Fighting climate change


Lafarge is committed to reducing its worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 20% over the period 1990-2010. Lafarge Malawi is doing its part to help achieve this goal. This is why it has come up with DuraCrete, an innovative product that uses less clinker, and so reducing CO2 emissions.

Reducing CO2 emissions

Lafarge is aware of challenge which climate change presents for the entire planet. Since 2001, the Group committed itself to ambitious objectives in the framework of a pioneering partnership with WWF.


Lafarge has fulfilled and surpassed in advance its 2010 objectives, because of the context of the economic downturn, which has significantly impacted production volumes:

  • - 10% absolute gross emissions* in industrialized countries: they were cut by 36.5% in the Cement business between 1990 and 2010,
  • - 20% net emissions* per ton of cement produced worldwide: they fell by 21.7% between 1990 and 2010.


(* Gross/net emissions: net emissions equal gross emissions minus emissions related to the burning of waste.)


Going beyond plants

The construction sector accounts for 40% of the global energy demand, and for 30% of the overall greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2011, the Group announced it 2nd generation commitments, set up in the framework of the partnership with WWF International. Lafarge's 3 new targets for 2015 and 2020 are in line with a comprehensive, ambitious and original approach. They go beyond plants CO2 emissions and encapsulate the entire construction chain:

  • Reducing CO2 emissions per ton of cement produced by 33% between 1990 and 2020;
  • Developing 10 innovative products ranges and contributing to 500 sustainable construction projects by 2015;
  • Promoting CO2 performance enhancement policies which are adapted to Lafarge's industry in international and professional organizations.


Relying on industrial ecology and innovation

To meet these objectives, the Group is:

  • reducing energy consumption,
  • modernizing its plants and constantly improving its industrial processes,
  • developing industrial ecology through alternative fuels and industrial waste, particularly slag, fly ash and pozzolan, to manufacture cement.


Lafarge also invests in research to:

  • develop clinker which produces less CO2. For example, new clinkers Aether incorporate less limestone and can be heated to lower temperatures, which will allow a 25 to 30% cut in CO2 emissions.
  • perfect processes which make more efficient use of energy,
  • optimize the composition of concrete and improve recycling.

CO2 and cement

Where does the CO2 released during the cement manufacturing process come from?

  • 60% of total emissions come from CO2 contained naturally in limestone, the principal raw material,
  • 40% is generated by the consumption of fossil fuels required to raise the temperature of the cement plant furnace to 1500°C

Industrial ecology

Industrial ecology improves the way environmental factors (energy resources, natural raw materials, etc.) are integrated into business strategies. Industrial ecology takes its inspiration from the cyclical way in which natural ecosystems operate. Just as nature goes through cycles of production, destruction and recycling, industrial waste from certain activities can serve as raw material or fuel for other industries


CDP ranking

In 2010, Lafarge is n°6 worldwide in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) TOP 50, a non financial rating agency. The CDP is the reference questionnaire on reducing CO2 emissions and managing climate change challenges. Lafarge is the 1st French company in this ranking where the Group has been present for the last 3 years.

Implementing Clean Development Mechanisms

Lafarge conducts a number of projects aimed at implementing Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

Three projects have already been recognized by the CDM Executive Committee:

  • in Morocco, the Tetouan wind farm supplies 50% of the electricity used by the local Lafarge cement plant,
  • in Malaysia, 5% of the thermal energy for the Rawang and Kanthan cement plants comes from biomass,
  • in India, fly ash from conventional power plants is recycled for use in cement.


These 3 Clean Development Mechanisms provide annual savings of 160,000 tons of CO2, an environmental benefit equivalent to planting 10.6 million trees per year!


A 4th project was approved by the CDM Executive Committee early 2011: in the Philippines, the Teresa cement plant will recover the waste heat released during the production of cement to transform it into electricity, covering 31% of the plant's energy requirements. The greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by almost 12,000 tonnes

Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM)

The Kyoto Protocol does not set limitations on CO2 emissions for developing countries but it does encourage the adoption of alternative mechanisms.

Companies which finance CO2 emission reduction projects in developing countries are compensated with carbon credits.

CDMs. are designed to promote the development of better technologies in emerging economies while enabling industrialized countries to earn carbon credits