Water is a building material – let’s not forget that. IUCN and global building materials company CEMEX join forces to work on optimizing water use and conserving the quality of water resources and wetlands in the river basins they operate in.
Water is used in almost all building material production processes, and forms approximately 15 to 20% of a unit of concrete. That means that around 1 in 6 parts of your office or your home could be made out of water. The partnership with CEMEX is based on the joint objective of improving water management for both business and the environment.
The availability of water for CEMEX operations is vital for the future and sustainability of the business. Equally, the use, diversion, and discharge of water into the environment has impacts on people, nature, and the ecosystems they rely on. The CEMEX global water management project will establish a baseline of water use and impacts and identify best practices for CEMEX operational use. This first phase of the project will focus on positioning CEMEX in the context of river basins as well as identifying the most important water-related material issues for CEMEX. Material issues will focus on better understanding the competing needs and uses of water, prioritizing water related risks and opportunities, and introducing the use of new relevant water key performance indicators. This will include setting water-related targets and recognizing the role business has in working with stakeholders at local scale to develop sustainable solutions to water management.
A recent field visit to cement operations in Europe showed that in temperate and highly regulated environments water is managed well. Nevertheless CEMEX recognizes that depending on the climate and the institutional context, operations may face different risks and opportunities that will require different response options. For this reason, understanding the way water is used in business operations is a key step to determine where problems may occur in the future, for operational use, and for the ecosystems and people who rely on flowing rivers and groundwater resources.
The work will be used to improve CEMEX water management practices, identify and reduce water-related risks, identify water-related opportunities and to inform the Cement Sustainability Initiative of WBCSD and other global platforms on business and water management.
WBCSD Cement Sustainability Initiative