This guide to sustainability issues uses two process flows which reflect process steps that are common across the in cement and concrete sectors. The guide shows how these processes relate to specific sustainability issues – ranging from energy and water consumption to supply chain issues and community relationships. It uses a risk rating system and explains some of the potentially high impact sustainability issues in more detail.
The guide is intended as a starting point only and the process flow is not intended to reflect the breadth of technologies and practices that are used by different enterprises or sub-sectors. Users will need to undertake more detailed research and analysis of the sector.
The manufacture of cement and concrete products uses processes such as grinding, mixing, kilning, moulding, compaction and curing.
This sector traditionally relies on non-renewable raw materials, such as limestone, clay, iron ore and sand. Significant amounts of coal are used in the calcining kilns to make clinker, which is the major component in cement. Electricity is needed to run the machinery for grinding and blending in order to make the clinker and then to process it with other materials into cement. Many of the processes require high water use. The sector has high fuel use and heavy transport in the supply chain and to distribute the products.
There are many different ways to approach understanding the sustainability issues within a sector. Areas of research might include barriers to entry and expansion into markets, drivers of demand for services and products, geographic location, major markets and suppliers, technology and workforce demographics and skills profile. [Read more…]