Industrial ecology


Cement manufacturing consumes non-renewable raw materials in large quantities and emits significant levels of CO2. To meet this challenge, Lafarge has been committed since the 1970s to industrial ecology: rethinking industrial processes to use one industry's waste products as resources for another.

Being conscious of its environmental impact, Lafarge has long sought ways to reconcile industrial needs with the preservation of ecosystems. Adding value to waste by using it as alternative fuel or raw material enables Lafarge to:

  • limit greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of nonrenewable raw materials and fossil fuels (oil, coal, etc.),

  • diversify energy resources and reduce energy costs by limiting dependence on traditional fuels,

  • serve the community by recycling waste that would otherwise need to be processed and eliminated.


In 2007, Lafarge recycled over 7.7 million tons of biomass, waste and

by-products from industry and agriculture. This reduced the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere by more than 10 million tons. The benefit to the planet was equivalent to planting nearly 660 million trees.


In this way, Lafarge's practice of industrial ecology benefits the community and the environment while increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness at a business level.

Recycling industrial waste

Recycling industrial waste


Clinker is the main ingredient in cement. These hardened granules are obtained by firing a mixture of approximately 80% limestone and 20% clay to a high temperature. Cement is obtained by grinding clinker, in some cases supplementing it with additives.


Industrial waste

Industrial waste is the residue from industrial production, processing or use. Waste products from one industrial process can serve as alternative fuels and raw materials for another. Co-incineration enables enterprises to conserve fossil fuels and raw materials while serving the community by processing waste in an economical way that reduces CO2 emissions.


CO2 and cement

Why does manufacturing cement produce CO2?


Cement manufacturing is the source of 5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The cement industry is a natural producer of CO2:

  • 60% of emissions are due to the transformation of raw materials at high temperatures (decarbonation of limestone),

  • 40% result from the combustion needed to heat the cement kilns to 1500°C.