The commitment to safeguarding water is an integral part of our sustainability strategy. We recognize access to water and sanitation as a human right and promote initiatives to reduce the risk of water supply, especially in the most vulnerable areas.
Water is the key element for the survival of our communities and ecosystems. Water supply is essential for any industry, including our sector, as well as for agriculture and energy production. At the same time climate change is increasing the frequency and impact of water crises. Water availability and its safeguarding are therefore crucial for sustainable development and for our sustainability strategy.
Sustainable water management is our duty considering the different environmental and social context of the countries where we operate. High water stress and areas of potential depletion need priority intervention in our water improvement path as a part of our climate change strategy.
All group production plants are equipped with systems and procedures to monitor consumption and wastewater. In our cement production processes, which accounts more than 75% of the whole Group water consumption, water is used principally for cooling equipment, reducing the temperature of the gases exiting the kilns, de-dusting and cleaning activities. In wet and semi-wet processes, the consumption is higher due to water vaporization during the production phases. In ready-mix concrete production, water is instead used as raw material.
Our commitment for a more sustainable water management
We believe that the management framework most consistent with our sustainability strategy for a responsible use of water is the implementation and maintenance of an environmental management systems compliant with the ISO 14001 standard. In 2022, 92% of total cement production took place at sites where the Environmental Management System is certified ISO 14001. We aim to obtain the mentioned certification for all cement plants by 2025.
- Water supply is considered in the risk / opportunity assessment of our activities. We carry out regular monitoring of water risk considering the location of our assets and local specific stress conditions.
- We promote efficient water management practices, through, but not limited to, recycling / reusing, minimization of freshwater withdrawals, containment of wastewater discharges, minimization of water losses, use of alternative water resources, development of sustainable products also by leveraging circularity. Such initiatives are even more important at cement production sites located in high water stress areasaccording to the World Resources Institute's “Aqueduct” risk map.
- We adopt a system for the monitoring, control and periodic progress reporting in each site in achieving the objectives according to internationally recognized indicators.
- We develop a constructive collaboration relationship, based on maximum openness and trust, towards local communities and institutions because we believe in sharing the challenges for water conservation as a common resource.
- We encourage employees and third parties along the supply chain to develop and demonstrate responsible behavior toward sustainable water use and safeguarding.
- We ensure compliance with all applicable local, regional, national and international legislation.
WATER RISK INDICATORS
Aqueduct's water risk indicators map water hazards such as floods, drought and stress, using open-source data. The indicators have been developed using long-term hydrological modeling and are periodically updated.
Water stress measures the ratio between the total water withdrawals and the available surface and underground renewable reserves (stocks) in a specific geographical area. Withdrawals include domestic, industrial and agricultural uses, consumed and not consumed.
Higher values of the indicator indicate greater competition between users and therefore greater stress.
The areas with high water stress risk are those with values higher than 40%.
By 2030, the Group will reduce water consumption per ton of cement by 20% compared to 2019. In areas with high water stress, which already have specific consumption lower than the Group average, the goal is to reduce water consumption per ton of cement by 25%.
Water stress future scenarios
|Cement plants operating in high and extremely high water stress areas||%||36||54||64|
|Sites operating in high and extremely high water stress areas||%||35||39||41|
|Water consumption for the Group||Unit||2019||2020||2021||2022||2030|
|Specific water consumption||Liters/TCE||480||445||413||402||384|
|Reduction vs. 2019||-7%||-14%||-16%||-20%|
|Water consumption - high water stress areas||Unit||2019||2020||2021||2022||2030|
|Specific water consumption||Liters/TCE||280||287||276||257||210|
|Reduction vs. 2019||0%||-1.5%||-8%||-25%|