Lafarge Africa Plc last Thursday August 26, 2021, presented its 2020 Sustainability Report to investors and the general public at the Nigeria Exchange Limited.
The report is an annual account of how Lafarge, member of Holcim is building progress for people and the planet in its Nigeria operations while also delivering profit to its shareholders.
Lafarge’s approach to sustainability is clearly guided by four pillars – Climate and Energy, Circular Economy, Environment and Community – with the respective objectives of reduction of CO2 emissions, increased re-use of water derived resources, reduction of freshwater withdrawal and creation of shared value.
Lafarge in 2020 reutilised 71,029 tonnes of waste; freshwater withdrawal was 201L/ton and 228L/M3 respectively for cement and ready mix. Lafarge has also played a leading role in recycling waste in Nigeria through its partnership with the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA).
In line with the Lafarge quarry rehabilitation plan, 933 hectares have been rehabilitated, thus achieving 100percent of its rehabilitation target in 2020. The company, in 2020, replaced 9.6percent of its energy consumption with renewable sources of energy. It also reduced carbon dioxide by planting over 7000 tree seedlings.
Lafarge’s commitment to environmental stewardship has rendered immediate benefits to communities. Over 3000 Jobs were created through the partnership with the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA); Lafarge collects waste such as tyres, plastic bottles, polyethylene and others, which it uses to generate energy at its plants.
More people benefited from Lafarge’s investments in CSR activities within its host communities; a total of 250,000 citizens, more than double the number impacted by Lafarge CSR activities in 2019. This was a result of the company’s collaboration with the Nigerian government at all levels to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and also reduce its socio-economic impact on communities through the distribution of palliatives. In total, Lafarge invested N1.2 billion in community development initiatives and COVID-19 support.
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Temi Popoola, CFA, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Exchange Limited, speaking at the virtual event, commended the leadership of Lafarge Africa Plc for its leadership in sustainability reporting.
“Lafarge Africa becomes one of the few leading listed companies who have demonstrated their commitment to adopting Sustainable business practices and transparency in their approach to environmental, social and governance disclosure”. Lafarge has published a Sustainability Report since 2016.
Adebode Adefioye, chairman of Lafarge Africa Plc while speaking at the presentation of the facts of the report said; “By deploying innovation we are championing how Nigeria builds better. It is holistic and strategically driven to ensure that we are scaling in reach and impact in the economic and environmental spheres. In the social sphere, we are also deliberately implementing initiatives that further prepare us for the future such as leveraging technology and improving our diversity indicators.”
The Director of Communications, Public Affairs & Sustainable Development, Lafarge Africa Plc, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, who presented the report, explained that for Lafarge, doing good is doing well, the strong focus on sustainability improves relations with investors, government, communities, and other key stakeholders.
Ambrose-Medebem said “We consider sustainability performance a critical business success factor. Accordingly, we are tracking performance from both the local regulatory and international best practice lenses”. She explained that to produce the Sustainability Report Lafarge “leveraged a rigorous data capturing process fully embedded in the company’s daily operations and in compliance with local requirements”.
Lafarge has adopted the GRI reporting standards, thus putting its use of materials “at the heart of sustainability performance management.” The company also uses the ISAE 3000 standard to validate key indicators while adopting recommendations from the independent management report.
The chairperson of the Board Risk and Ethics Committee of Lafarge Africa Plc board, Adenike Ogunlesi, said initiatives such as the recent purchase of Natural powered gas trucks has greatly improved the company’s ESG profile as it is a significant contribution to the company’s net zero agenda. She also noted that Lafarge has trained and employed more than sixty female drivers, thus consolidating its reputation for promoting gender equality.
Also, the Country CEO, Khaled El Dokani reiterated the company’s successes and impact in 2020, expressing particular pride in the creation of a N500 million fund “to compliment government efforts in the fight against COVID-19” which ameliorated the impact of the pandemic in host communities and beyond. El Dokani also noted that Lafarge is investing more in research and development that will enable it to strengthen its commitment to sustainable manufacturing.
Lafarge’s commitment to Sustainability is anchored on transparency and on maintaining open channels of communication with all stakeholders, including consumers, employees, shareholders, and host communities. El Dokani also said that 177 employees of the company volunteered 2600 hours in their host communities.