Secil patently works with sustainable processes, undertaking a commitment to the highest standards of demand in matters of Sustainability and Responsibility. Aware that its growth is directly related to the sustainability of its operations, Secil has made a major investment in innovation in its production processes and products, in the excellence of the training of its human capital and in the relationship with its neighbouring communities.
Besides currently having an Integrated Management System and an Integrated Policy towards Quality, Environment, and Occupational Health and Safety, Secil has also, on a voluntary basis, taken on numerous commitments to Sustainability initiatives and complied with all the legal provisions in force.
Health and Safety
SECIL actively promotes an occupational health, hygiene and safety policy to ensure that its premises are safe places for all people, both inside and outside the Company, to pursue the goal of “Zero Fatalities” and reduce accidents and lost work days.
The main greenhouse gas (GHG) from the cement manufacturing process is carbon dioxide (CO2), whose direct emission comes from two sources: i) the calcination of carbonates present in the main raw materials (limestone and marl), which accounts for about 60% of the total emission; and ii) the combustion of fuel in furnaces, which contributes the remaining 40%, resulting from combining carbon and oxygen from the air during the combustion of fuel, forming CO2.
In recent years SECIL has made major investments to reduce its CO2 emissions by increasing its thermal and electrical efficiency, increasing the co-processing of alternative fuels, using secondary raw materials and testing innovative technologies for carbon capture (microalgae) and low carbon intensity production of cement and clinker.
The cement manufacturing process is associated with macro pollutant emissions (CO2, NOx, SO2 and VOCs) and other micro-pollutants (heavy metals and PCDD/F). Since it is the Secil Group’s aim to reduce its emission of pollutants into the atmosphere, it has made investments, the results of which demonstrate what has been achieved.
Over the past 20 years, SECIL has made significant investments in order to reduce its emissions, introducing various means of control of these emissions, including bag filters, low NOx burners, SNCR (Selective non catalytic reduction) systems to control NOx emissions, and the injection of lime/calcium hydroxide to control SO2 emissions. In addition to these devices, it also has systems for retention of particles such as electrostatic precipitators and bag filters.
Currently, all SECIL units have continuous monitoring systems.
The cement industry, albeit not a significant sector in terms of water consumption, represents about 2% of world consumption. The water used in the manufacturing process (for cooling equipment) is in a closed loop (recycling/re-use) and part of this is lost by evaporation.
Being aware that it can improve its performance in the management of water, SECIL intends to implement measures in all its units to make it more efficient in the management of this essential resource to the survival of the human species.
SECIL recognises the importance of biodiversity in the management of sustainability of the company’s activity. SECIL has developed strategies to reduce its impact on biodiversity, in particular through the implementation of Landscape Recovery Plans and Action Plans for Biodiversity.
These plans are based on the assumption that a fully rehabilitated system encompasses not only the composition and structure of plant and animal communities, but also the recovery of the functions and natural processes of the ecosystem.
Scientific knowledge and applied research are cornerstones in the landscape recovery process of SECIL’s quarries. The development of scientific studies and the interconnection of multidisciplinary teams is essential for the identification of solutions and the development of innovative techniques. To this end, as an example, SECIL has a large team of researchers from the Faculties of Science at the Universities of Lisbon and Évora.
Cement, more specifically concrete is currently one of the most essential products for our society, contributing to sustainable growth.
The unique properties of concrete make it the ideal construction material, and the second most widely used material on the planet.
Below are some of the characteristics that confer its importance on concrete:
- Durability – Resistant to dampness and particularly adverse environments.
- Versatility – Suitable for a wide range of buildings and applications (roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, buildings and others).
- Low Maintenance – Capable of maintaining its properties over time.
- Accessibility – Low cost and affordable prices.
- Health & Safety – Suitable for seismic constructions and fire-resistant.
- Thermal Mass – Efficient in terms of heating and cooling.
- Production and Use – Local (deliveries within 25km on average).
- Albedo Effect – Material with reflective qualities, absorbing less heat.
- Rigidity – Surface stability capable of reducing (or even) preventing aquaplaning.
- Raw materials – Abundance of materials.
The recycling of building and infrastructure demolition waste is a way of reducing the use of new aggregates, lowering environmental costs arising from operation and transportation and the amount of waste to dispose of in landfills.
Within a circular economy logic, Secil also uses by-products from other industries, such as cork, to manufacture mortar and light concrete with cork, for example. It also develops a number of other coating and thermal insulation products which improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Among its various social responsibility initiatives, particularly notable are the visits by thousands of students to the different cement plants, the Open Doors Week, the Environmental Monitoring Committees, the support given to local projects and organisations and the Secil Awards.
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