The COP28 climate summit highlighted the need to make faster progress in cutting the world’s carbon emissions, with heavy industry playing a role in implementing reductions. With the Global Cement & Concrete Association reporting momentum in the cement sector reaching net zero, building solutions leader Holcim is doing its part to work towards ambitious, verified global sustainability goals across its entire value chain. Holcim US hit significant sustainability milestones in the US in 2023 with initiatives nationwide and even more planned for 2024.
“A realistic approach to a net-zero, fully sustainable future requires us to consider all facets of our operations and products,” said Michael LeMonds, Holcim US’ chief sustainability officer and vice president of ESG. “We’re committed to decarbonizing without compromise, transitioning to renewable energy, developing new carbon capture technology, and more as we drive the circular economy in leading by example.”
In one significant sign of its commitment, in 2023, Holcim became the first company in the cement sector to sign the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge, pledging to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent across a 10-year period.
Other major sustainability milestones from this year include:
Producing and selling record levels of sustainable products
- OneCem (PLC) volumes increased to 83 percent in 2023 compared to 57 percent in 2022, reducing approximately 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions
- ECOPact low-carbon concrete represented nearly 27 percent of Holcim US’ ready-mix volumes, tripling the volume in 2022 and reducing 123,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions
- Investing $100 million project at its Ste. Genevieve (Missouri) Cement Plant—the largest single-kiln line in the world—that will reduce net CO2 emissions by 400,000 tons per year
Accelerating the use of renewable energy
Implemented and announced initiatives to power 45 percent of operations with renewable energy (a significant increase from 10 percent in 2022)
- Holcim’s largest solar array in the Midwest broke ground at the Alpena (Michigan) cement plant
- Joined the New York Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) program to generate green energy with solar arrays on Holcim’s non-mineable aggregate sites and with offsite arrays within the agreement
- Combination solar power and battery energy storage system underway at the Portland (Colorado) cement plant
Replacing fossil fuels with alternative fuel
- Co-processed 400,000 metric tons of industrial byproducts into alternative fuels to power operations and 1.5 million metric tons of industrial byproducts into alternative raw materials to produce low-carbon cement
- New tire-derived fuel (TDF) facility went online at the Alpena cement plant, supported with grants from the State of Michigan
These efforts are only part of Holcim’s work toward the transition to net zero. From offering low-carbon cements and concretes to incorporating renewable energy to innovative carbon capture research, the company continues to put sustainability first.
“Holcim is leading the way in transforming its operations and products to enable strong, sustainable and resilient infrastructure and building development across the US,” said Zach Friedman, director of federal policy for nonprofit sustainability advocacy organization Ceres. “The company’s actions demonstrate a deep commitment to tackling the climate crisis with innovative solutions and with vital policy advocacy that aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
Market demand for sustainable building solutions is expected to grow, fueled by the Buy Clean initiative, which prioritizes US-made, low-carbon construction materials, and climate actions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act. Project owners, architects, engineers and others will continue to call for innovative, sustainable solutions and products that Holcim is uniquely poised to provide. Learn more here: https://www.holcim.us/sustainability.
About Holcim US
Holcim is a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions. Driven by its purpose to build progress for people and the planet, its 60,000 employees are trying to decarbonize buildings while improving living standards for all. In the United States, Holcim US includes nearly 350 sites in 43 states and employs 7,000 people. Our customers rely on us to help them design and build better communities with innovative solutions that deliver structural integrity and eco-efficiency. To learn more, visit holcim.us .
This article was originally published on December 14, 2023.