Freeman Cebu Business

Cement firm pushes shift to circularity

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Building solutions provider Holcim Philippines calls on industry players to accelerate the shift to circularity, which will help the country reduce waste and conserve virgin natural resources while advancing development.

“Advances in technology and design allow us to repurpose construction demolition materials instead of using virgin resources in new structures. This practice is relevant to the Philippines, and we are excited to work with partners to accelerate its local adoption.” Holcim Philippines Chief Sustainability Officer Sam Manlosa, Jr.

Circularity is helping the company’s business and environmental performance and it believes the country can similarly benefit from such practices.

Already, Holcim has become among the country’s top recyclers, having reused over a million tons of waste from industrial and local government partners in producing cement in 2023.

Circularity has also enabled Holcim Philippines to reduce freshwater withdrawals in operations since 2018, which is driven by water recycling and improvements in efficiency.

According to Manlosa, Holcim Philippines is working with stakeholders to similarly rethink wastes as alternatives to virgin materials, particularly construction demolition materials, which can be reused in building new structures without compromising performance.

Likewise, the company is stepping up interactions with clients, building industry professionals, and government authorities on this practice, noting that this is steadily gaining ground in other countries.

Holcim Philippines is well-positioned to support local partners interested in using circular construction materials, given its access to expertise and the latest technology from the Holcim Group, the global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions.

In 2023, the Holcim Group recycled nearly 8.4 million tons of construction demolition materials and aims to reach at least 10 million tons by 2025.

Aside from practicing circularity and sharing its expertise, Holcim Philippines is engaged in a campaign to promote the benefits of the practice to the youth, scientific community, and policymakers. The main tool: Circular Explorer, a waste collection and research vessel co-developed with German environmental group One Earth, One Ocean Foundation will support the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

Although Circular Explorer’s waste collection efforts are the first to grab attention, it is moving on several fronts to highlight the critical role of circularity in addressing the waste that comes with growth.

The Circular Explorer is equipped with a compact set of oceanographic sensors and a microplastic collector to support research by UP Marine Science Institute. It is also supporting the Plastics Research Intensive Methods Training Program to capacitate 80 early-career researchers and faculty members from 50 universities and government agencies across the Philippines.

The project team has also initiated talks with several schools and the Department of Education on using the platform to teach about marine conservation as well as embed the importance of circularity and sustainability in the education curriculum.

Circular Explorer Project Manager Christine Bellen said circularity is a critical enabler of sustainable development with positive impact from sea to cities.

“By engaging various stakeholders, we aim to win over allies that can accelerate momentum towards transformation. We are hopeful that our steps can help shape policies supportive of circularity and mold a new generation more mindful of the environment,” Bellen explained.

With cement manufacturing facilities in La Union, Bulacan, Batangas, Misamis Oriental and Davao, as well as aggregates and dry mix business and technical support facilities for building solutions,  Holcim Philippines is also committed to the highest standards of sustainable operations and manufacturing excellence with its plants certified under ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management System), ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management System) and OHSAS 45001:2018 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System).

Holcim Philippines is a Holcim Group member and the world leader in the building materials industry.

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