carbon markets that would be detrimental to investment.

Bruno Lafont, Lafarge Chairman and CEO, takes part and leads all kinds of events to discuss the role that the private sector can play in the development of solutions to fight climate change. For example, Bruno Lafont is co-chairman of the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) and Energy Efficiency in Building (EEB) initiative run by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and a member of the Executive Committee of the WBCSD. He chairs the Energy and Climate Change working group of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), and is also Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission of the Medef, the French employers' federation.

We also believe that policies should also encourage energy efficiency and innovation in the value chain, especially in the building sector, to lead to greater reductions in CO2 emissions.

 

Public position: Our messages in view of an agreement on climate change at Paris COP21 (pdf, 88.78 KB)

 

Our solutions to fight climate change

 
What if concrete could help cut buildings’ electricity bills and make cities greener and more sustainable? With our range of insulating concretes Thermedia®, it is possible. Their formulation improves insulation and energy performance of residential buildings and office space by reducing heat loss.
 
Cements with less clinker and less CO2 emissions, but with high level mechanical performance and great workability: this is the combination provided by our lower carbon footprint cements. Not to mention they also improve the long-term strength of concrete for constructions, buildings and infrastructure that last longer!