Using our resources with greater efficiency
Our global presence means we must carefully control the environmental consequences of our activities. Beyond local regulations, Imerys Group has created a set of global Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) protocols that apply to all our activities.
Since 2009, the goal of Imerys Group has been to have an Environmental Management System (EMS) in all of our operations. In 2010, our operations began regular self-appraisals on the implementation of our Group protocol, based on the 8 pillars of an effective EMS(1). Each division manager presents the results to the Chairman & CEO in quarterly business reviews.
For several years the Group has implemented action programs to improve the energy efficiency of our industrial activities and thereby reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In our business, the main cause of direct greenhouse gas emissions is the use of fuel. Energy is mostly used to convert raw materials or products, while some operations cause CO2 emissions directly, particularly by decarbonation.
We consider the improvement of our energy efficiency as the major lever for
reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. We set the goal of improving that indicator by 10% in five years using 2009 as a baseline. The related reduction in CO2 emissions was increased by the use of renewable energies in some of our units
Water consumption is essential in many of our activities. We recycle water whenever possible and our standards recommend regular reviews of the resources available to reuse water on our sites. We produce little industrial waste and the great majority of the waste generated is recycled.
We withdraw ground water to keep our quarries in good working order and use
water to process our minerals. Water is often stored in impound basins for reuse and after settling and treatment, it is ultimately released to the environment. In addition, our products are sometimes delivered as aqueous suspensions.
Our activities produce small quantities of industrial waste, as we mainly transform our minerals by mechanical and physical processes. Minerals with no market value are usually stored on or near our sites as they may be useful in the future. In many cases these minerals are used as fill in post-mining restoration work and are not recorded as "waste".
(1) Eight pillars of an effective Environmental Management System: existence of a policy; identification of aspects & impacts; identification of legal requirements; setting goals and targets; appointment of specific representative; training given out; emergency procedures, and audit.