Interview: Sustainable Cement “Collaborating to Bring about Change for Cement Production”

Author / Editor: The interview is conducted by Senior Feature Writer, / Dominik Stephan

Technological advancements are not new to the current phase of increasing efficiency and sustainability. Managing Director – Business Applications, Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), Philippe Fonta, talks candidly on the various aspects of increasing cement sustainability at a global scale and the specific roadmap that has been developed for India. Excerpts of the interview…

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Potential growth of CCS in the Indian cement industry in the 2°C Scenario (2DS)
Potential growth of CCS in the Indian cement industry in the 2°C Scenario (2DS)
(Picture: CSI)

PROCESS: The Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) focuses on various aspects to curb CO2 emissions. What are the key aspects that have helped decrease CO2 emissions since the inception of the initiative in 1999?

PHILIPPE FONTA: The cement industry is energy-intensive and in order to make it sustainable for the future, there are certain aspects we need to concentrate on. Over the last 10 years, CSI has worked hand-in-hand with the industry to identify common methodologies of reporting, share best practices, reduce CO2 emissions, etc.

Since its inception, several aspects have been added to the program in order to increasingly expand the coverage of what we do. Initially this was to do with producing cement inside a plant and ways in which it could be improved. Now, however, we are making improvements in the upstream by looking at quarries and quarry rehabilitation and downstream with the use of cement in concrete and the use of concrete in construction. Thus, we are looking at making improvements in the entire lifecycle of the cement industry.

PROCESS: The initiative is a global one, then why the need to have a local initiative in India?

FONTA: Currently we have 10 members in India, three of which have their headquarters based in India—Ultratech Cement, Shree Cement and Dalmia Cement. Apart from these, we have international companies whose subsidiaries are based in India, such as Lafarge, Italcementi Group, Holcim, etc.

Having 10 members in one location meant that we needed to cater specifically to the Indian market. CSI deals at the global level; we cannot come up with a one-size-fits-all set of measures.

We needed to make sure that what we develop globally can be implemented locally and for that there was a need to understand the local context—what is applicable in India and what is not. However, CSI in India is linked to the global CSI; there is a constant exchange of agendas, and hence, it is not an independent entity.

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