Sustainable Development Approach

Our Environmental Commitment

The Joliette Cement Plant, located 60 km northeast of Montréal, has been operating for more than 50 years. Over the years, this plant’s technology has continually been refined to meet the growing needs of its customers. By always modernizing and improving its operations, it has remained a cement industry flagship and a good corporate citizen. It is firmly committed to promoting the health and safety of its staff, fulfilling its corporate social responsibility and enhancing its performance with regard to sustainable development.

The Joliette cement plant has been participating since 2013 in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) linked cap-and-trade system between California and Québec. The cap-and-trade system can be simplified as limiting a facility’s annual GHG emissions through allowances (or credits) to emit a certain amount of GHGs (The “Cap”). If a facility has more allowances than needed, it can trade them to those that need them (who don’t have enough allowances). This is the “Trade”.

As part of its commitment to reducing its emissions and optimizing its CO2 profile, the cement plant initiated a research and development project in 2017 to verify cement kiln dust’s CO2 capture potential. Kiln dust is in fact a carbonate-rich residue that could capture a part of the plant’s CO2 emissions. To begin its research, the plant joined forces with a key partner, the Centre de transfert technologique en écologie industrielle (CTTEI), which boasts a qualified team of researchers. Thanks to the CTTEI, we were able to obtain nearly $55,000 in funding through the Programme d’aide à la recherche et au transfert (PART) from the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur. Lab tests with kiln dust began last summer and in 2018, we will have the results and recommendations for future steps.

For some twenty years now, the Joliette Cement Plant has been replacing a part of its fossil fuels with alternative fuels made from residual material that would otherwise have been sent to landfills. The Joliette Cement Plant’s use of alternative fuels is a rigorous process certified by the Quebec Ministère du développement durable, de l’environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques. The residual material is mostly industrial, for instance plastic composites, carpets or asphalt shingles. We also use fabrics or biomass like wood processing plant waste.

In 2000, the Joliette Cement Plant formed a strategic partnership with the Centre de valorisation Mario Charette (CVMC), located close to the plant. While the department handling alternative fuels is responsible for supplying the plant with residual material from various businesses, the CVMC handles material processing based on the plant’s needs and requirements. Residual material is thus directly delivered to CVMC for shredding and homogenization. The use of alternative fuels reduces our dependency on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, with a 30% annual replacement rate. Ash Grove North’s Joliette Cement Plant is pursuing improvement projects to increase its annual alternative fuel consumption and contribute to reducing its environmental footprint.

Cementitious additives are a sustainable and innovative solution allowing us to obtain high performance, more resistant and durable concrete, in addition to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. When added to Portland cement or blended cements, they improve the properties of concrete through their hydraulic or pozzolanic characteristics.

Among cementitious additives we use are fly ash, metakaolin and glass powder that meet the LEED® rating criteria for different applications—a stringent evaluation system recognized in more than 132 countries.

Aware of the impact of its activities on the environment, the Joliette cement plant is constantly endeavouring to reduce its environmental footprint and increase sustainability by setting precise and measurable objectives within its ISO 14001 certification. Achievements in this field earned the Joliette plant an environmental Phoenix Award in 2004, a prize it again was awarded in 2013 for its environmental and social commitment along with all CRH Canada divisions in Quebec.

It also received an Energia trophy for its use of scrap tires as a source of energy and the Conference Board of Canada’s Industry-University Synergy award for its participation in a research project on the use of wood treated with organic preservatives as alternative fuel.