Innovations Products Services And Processes Environmental Issues Construction Essay

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In this assignment, most of the research will be undertaken on an Innovative organisation in the construction industry. One of the key factors is to investigate how the company is providing low carbon solutions. Emphasis will be made on how the chosen company is more innovative in front of other competitors in the market.

After a gaining a good deal of information CEMEX is the chosen company because they believe that innovation is a very central aspect in their company's culture. This means that they greatly value individual and continuous improvement. There is always a common work dynamic around creativity and innovation going on in any CEMEX centres. Therefore, this essay will cover the Key Figures, Innovations (products, services and processes), Environmental issues, Carbon Footprint and Health and Safety.


CEMEX was founded in 1906 and it is a building material company which is recognised globally in the construction industry. CEMEX offers a range of services such as distributing, producing and selling cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete, and other related building materials in over 50 countries. Throughout the years, they have been successful in maintaining very good trade relationships to almost 100 nations throughout Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Middle East. Their aim is to always serve the needs of their customers and create value for their stakeholders by becoming the worlds most efficient and innovative building materials company.

CEMEX covers three main sectors of industry:

• primary - involves extraction, processing and use of raw materials from the earth

• secondary - manufacturing finished goods and construction activity

• tertiary - providing services to business and consumers, e.g. finance and transport.''

"CEMEX are among the first in the industry to meet the standard, which covers all three of the company's UK cement plants at Rugby, South Ferriby and Tilbury, as part of their efforts to meet the requirements of the Government's Strategy for Sustainable Construction''.

"CEMEX UK's South Ferriby cement plant, in North Lincolnshire, has set a new record by replacing 100% of the fuel used to heat its cement kiln with fuels made from wastes''.

Important Key Figures about CEMEX Company

The table below shows the progression of CEMEX as from 31st of December, 2010.

Annual Sales US$14.07 billion

EBITDA US$2.31 billion

Employees Worldwide 46,500

Sales Distribution

Below graph clearly shows the Sales distribution by product and Sales geographic distribution in percentage amount during 2010.

Area of expertise in the CEMEX Company


CEMEX has always believed in producing high-quality branded cement for its customers. The main properties of the cement based-products are: Hydraulic, Aesthetic, Durable, and



CEMEX also provides its customers with aggregates which are composed of sand, gravel and rock. Aggregates are important in many forms of constructions such as maintenance and construction of highways, walkways, parking lots, airport runways, and railways.

Ready-Mix Concrete

Concrete is composed of the following main constituents: cement, aggregates, water, and admixtures. It is a durable material that can be easily molded and shaped. The properties of Ready-Mix Concrete are: durability, resistance to aggressive environments, light reflection, and capacity to store energy.


As one of the biggest multinational company which runs across more than 50 countries, CEMEX is constantly engaged in working towards a low carbon economy. Since 2002, they have participated as one of the original members of the World.

CO2 Footprint: Below are the key areas that CEMEX have long emphasized on:

Opt for an increased energy efficiency in most of their operations; Look for a greater usage of lower-emission alternatives to traditional fossil fuels (usually from waste streams); More usage of renewable energy; and reduction of clinker intensity. Their CO2 emissions per ton of cementitious products have dropped by 20.5% since 1990, and they are so close to touch their 25% reduction target by 2015. These efforts translated into 6.7 million tons of avoided CO2 emissions in 2010.

CO2 Footprint: Decrease internal CO2 footprint from production and transportation processes

Enhanced Sustainable Products: Develop enhanced low-carbon and sustainable products

Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Promote energy efficiency in buildings over their lifetime

Urban Development: Enable sustainable infrastructure such as renewable energy or low carbon urban development.

Some few years back, CEMEX set some specific targets to improve their performance and reduce some of their weaknesses:


Concrete by design

By developing solutions based on the applications of Concrete technology through research and knowledge, CEMEX has been successful in offering its customer "concrete by designTM" - a tailor-designed concrete. This innovation was realized by CEMEX concrete technologists who were able to bring modification to the properties of concrete by making use of innovation chemical admixtures, combined with the right proportions of the different concrete constituents. Furthermore, they are able to design concrete which is more fluid, stronger, develops strength faster, and also retains longer work durability.

Researchers at CEMEX's Global Center for Technology and Innovation design special concretes that meet the construction industry's increasingly demanding requirements through the development of chemical admixtures solutions. CEMEX offers a special concrete products such as ultra rapid hardening concrete, crack-resistant/low shrinkage concrete, self-consolidating concrete (SCC), architectural concrete, and pervious concrete.

Eco-labeled Rizal Green Cement

CEMEX recently launched their Rizal Green cement which is an all-purpose masonry cement that can be used for both masonry works and projects such as driveways, fences, and ground-floor slabs for residential construction. After two years of laboratory and market research, Rizal Green has a patented formulation that reduces CO2 emissions up to 32% when used as a substitute for ordinary Portland cement in masonry works.

Rizal Green is among several CEMEX products that has the Green Choice eco-label seal in the Philippines, which means that they manufacture their products in a manner that avoids damaging effects on the environment.

Low Carbon Cement

CEMEX UK is the first cement company in the world to provide certified carbon labels for its cement. The carbon label comprises the Carbon Trust's Carbon Reduction Label, shows that, depending on product composition, CEMEX cements generate between 17 to 24kg of CO2 per 25kg bag.

The carbon footprint is the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (CO2e) generated by their cement throughout its life cycle: from the extraction of the raw materials, to manufacturing, distribution, use by customers, and disposal at the end of life. The carbon footprint of their cement is certified to the PAS2050, the first international standard for companies to measure the carbon footprint of their products and services.

Furthermore, CEMEX UK's cement division has also been certified to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products BES6001 with a score of 'Very Good'. CEMEX is among the first in the industry to meet the standard, which covers all of the company's three UK cement plants to meet the requirements of the Government's Strategy for Sustainable Construction.


Based on a thorough research made on most of the CEMEX products, the 'low carbon cement' is the most innovative one. First of all, this product is the first in the world which is certified as 'Carbon label'. Cement is a high carbon emission product; however it can't be denied that it is actually the most demanding material in Construction Industry. In the UK, CEMEX encourages the use of recycled materials to produce blended cement which, in turn, is used to produce concrete. This innovative product is factory blended Portland composite cement that reduces landfill by reusing fly ash, a by-product of coal-fired power plants in its production process. CEM2 avoids CO2 emissions by 25% per metric ton of cement produced.

INNOVATION- services

SHIFT system

­­Employees at CEMEX Company have an internal space called shift based on the social networking concept. More than 95% of CEMEX's employees are using shift. In shift system, employees can collaborate with more than 500 communities where they can discuss on various topics like developing commercial practices, proving products, and projects such as the Low Carbon Sustainable strategy for CEMEX. Furthermore, by using shift, CEMEX is improving the ways that can help employees to discover solutions, generate new ideas and plan for the future. The main objective of Shift is to generate more and more innovations by making everybody participate in forums and online debates. CEMEX has a history of being a company where they believed in the hierarchical structure. However, CEMEX recognized the opportunity and decided to implement new collaborative practices where employees can interact one-on-one or in groups to improve the performance of the company. It is an effective way of having employees at every organizational level interacting with the top management.

Global centre for Technology and Innovation

Cemex has a global Centre for Technology and Innovation in Switzerland called the State of the art research laboratory. This laboratory has a very unique and special range of tools and in-house testing methods. Their research centre has significant skills in the following areas: new and improved construction materials, sustainable construction, cementitious materials (cement, slag and fly ash), concrete and mortar products, admixture formulations and aggregates.

Introducing the new Construction Industry

CEMEX realized that the construction industry is shifting towards a more cost-effective, efficient, and an environmentally friendly solution, eventually this has inspired them to be more innovative in conducting their global business.

Through their efficient and sustainable approach to innovation, from supply chain and logistics to plant production and technical centres, they are working hard to provide their customers with the most reliable and creative construction materials.


Product Development Centre

CEMEX's goal is to develop innovative building solutions and business practices that keep CEMEX, its customers, and suppliers at the forefront of the industry. To that end, it focuses on research and development in the areas of product development, cement process technology, business processes and information technology, sustainability, energy and CO2 emissions reduction.

CEMEX's product development centre designs new and improved construction materials, ranging from cementitious materials such as cement, fly ash, and slag to concrete, admixtures, aggregates, mortar, and asphalt. It also assesses and produces sustainable methods of construction, including the use of industrial byproducts, wastes, and recycled materials across the company's core businesses.

Environmental Issues

The Innovation center conducts research to provide CEMEX´s operations with a consistent, cost-competitive, and sustainable supply of energy because of the importance of energy and the emission of CO2 in the cement production process. They also work with strategic partners in the energy sector to develop and spread renewable energy. Their projects address critical issues such as climate change, biodiversity, water management, emissions, disturbances, and industrial ecology.

At CEMEX, they constantly try to find out more ways to help their customers to build sustainable structures. While concrete's properties make it a good choice for building more energy-efficient structures that need little or no maintenance over their useful lives, CEMEX work through their Global Center for Technology and Innovation to develop innovative products that work towards a more sustainable built environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

Alternative Fuels

CEMEX is increasing their use of alternative fuels, such as tires, household wastes, and biomass such as animal meal, sewage sludge and agricultural waste. All organic hazardous compounds are converted to harmless substances, because temperatures in cement kilns are very high. In this way, they are ideal for safely disposing of these kinds of waste and recovering energy in the process. Their kilns enable them to provide a suitable and necessary alternative to landfill without entrusting completely on fossil fuels.

Some of their alternative fuels and renewable electricity projects qualify as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. The CDM is a market-based mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which allows emission reduction or removal projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction credits. The CDM is an important mechanism for driving technology transfer and supporting industry efforts to addressing climate change.

Renewable Energy

CEMEX is using renewable energy more and more to generate power for their operations. They contract in wind, hydro power, and waste-to-energy projects that power their operations and help reduce CO2 emissions. An example is the Eurus wind farm project, located in Oaxaca, Mexico, which generates around 25 percent of their power needs in Mexico, and is currently powering their company headquarters in Monterrey, Mexico.

Alternative Raw Material

Another way in which CEMEX seeks to reduce energy consumption in their cement operations is by using alternative cementitious materials to reduce the ratio of clinker to cement (clinker factor). For example, they are increasingly using fly ash and blast furnace slag to reduce the ratio of clinker to cement.

Carbon Capture

CEMEX is collaborating with other companies, research institutes, and international organizations to explore the potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies as a possible long-term option to control CO2 emissions. Since 2003 CEMEX has been involved in the development of the so-called calcium looping process for capturing CO2 from flue gases, for example, as partners in the EU-funded C3-Capture project.

A recent grant received by the US Department of Energy is allowing them to explore the commercial application of CO2 capture using solid sorbent technologies and geological storage in one of their cement plants in the United States.


CEMEX have integrated waste management into their operations in several respects to cut down the amount of generated waste sent for disposal. Instead, they reuse many of the by-products of their operations; for example, cement kiln dust (CKD). They commonly add CKD to finished products and use it to stabilize waste or for environmental remediation.

Land Management & Biodiversity

CEMEX is dedicated to effective land management and biodiversity conservation. They responsibly manage the land within and around operations to protect biodiversity and maximize their contribution to nature conservation. They are aware that their operations and closing of all their cement and aggregates sites can eventually affect biodiversity, so they always try to minimize their possible impacts. These can include habitat degradation, species disturbance, changes in groundwater levels, discharges to water bodies, and dust emissions.

CEMEX supports many conservation organization throughout Europe, the US, and Mexico. In this instance, they have signed a 10 years agreement with BirdLife International.


Climate change will possibly be the most important element for global biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. Biodiversity and ecosystems are two vital factors for climate regulation and contribute to climate change adaptation. Such contributions include the removal of carbon from the atmosphere (carbon capture), regulation of water flows, and mitigation of extreme weather events.

For instance, deforestation contributes nearly 20 percent of the overall greenhouse gas emissions. CEMEX pays a lot of attention to a policy called the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), which helps in reducing deforestation, promotes biodiversity conservation, and generates credits to offset CO2 emissions.

El Carmen

Owned by CEMEX and other private landowners, El Carmen Initiative was established in 2000 and it helps to protect and conserve approximately 200,000 hectares of ecologically land along the border of the United States and Mexico. El Carmen is home to more than 500 species of plants, 289 species of birds, 78 species of mammals, and 79 kinds of reptiles and amphibians. Solar and wind-power generator systems are used to provide renewable energy to the facilities at El Carmen.

Safety Leadership

CEMEX strongly believe in the safety of all its employees. A flagship safety leadership program called LEGACY was designed and implemented in 2009 to equip managers at all levels with the tools, skills, and behaviors they need to run safe and efficient operations. The key factor of LEGACY is to promote the way CEMEX currently operate in achieving their long-term goal of zero incidents.


Generally science research is the source of technological innovation. Following objectives are the most important factors in innovation theories:

Innovation drives by technology

Demand pulling innovation

According to X.Peng , Z.Xin-chun, the development in science and technology would support an enterprise's research and development technically, and would enhance the technological opportunity of products and production techniques. Technological driving motivation is the main motivation of technological innovation.

Following diagram shows the successful innovation which has driven by technology.


According to X.Peng, Z.Xin-chun Communication industry, chemical industry and automobile industry, in which customers take the dominant position, are usually demands pulling industries. Market demands include existing or potential, economic or non-economic demands. Customers' changing demands and their feedback are the invaluable source of technological innovation. Successful innovation means accurately understanding the changing demands and fitting new products or service into market demands


By comparing the low carbon cement to the innovation theories, it can be concluded that the 'low carbon cement' is following the pulling innovation. Prediction shows that in 2050, the population of the world will be 9 billions because of Global warming and the fast growth of population. If this situation persists, the world will need more higher and sophisticated infrastructure facilities to fulfil the population demands. On the other hand, man-made carbon emission will cause massive environmental problems. Most of the Governments and Environment Organisations will require low carbon products in the future. As a result, CEMEX has been successful in bringing an innovation in its industry by producing low carbon cement.

The good thing about the CEMEX Company is that they always strive to find better solutions for their customers. In management innovation, CEMEX minimise bureaucracy by using internal technology. They believe in hard work and they constantly try to innovate and generate strong ideas in order to reduce environmental problems and therefore staying the number 1 leading construction material provider worldwide.