Substantial impacts, challenges and opportunities
Nesher formed an environmental policy based on the principles of the industrial ecology approach
Nesher’s environmental policy is based on the principles of the industrial ecology approach. Industrial ecology deals with shifting away from linear industrial processes, whereby resources and capital pass through the production chain and turn into waste, to a closed-circuit system in which waste can serve as input for new production processes. Research focuses on a range of issues that include the flow of materials and energy (industrial metabolism), technological changes in relation to the environment, life cycle, planning and design, eco-efficiency, product-driven environmental policies and more.
As part of the adoption of this approach, Nesher utilizes by-products from other industries as substitutes for both fuel and raw materials, returning what used to be process waste into the production process. Nesher uses marginal water as a substitute for freshwater wherever possible, and also uses wastewater for cooling, wetting roads, and preventing dust.
"Made in Israel" cement – national resilience
The cement industry plays a major part in supplying the society's needs as regards to housing and infrastructures. The development of sustainable infrastructures that will remain stable and efficient for the long-term is of great importance. Consequently, most cement industries worldwide are local, as all countries (including Israel) require an available, continuous cement supply. The need to supply the state of Israel with available building materials from a local source requires a local industry.
Green building – health and comfort
Green Building is a comprehensive approach to planning, building, operation, and maintenance of buildings, emphasizing environmental principles and striving to minimize the impact of buildings on the environment. Green building uses less resources, significantly lowers operational and ongoing maintenance costs, and offers its users a healthy, high-quality, comfortable living environment.
When it comes to green building, cement and concrete have several advantages, including: cement production allows the utilization of recycled raw materials and alternative fuels – wastes and by-products from various industries; precast concrete (a concrete element prepared at the plant and already cast when installed) as a allows the reduction of waste and lower water consumption; possessing a long life cycle and a high thermal mass, cement is an energetically and environmentally efficient construction material; light-colored concrete surfaces with a higher albedo than asphalt surfaces allow reduction of the urban heat island; porous concrete allows water to permeate to the ground and reduces the need for large drainage and sewage systems.
Producing energy from waste – a national solution
In 2014 Nesher completed a large-scale NIS 65 million project that includes a new refuse-derived fuel (RDF) production facility in its Ramla plant. The RDF plant allows Nesher to produce energy from urban and industrial waste with highly combustible components that is used as raw material in cement kilns. This national project for recycling of waste and returning it into the process, earned the company the Industry and Environment 2015 award in the contest initiated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) and the Manufacturers Association of Israel.
Porous concrete allows water to permeate to the ground and reduces the need for large drainage and sewage systems.
Environmental protection – global trends
Worldwide, expectations for sustainable industry and constant improvement in environmental performance are rising, especially in regards to the cement industry. There are also stricter legislative requirements for greater transparency and stronger relationships with all stakeholders, including local residents, environmental and social organizations, and government agencies.
Greenhouse gas quotas – "Carbon leakage"
In line with the evidence for the increasing impact of human activity on global climate, Nesher must prepare itself for stricter requirements with regard to emissions. Following the negative impact of stricter legislation in Europe, the European cement industry transferred many of its manufacturing facilities to countries with less stringent environmental legislation. This does not benefit global climate, while negatively impacting local employment rates.
Global market – Israel joins the OECD
In 2012, Israel joined the OECD organization, which required changes in Israel’s environmental policies regarding the prevention of soil, water, air and sea pollution, as well as in the level of transparency the industry is required to provide.
Air quality and quality of life of the neighboring communities
All industrial sites, including Nesher’s, have a potential impact on the environment. The worldwide cement industry recognizes two areas in which the environmental impact is particularly challenging: air quality on a local level and carbon dioxide emissions on a global level that affects climate change.