Friday, 11 November 2016

Why's LafargeHolcim at the Marrakech climate talks?

As the world gathers in Morocco for the historic first meeting under the Paris agreement - called “COP22” - it does so with the unprecedented involvement of corporate interests who have fought climate action around the world, funded climate change denial and whose fundamental interest is in extracting and burning as much fossil fuel as possible.
But it's not just the fossil fuel lobby that's turned up at Marrakech:

As a world leader and advocate of the decarbonization of the construction value chain, LafargeHolcim welcomed the COP 21 Paris Agreement. We have since elaborated a set of commitments to cut our net CO2 emissions and reduce our dependency on natural resources. This is our 2030 Plan...
With this plan, we are turning our core value of sustainability into a set of actionable goals. One of its four pillars focuses on climate... Our presence at the COP 22 conference will be an opportunity to showcase how the Group is contributing to the global climate and circular agenda through locally adapted solutions related to waste, renewable energy and innovative construction solutions. All of these initiatives positively contribute to the UN’s goals for sustainable development – goals that we share.
Lest we forget, this advocate of decarbonization is actually "one of the largest CO2-emitting corporations in the world"; around one tonne of CO2 is emitted for every tonne of cement produced. LafargeHolcim may treat COP 22 as "an opportunity to showcase", but for others it's more important:

Aggregate Industries - part of LafargeHolcim - claims:
We have long recognised the consequences of CO2 emissions and how both the manufacture of our products and their use in the built environment contribute to climate change... there is a real focus and drive to minimise the environmental impact of all we do.
If that's really the case, let's look back at what AI has said over the last 10 years, and, more importantly, what the company has achieved:

In 2006:
In a watershed year which saw the publication of two significant reports on climate change and its effects on the economy and the environment, we have a clear message: it’s happening and we have to take action now.
In 2007:
Ten years ago we did not measure our CO2. In our first report in 2000, our reported emissions for 1999 were 228,267 tonnes of CO2. In 2007 this has increased to 450,390 tonnes, but this must be judged in relation to the significant increase in the size and output of the business.
In 2008:
Carbon remains a key focus for both us and society and with the Climate Change Act (2008) has come a new regulatory process – the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). We continue to work towards our 2012 target of 20% reduction per tonne of production from the 2008 verified baseline as detailed in this report.
In 2011:
We set a target in 2008 to reduce our total carbon emissions on a per tonne basis by 20% with 2008 as a baseline. This would mean that by 2012 our carbon impact per tonne would be 8.12 Kg CO2 per tonne. In 2009 this stayed relatively flat but since then has steadily increased to 11.04 Kg CO2 per tonne in 2011.
In 2012:
Controlling and reducing carbon emissions is central to a responsible environmental policy. At Aggregate Industries we have understood the impacts of our carbon emissions for some time... Worryingly, carbon emissions associated with logistics within our business have been working against trend, rising steadily for the last four years on a per tonne basis... By 2016 we will reduce process carbon emissions by 20% on 2012 levels in absolute terms.
In 2013:
Absolute process carbon emissions have increased against the 2012 baseline as production volumes have increased.
In 2014:
Our total process emissions increased to 420,132 tonnes CO2e as a result of increased production.
In 2015:
Absolute process carbon emissions continue to rise and are 20% above the 2012 baseline.
So for all the talk about LafargeHolcim being an advocate of decarbonisation, about AI recognising that it’s happening and we have to take action now, let's showcase again exactly how much AI has achieved:

* Figures taken from 2015 report, 2012 report (for 2012-2008), 2010 report (for 2007-2006), 2007 report (for earlier)