Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
What do cement production and elephant grass have in common? Tests at a quarry in Ghana have shown that mats made of elephant grass can considerably reduce the erosion that results from strong rainfall.
But that's not all. As elephant grass grows in the areas surrounding the quarries, the local populace can generate income by producing the anti-erosion mats.
This project is just one example of how HeidelbergCement seeks to translate its commitment to social responsibility into real-world practice. The principles of corporate social responsibility inform both our broader vision as well as the specific business activities undertaken by our subsidiaries worldwide.
Together with local stakeholders we strive to ensure that our business activities have positive benefits for people in the regions in which we operate. Thus, our manufacturing plants work closely with domestic suppliers and subcontractors. Some 30% of the money we spend to procure materials and services flows directly into the local economy. This helps to create jobs as well as promote the economic health of the regions in which we operate.
In order to make our activities surrounding corporate social responsibility as transparent and efficient as possible, we have adopted group-wide Corporate Citizenship Guidelines. Among other things, these guidelines establish criteria for our support of external initiatives and organizations. We are particularly eager to support endeavors that are related to our own business, such as construction or infrastructure projects, as well as initiatives undertaken in close proximity to our manufacturing sites. The support we provide can take many forms – from financial aid and the donation of materials to the sharing of our expertise. In providing support, we aim to promote local education, culture, and business, and we are particularly willing to assist with projects that deal with the effects of our activities on the environment or biodiversity. Thus, cement production and elephant grass do go together – as long as you take a broader view.