The German cement industry holds to the ideals of sustainable development. In the terms of Agenda 21, this means achieving a balance between the fulfilment of ecological, social and economic needs now and in future. Industry’s investment power and capacity for innovation is a key factor in this respect. Substantial progress has already been made along the entire value addition chain represented by cement-bound building materials. This shows that the potential for development supplied by specific industrial products and processes should not fall by the wayside prematurely.
In 2002, the German cement industry and the trade unions Industriegewerkschaft Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt and Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie founded an industrial initiative for sustainable development. The initiative pays more than lip service to the idea of social partnerships – employees and employers have embarked on new paths to make sustainable development a reality. The social partners are convinced that there is a necessity to better integrate ecological, economic and social requirements with one another. To achieve this, they commit to a learning process based on the capacity for action of the businesses and their employees. This is the only way to identify practical options for action – without which sustainable development cannot be made a living truth.
Besides open communication with stakeholders from politics, environmental protection and science, specific projects are implemented as well. These projects focus on balancing obtainment of resources with the preservation of nature, on employment of secondary or renewable resources, on the optimisation of transport and logistics chains and on the creation of information and education tools for the industry’s employees. The project topics are thus one the one hand an issue of social responsibility within the cement industry and on the other hand affect fields of action that are also of great significance in other areas.