North / South America
Environment Protection - a Core element of HeidelbergCement’s sustainability policy
Apr, 24 2012
(Georgia) -- Installation of new fabric filters, the Quarry Life Award and Public Private Partnership projects are the main projects of HeidelbergCement within the framework of environment protection.
“We have a big responsibility not just for our production but for the environment as well,” Akaki Chkhaidze, Sales and Marketing Director at HeidelbergCement Caucasus, told The FINANCIAL. “In accordance with the Group’s standards and sustainability policy, HeidelbergCement has been focusing on environment protection in Georgia since 2006,” he added.
Q. What responsibilities do you feel in regards to your product and the way you make it having an impact on the environment?
A. The installation of new fabric filters at the Rustavi and Kaspi plants is a significant contribution to environment protection. More than 12 million EUR was invested for the purpose of de-dusting with the installation of new fabric filters. Both plants operate six kilns in total, so the six new fabric filters had to be installed without significantly disrupting the production process.
The problem of pollution is of great concern to the population of Georgia. The company takes on an enormous responsibility for the welfare of the people, especially for those who live in the area of the plants. By installing modern filter technologies, cement dust reduced by 99 percent. Thus, in addition to climate protection, replacing the old filters with new ones will optimize cement production.
Local authorities strongly support HeidelbergCement in Georgia which is proved by the memorandum on cooperation with the Georgian Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources.
In discussing this issue it is important to pay attention to the standards of the company itself. If the company does not meet the standards, then any type of production may have a negative impact on the environment. As for HeidelbergCement, its policy is relevant to international standards. That means that the factory in Georgia and the factory i.e. in Germany have the same filter technologies. Using these filters means that the risk of pollution is minimal.
Q. Asides from filters, what other projects are being implemented by HeidelbergCement in the framework of environment protection?
A. We started implementing a very important project in December last year. This is an international project about international scientific and educational competition -The Quarry Life Award, conducted simultaneously in more than fifteen countries, including Georgia. Students and researchers and NGO partnerships were invited to participate in the Quarry Life Award individually or as a team.
The idea of this competition is a protection and promotion of biodiversity in quarries during and after extraction. This competition gives us opportunity to show that quarrying operations are completely well-suited with environment protection.
In addition, following our biodiversity management guideline, which was by the way first ever issued biodiversity guideline by the building materials producers, is essential to have proper communication with local society to prepare the optimal use of the land after raw material extraction has finished. Consequently the competition offers tool for the involvement of community in the biodiversity management.
Three quarries are open for the national, Georgian competition: Kavtiskhevi Limestone Quarry (Shida Kartli), Gardabani Clay Quarry (Kvemo Kartli), and Dedoplistskaro Limestone Quarry (Kakheti).
The first edition of the Quarry Life Award launched by HeidelbergCement elicited strong interest from students and researchers. Over 300 project proposals are competing in eighteen countries on four continents. According to international statistics, Georgia reached the highest number of project proposals of all eighteen countries participating.
As for Georgia, 19,304 hits on the website show the readiness of the public to be active participants in biodiversity development. 215 persons were registered on the Quarry Life Award site and 53 interesting proposals have been submitted for the Quarry Life Award.
The competition had two stages, submission of an idea and project submission. The result of the first stage is that the five best proposals were displayed this year. They have till September to write out their projects and the jury in Brussels will name the winner. The competition will have winners on a national level and winners selected by the global jury. Three winners on the national level, selected by the national jury, can receive financial support from HeidelbergCement to cover the project costs and will be awarded with 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 EUR respectively. Global winners selected by the global jury will be awarded 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 EUR respectively.
The Georgian Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources was involved in this project and its Minister was one of the jury members.
Q. What about the Public-Private-Partnership project running in Georgia?
A. After extracting raw materials, i.e. limestone, it is important to restore the quarries - the land should be made useful again.
The goal of the PPP (public – Private –Partnership) project in cooperation with the German GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), is to promote biodiversity through the development and implementation of different recultivation models in all mining sites of HeidelbergCement in Georgia. In addition, this project aims at promoting the share of experience on modern recultivation / renaturation practice with a variety of stakeholders (local community, authorities, universities, etc.).
In the frame of above mentioned project HeidelbergCement Georgia is supported in developing modern recultivation / renaturation technique which fully corresponds to the already implemented environmental management systems.
With this new approach, local habitats adapted to the natural environment are developed, in difference to the recultivation practice currently used in Georgia.
Q. Please could you shortly summarize HeidelbergCement’s activities in Georgia?
A. HeidelbergCement’s activity in the Georgian cement market began in 2006, since 2008 HeidelbergCement has expanded in the ready mixed concrete business line. Nowadays, the company runs three cement plants with total cement production capacity of around 2 million tones per year and three ready mixed concrete plants in Georgia.
The whole investment of HeidelbergCement in Georgia is more than 200 million EUR. Over the period of the past three years HeidelbergCement has opened five operational units in Georgia: June 2008 - Opening of a dry process cement plant in Rustavi; April 2009 - Start up of a concrete batching plant in Tbilisi ; April, 2010 - Opening of the second concrete batching plant in Tbilisi ; April, 2011 - Opening of Sufsa (black sea cost) cement terminal; September, 2011 - Mobile ready mixed concrete plant started operation.
HeidelbergCement is the global market leader in aggregates and a prominent player in the fields of cement, concrete and other downstream activities, making it one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials. The company employs some 53,000 people at 2,500 locations in more than 40 countries.
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