Sustainable Development
  • Send to
  • Print
  • Bookmark


EU-ETS scheme

Greenhouse gas emissions quotas and the emissions quotas trading system (EU-ETS scheme) were established by a European directive in 2003.
Revised in December 2008, the directive aims to clarify the conditions for implementation of its target to reduce CO2 emissions in EU (European Union) countries by 20% between 1990 and 2020. The new directive therefore regulates CO2 emissions in EU countries for various industrial sectors (the cement, steel and paper industries, for example).
This mechanism, which applies for the 2013-2020 period:

  • determines annually a quantified limit on emissions for each company (1 quota = 1 ton of CO2),
  • defines selection criteria for sectors most at risk of "carbon leakage" as a result of inflated costs in relation to CO2, which could see their competitiveness adversely affected by countries outside the EU which have not made comparable commitments,
  • grants companies with a surplus of quotas the ability to sell emissions rights to companies with a shortage of quotas.


Geothermal heat pump

A geothermal heat pump takes advantage of the natural warmth of the ground below the frost line to heat spaces above ground, even though thermodynamic principles should result in this warmth being diffused when it comes into contact with cooler elements.


Governance is the set of rules (both legislative and internal) which determine the way a company conducts its business. Governance is designed to guarantee transparency, oversight and ethics in business.


Gypsum is a construction material made by firing the gypsum mineral in a kiln and then grinding it. It can be used as a paste or as pre-fabricated boards. Mixed with water, it forms a gel that sets within a few minutes and then hardens. It is widely used for interiors: coatings, dry partitions, ceilings and wall linings in the form of tiles or plasterboard. It has several important properties: accoustic and thermal insulation, fire resistance, etc.


Industrial ecology

Industrial ecology is a new concept in environmental management. The idea is to improve the way environmental factors (energy resources, natural raw materials, etc.) are integrated into business strategies. Industrial ecology takes its inspiration from the cyclical way in which natural ecosystems operate. Just as nature goes through cycles of production, destruction and recycling, industrial waste from certain activities can serve as raw material or fuel for other industries.

Industrial waste

Industrial waste is the residue from production, processing or use. Waste products from other industries are used both as alternative fuels and as substitute materials. Co-incineration enables enterprises to economize fossil fuels and raw materials while serving the community by processing waste in an economical way that reduces CO2 emissions.

Injury frequency rate

The lost-time injury frequency rate is the number of accidents leading to loss of time, by million hours worked.

International Labor Organization (I.L.O.)

The I.L.O. is a United-Nations agency which brings together governments, employers and workers. Its purpose is to promote decent working conditions throughout the world to ensure employees benefit from liberty, equality, safety and dignity. Its actions encourage the creation of decent jobs and the development of social protection and dialogue.


Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol aims to counter climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. In effect since February 2005, it has been ratified by over 150 countries but has not been ratified by the United States for example.

Under the Protocol, industrialized countries have until 2012 to reduce their CO2 emissions by 5.2% compared to 1990 levels.


Net/gross emissions of CO2

Net emissions of CO2 are equal to the gross emissions minus emissions related to the burning of waste.


Photovoltaic cell

A photovoltaic cell is an electronic component which generates electrical tension (or voltage) when exposed to light and can therefore be used to produce electricity. These cells produce a constant current with an average voltage of 0.5V.


Plasterboard panels are industrial building components. They are made in factories by locking a thin layer of gypsum and additives between two cardboard sheets to create thin panels. Plasterboard is put in place with screws or adhesive mortar. The panels can also be nailed or screwed to wooden or metal frames to dress interior walls and partitions.


Pozzolan is named after Pozzouli, a region near Naples, Italy, which is rich in volcanic ash.

Natural pozzolan is a light siliceous mineral produced during basaltic volcanic eruptions. It contains silica, alumina and iron oxide (which gives it a red color), as well as lime and magnesium oxide. Pozzolan is used as a cement additive.

Artificial pozzolans with the same properties as natural pozzolans can be created by heating clays, basalts or schists.

Purchase/sale of CO2 quotas

In the context of the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS scheme), CO2 quotas can be exchanged by companies:

  • by mutual agreement between 2 companies which negotiate the price,
  • or on one of the "carbon exchanges" set up in Europe.



This mixture of lime, alumina and silica is produced when iron is smelted with coke in blast furnaces. Slag accumulates on top of the molten cast iron. If cooled quickly, its hydraulic properties are close to those of clinker. Slag takes longer to hydrate but it offers greater stability in corrosive conditions. It is, therefore, a suitable additive for cement and concrete so as to reduce CO2 emissions.

Sustainable construction

Sustainable construction aims to limit the impact of buildings on the environment while enhancing their quality in terms of aesthetics, sustainability, durability and strength. Sustainable construction techniques apply across the entire lifecycle of a building, from the selection of initial materials to demolition and recycling.

Sustainable construction signifies in particular:

  • the use of recyclable materials to conserve natural resources,
  • the integration of renewable energy sources into a building's design,
  • the optimization of renewable energy sources.
Sustainable development

The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

Sustainable development aims to reconcile 3 major stakes:

  • economic performance,
  • the social consequences of a company's actions (with regard to employees, suppliers, customers and the local community),
  • environmental aspects (achieving a balance between a company's activities and the preservation of ecosystems).


Thermal inertia

This term designates the capacity of a material to accumulate and store calorific energy which can then be released over a period of time.


United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

The U.N.E.P., created in 1972, is the highest environmental authority of the United Nations. The UNEP works with United Nations agencies, international governmental and nongovernmental organizations, the private sector and civil society. The UNEP has set up the Sustainable Buildings and Construction Initiative (SBCI), which Lafarge directs.

  • Send to
  • Print
  • Bookmark

2020 Ambitions

The Group’s partnerships

Lafarge's Ambitions 2020 will drive changes to every part of the Group's operations over the next eight years, in order to change the way we operate and let us progress towards our vision.    

Social media
LafargeHolcim. Cement, aggregates, Concrete.