Industrial ecology


Cement manufacturing consumes large quantities of non renewable raw materials (minerals and fossil fuels). It is also an important source of CO2 emissions. In response to this environmental challenge, Lafarge has been committed to industrial ecology since the mid-70s by rethinking industrial processes to transform some industries' waste products into other industries' resources.

Why find uses for waste?

The Group is aware of the impact of its activities on the environment. As a result, Lafarge started thinking at a very early stage about ways of reconciling industrial imperatives with the preservation of ecosystems.

Adding value to waste by using it as alternative fuel or materials, makes it possible to:

  • limit greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of:
    • nonrenewable natural raw materials,
    • fossil fuels (oil, coal, etc.),
  • diversify energy resources and reduce energy costs by limiting dependence on the market for traditional fuels,
  • serve the community by recycling waste that would otherwise have to be processed and eliminated.


Within Lafarge, the use of alternative fuels has increased by more than 30% over the last 3 years. In 2010, 84% of its plants use alternative fuels allowing the Group to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of cement by 21.7%.



Recycling industrial waste

Recycling industrial waste

Give value to emmissions


Lafarge has run a pilot project at its Val d'Azergues cement plant (France) to cultivate micro-algae in order to absorb CO2 emissions from the kilns. These algae can then be used as biofuel.


CO2 and cement

Why does the manufacture of cement produce CO2?

Cement manufacturing is the source of 5% of global CO2 emissions. The cement industry is a natural producer of CO2:

  • 60% of emissions are due to the transformation of raw materials at high temperatures (the decarbonation of limestone),
  • 40% result from the combustion required to heat the cement kilns to 1500°C