With sustainability identified as a priority by Cement & Concrete SA (CCSA), they have implemented best practices to reduce industry environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions long before being legally compelled to do so.  

Sustainability policies 

The industry believes the social and natural resources of South Africa should not be compromised for the sake of economic development. Producer members are therefore committed to comply with these six key CCSA policies to ensure maximum sustainability and environmental preservation for the South African cement industry: 

  • The increasing use of alternative fuels and resources (secondary materials):  

Traditionally, fossil fuels and natural raw materials have been used to make clinker, the main ingredient in cement. CCSA members are now increasingly using secondary materials or alternative fuels and resources (AFR) that are non-traditional for clinker and cement production yet are environmentally safer.  

  • Environmental policy:  

Members are now, as far as reasonably practical, rehabilitating the environment affected by their limestone prospecting or mining operations to its natural or predetermined state, or to a land use that conforms to sustainable development.  

  • Climate change policy:  

Members are pro-actively adopting and developing mitigation and adaptation strategies to manage greenhouse gas emissions, in response to the threats posed by climate change. 

  • Energy policy:  

Members have committed themselves to implementing management systems to measure and optimise energy performance, as well as the use of alternative energy sources, as key to thermal and electrical energy supply strategies. CCSA became a voluntary signatory to the Energy-Efficiency Accord in 2005 and addresses energy-efficiency issues through projects managed by its Environmental Committee. 

  • Environmental policy:  

Members are committed to environmental best practices, pollution prevention, effective waste and energy management principles, and the utilisation of all resources in an optimal and responsible manner. 

  • Water policy:  

South Africa is a water-scarce country and therefore members are implementing effective programmes for the responsible use of water and the protection of water resources. 

Industry forums 

Hanlie Turner, business development manager of CCSA, says CCSA clinker producer members use various forums to report on the various aspects of their performance. These forums include the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index as well as government departments, while supporting the Mining Charter. 

The association is also represented on relevant committees of local bodies such as Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), the Minerals Council of South Africa, the National Business Initiative, the Mines Qualification Authority, the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Water and Sanitation. 

Case study: Reducing toxicity in cities with pervious concrete 

The increased use of pervious concrete and concrete block paving in urban roads and parking areas could play a major role in reducing toxicity in the country’s water resources, says Bryan Perrie, chief executive officer of CCSA. 

Run-off from impervious surfaces, such as asphalt, sends grease and other harmful chemical products into the surrounding rivers, streams and dams.  

First used in the 19th century, pervious concrete ground surfaces allow rain, municipal and domestic gardening water, and other water to percolate through and replenish natural aquifers.  

Globally, pervious concrete is receiving renewed interest because of intensified clean water legislation in many countries. 

When it rains, it drains 

As water soaks through the sub-base of pervious concrete surfaces, natural filtration takes place which removes pollutants and impurities from the water. Permeable paving can also, to a certain extent, prevent flash flooding by absorbing water rather than moving it into drainage or allowing it to build up on top of the surface. 

Perrie says, with municipal budgets now extremely limited, pervious concrete or permeable block paving can be used for stormwater attenuation to replace retention ponds. This can reduce the number and size of drainage infrastructure elements – saving both materials and energy, as well as reducing future maintenance.

For more information, contact Cement & Concrete SA:
Tel: +27 11 315 0300
Email: info@cemcon-sa.org.za
Website: www.cemcon-sa.org.za

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