2002 Jury Citation
The Jury is pleased to award the 2002 WEC Gold Medal for International Corporate Environmental Achievement to CEMEX for its extensive and integrated commitment to the environment and international leadership in sustainable development. CEMEX is a leading global producer and marketer of cement and ready-mix products, with operations primarily concentrated in the world’s most dynamic cement markets across five continents, which provides world-class products and services to its customers, from individual homebuilders to large industrial contractors. Cement is the most widely used construction material in the world and the principal building material of the modern global infrastructure.
Guided by the philosophy and operational goal the company refers to as En Armonia con la Naturaleza, a Spanish phrase meaning "In Harmony with Nature," the Jury based its award on a comprehensive array of achievements that demonstrate excellence in areas of policy, implementation and leadership. This philosophy has been translated into specific actions in the form of a world class eco-efficiency program, international environmental education, and numerous significant socially responsible outreach efforts. In addition the company is applying a global approach to setting and meeting strong company-wide environmental standards and in achieving balance throughout its worldwide operations.
Over the last decade, CEMEX experienced a consistent period of growth through geographic diversification. In fact, CEMEX successfully integrated its outstanding environmental systems into its strategy for corporate growth. Collectively, these accomplishments represent a Signature Contribution, which the Jury believes has set a standard not only for the cement industry but for industry as a whole. They will serve as a seminal example for responsible growth and sustainable development worldwide.
CEMEX has developed a formal strategy for environmental policy and sustainable growth. This policy, established in 1993, and updated in 1997 and 2000, defines clear corporate guidelines to make all of its employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders aware of the importance and value of protecting natural resources. CEMEX has made a commitment to employing cutting-edge technology in its operational processes in order to assure energy and materials-efficiency, to promote an environmental culture with all constituencies, and to use the most effective equipment and systems to protect its employees, neighboring communities, facilities and the environment.
This Environmental Management System (EMS) policy has been endorsed by the Board of Directors and the CEO/chairman to ensure implementation throughout the company and its worldwide operations. Internal standards are adopted and enforced in a manner that ensures ongoing improvement, even in locations where laws and regulations are in the developmental stage. In these cases, CEMEX also actively participates in environmental protection regulatory programs and maintains a close relationship with the various environmental agencies and ministries. As a result, CEMEX plants not only comply with but also exceed all environmental regulations.
As a corporation actively acquiring new businesses, CEMEX has established a process termed post-merger integration (PMI). A PMI plan is developed and implemented to quickly bring the new facility up to world-class EHS standards. In January 1997, CEMEX established an EHS Steering Committee comprised of top level CEMEX executives. Under the guidance of the Committee, CEMEX created unique tools that are used to ensure health and safety at existing facilities as well as to upgrade and improve performance and safety at newly acquired facilities.
CEMEX has also created a global monitoring and tracking database system for all its facilities, which is unique to the industry. The system provides indications and relevant health and safety facts online from every CEMEX plant. Newly constructed facilities are designed and built to provide state-of-the-art capabilities in energy efficiency and emissions control. By using these tools, CEMEX has been able to reduce the annual rate of accidents from 4.2 percent in 1996 to 1.7 percent in 2001. Almost one half of CEMEX's plants worldwide have achieved an accident rate of less than one percent. Continuous performance improvement and innovation are established practice for CEMEX.
CEMEX has become a global leader both in methodology and putting concepts into practice. They were the first multinational cement company to publish an Environment, Health and Safety report and the first cement company to achieve ISO 14001 certification at facilities in the Americas and Spain. More than half of their plant facilities are ISO 14001 certified, including many in the developing world. Eco-efficiency is at the heart of CEMEX's operations. Launched in 1994, the CEMEX Eco-efficiency Program (CEP) has led to significant energy savings, carbon dioxide reductions, development and implementation of new technology and innovative practices, recycling and reuse of materials, and application of alternative materials and fuels.
CEMEX places a strong emphasis on social responsibility based on a deep and profound concern for the interests of its stakeholders. Significant programs are underway in community outreach, conservation and environmental stewardship. CEMEX supports a wide range of wildlife conservation projects with universities, several conservation organizations, and other institutions. To date, almost 40 projects concerning highly biodiverse ecosystems in ten countries around the world have been established. These efforts include reforestation, wildlife management programs, scientific research, the reintroduction and preservation of local native species, and quarries restoration. A striking example of this goal is the El Carmen Project in Northern Mexico along the Mexican-United States border that highlights international cooperation in the preservation and conservation of a uniquely bio-diverse ecosystem for present and future generations.
But CEMEX's community outreach programs extend well beyond environmental initiatives. In Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, CEMEX has initiated and contributed to numerous and far reaching social programs, including disaster relief, solid waste disposal, infrastructure improvements, environmental awareness, and a variety of community health projects. CEMEX has also initiated a dynamic and comprehensive environmental education program involving all constituencies.
By uniting economic growth with a progressive view of environmental and social responsibility, CEMEX has achieved its Signature Goal of operating in Harmony with Nature.
The Jury is encouraged by CEMEX's evolving philosophy in how they conduct their business. The En Armonia con la Naturaleza philosophy and practice strike the right balance between business initiatives and EHS imperatives to achieve this harmony and will have significant influence on the attitudes of peer companies. The Jury is proud to designate CEMEX as the 2002 WEC Gold Medal Awardee and feels confident that their forward-looking approaches will bear a global impact as they are widely shared and adapted.