Cement — the key ingredient of concrete — is the world’s most widely used building material. It’s also the product of an energy-intensive process that accounts for about five percent of global greenhouse gases driving climate change. These emissions threaten to increase as developing countries urbanize and build roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in the decades ahead. IFC’s strategy in the cement industry is to encourage a low carbon growth path, and help the industry adopt the most efficient technologies, develop innovative products, and explore promising technologies for alternative fuels, including wind and solar.
In December 2014, IFC invested €6.0 million alongside Lafarge and Proparco to support the use of municipal household waste to fuel Lafarge’s cement plant located in northern Iraq. By using a trash as an alternative fuel, Lafarge is reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and benefiting local communities by reducing air and water pollution generated by the poorly constructed landfill currently in use.
IFC is financing the construction of a modern new landfill and waste treatment facility in the municipality of Sulaimaniyah, located in the Kurdish Region of Iraq, where waste will be processed into refused derived fuel for cement kilns. Not only will the alternative fuel displace carbon-emitting fossil fuel consumption, the reduction of landfill waste will emit less methane, a greenhouse gas even more harmful than carbon dioxide. IFC, Proparco and Lafarge Industrial Ecology International, Lafarge’s subsidiary specialized in developing and operating waste to alternative fuel projects, plan to make more investments around the world aimed at demonstrating how the cement industry can reduce energy costs and environmental impact.