CIMPOR strives for the continuous development of its environmental performance so as to mitigate several types of local environmental impacts through various means, including:
• Improving environmental performance related to controlling pollutant emissions, conservation and water management, rehabilitation of quarries and management of biodiversity, noise control, vibrations and traffic in and around the factory and material in loading/unloading areas, and limitation of fugitive dust;
• Implementing good practices and tools as established by renowned institutions such as GGCA, WBCSD (e.g. “Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at the Workplace (WASH)”), UN SDG, among others, in all operations;
• Regularly publishing the Declarações Ambientais and maintaining its position in the EMAS register of cement plants;
• Maintaining Certifications of all operational units of the IMS (Integrated Management Systems) according to international standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 450001;
• Implementing internal guidelines for best practices in our sector in terms of environmental sustainability.
During the cement manufacture process, some main pollutants are released into the atmosphere, such as dust, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), as well as micropollutants that can contribute to local atmospheric pollution. This pollution is mainly generated by the combustion processes that occur in our kilns , cement milling, and diffuse emissions of dust from the movement, loading/unloading and storage of materials, as well as the circulation of industrial vehicles.
CIMPOR monitors main pollutants in all factory units and invests in reducing higher levels of emissions, as well as in the respective reporting systems, plans for calibration, and in following the applicable legislation.
Continuous monitoring of the main pollutants (particles, NOx, SO2, NH3) and some micropollutants (COV, HCI, HF, CO) is currently carried out on all kiln stacks.
In addition, the timely measurement of a range of micropollutants (PCDD/F, COV, HCl, HF, CO, mercury, and various types of heavy metals) is carried out systematically according to the Unique Environmental Title or Environmental License of each factory unit, as issued by APA (Portuguese Environment Agency).
Diffuse dust, along with the exploitation of quarries, are the biggest environmental contributors to damage caused to the exteriors of cement factories. This dust is generated and released during the movement (loading and unloading), transportation, storage and extraction of raw materials, clinker and cement, and keeping the dust under control is often a complex process. Awareness of this type of problem and reducing this type of emission is a priority for CIMPOR.
CIMPOR has a long history of commitment to fully compliance with all applicable environmental legislation and the continuous development of its production processes, adopting consolidated investment management techniques that focus on legal environmental parameters (e.g. bag filter in all kiln stacks of Portuguese cement production units).
Water is now at risk of becoming increasingly scarce, both nationally and globally. Despite being a fundamental resource in cement production, the cement industry is not particularly water intensive.
CIMPOR internally promotes a generalised culture of rationing water use, defending strict standards of use. These standards include measuring the consumption and losses, treatment, recycling, and reuse of water, the use of rainwater and the constant awareness of more rational consumption. Today, careful monitoring of consumption through either direct measurements or accurate estimates helps identify the best opportunities for its reduction.
When it comes to CIMPOR’s water conservation policy, in order to make a real difference, it is crucial that efforts be extended to our entire value chain and that we play an active role in our local environment, extending our programmes and working alongside local communities, governments, and non-governmental organisations, suppliers and clients. Internally, CIMPOR promotes a widespread culture of water rationing and implements strict standards of water usage, primarily through:
• Strict risk assessments (e.g., WBCSD Global Water Tool, Aqueduct, and other tools);
• Focusing on efficiency and reducing consumption (e.g., detecting and eliminating leaks, use of rainwater, recycling, replacement of water-cooling air systems, etc.)
• Management considering potential competition for resources;
Strict, proactive control and monitoring;
• Custom action plans;
• Becoming self-sufficient;
• Water Pledge “Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in the Workplace (WASH)”, WBCSD initiative, aiming to ensure the supply of quality water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions at CIMPOR's workplaces;
• Closed-circuit water circulation system in manufacturing units, thus allowing large amounts of water to be reused in order to replace only the water lost, mainly through evaporation;
• The cement production process does not generate industrial wastewater. However, domestic and other wastewater is generated from vehicle washing and maintenance operations, as well as rainwater runoff from storage areas for raw materials, solid fuels and waste. The water treatment systems implemented in cement production units are monitored regularly and periodically, providing effective treatment of effluents before being discharged into the receiving environment.
Soil Use: Environmental Rehabilitation of Quarries & Biodiversity Management
CIMPOR understands that careful management of its quarries is strategically important, not only to preserve surrounding natural and social systems but also to ensure both the sustainability and longevity of operations and convert any negative impact into net positive impact. An integrated approach to this issue can substantially simplify the processes of obtaining future licences for the use of raw materials.
In 2013, CIMPOR, published its internal handbook, “Quarry Environmental Management Guidelines on Environmental and Social Assessment, Quarry Rehabilitation & Biodiversity Management”, based on a Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) framework. These guidelines define good practices aimed at minimising the pressure on natural habitats during the exploitation of mineral masses, as well as promoting the recovery of degraded areas.
In 2015, a “Quarry Roadmap 2016-2025” was drafted to adapt to this internal guideline, following a pre-defined calendar. This roadmap states that not all CIMPOR quarries had been brought in line with the guidelines yet, and that adjustment processes must be sped up, estimating the costs involved and funds supplies for the adjustment. Adaptation action plans were then drafted for the most critical quarries.
This Roadmap was drafted with the involvement of local stakeholders, based on these guidelines and risk analysis. It states that, by 2025, all quarries would have sufficiently robust EIAs, rehabilitation plans, and, where applicable, biodiversity management plans. To ensure the careful and sustainable management of their quarries, CIMPOR aims to:
• Adopt a perspective of risk analysis vs. opportunities;
• Standardise a model for mining governance (e.g., corporate and local responsibilities; plan of quarrying vs. rehabilitation; progressive rehabilitation; financial provision operationalisation; reduction guarantees, studies, implementation, etc.)
• Implement guidelines for the Environmental Rehabilitation of Quarry & Biodiversity Management according to the 2030 Roadmap;
• Make timely plans encompassing the requirements of new regulatory regimes, taking advantage of potential opportunities (valuation) vs. short term arbitration;
• Keep up a positive image with stakeholders;
• Determine the baseline, instrument of communication, negotiation and commitment regarding stakeholders;
• Natural resource taxes (manage rather than extract natural resources in order to reduce taxes and bonds).
Acoustic attenuation has been achieved through a series of specific measures, specifically:
• Adopting more stringent specifications when purchasing equipment;
• Installing natural and artificial acoustic barriers along factory perimeters;
• Insulating grinding buildings with acoustic panels; Installing silencers in several large fans and equipment covers (e.g., compressors, suppressors, generators, etc.) Transforming satellite coolers into grill coolers;
• Adopting cutting-edge maintenance techniques and monitoring the state of industrial equipment operation.
In this context, the noise maps employed by CIMPOR's operational units are regularly updated. This enables the continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of current measures, helping determine a new range of possible solutions with a view to continuing to minimise noise pollution in the future.
To ensure the continued commitment to noise mitigation , both locally and to respond to the health policy, guaranteeing the well-being of its professionals, CIMPOR seeks new solutions to keep noise pollution under control by:
• Identifying potentially high-risk areas;
• Assessing occupational exposure to vibrations and noise;
• Suggesting control techniques aimed at reducing risks, including the effective use of adequate personal protective equipment;
• Applying appropriate protocols for medical surveillance;
• Regularly updating the noise maps employed by CIMPOR's operational units;
• Evaluating the effectiveness of current measures and determining a new range of possible solutions for continuous the reduction of noise pollution;
• Implementing the measures recommended in the Health Management Handbook: Addressing occupational exposures in the cement industry by using the self-assessment tool.
Internal Management Systems and other Tools
CIMPOR’s backbone must continue to be built on an effective system of corporate governance and robust and auditable management systems.
Although operational, environmental, occupational health and safety management and quality management remain decentralised functions within the Group, corporate standards and guidelines have been adopted, aiming to ensure the rapid development of common practices and language.
CIMPOR continues to maintain its firm commitment to the certification of Integrated Management Systems in all cement production units , per the applicable international standards.
The implementation of quality management, environmental management and occupational health and safety systems in these units as well as their certification (ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001, respectively), are a corporate priority as an important instrument in seeking sustainable development.
Integration of the Quality, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems were introduced in 2015, having been implemented and certified at different points over the years.
Nowadays, CIMPOR has an Integrated Management System, (certified according to ISO 9001:2015) for the production and marketing of its own cement products. It also produces white cement, hydraulic lime, and dry mortars (ISO 14001: 2015) for use in cement production and the exploitation of the respective quarries. Finally, with the ISO 45001:2018 certification, which constitutes a corporate priority and has been an important instrument in the progress toward sustainable development.
On top of this, several IT / Business Intelligence tools have been developed, based on QlikView platforms to manage a series of industrial aspects, OSH, human resources, as well as performance and company-wide environmental goals.