Sustainability-linked financing guides cement plant CO2 emissions cut

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Sources: Votorantim Cimentos, São Paulo; CMCM staff

Votorantim Cimentos is the latest multinational cement, aggregate and concrete producer to use a sustainability-linked financing instrument, whereby repayment terms partly hinge on the extent to which a target capital investment lowers a plant operation’s current carbon dioxide emissions levels. A key operator in the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, Votorantim Cimentos has entered an $150 million financing agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets and a member of the World Bank Group. 

“The cement industry is a fundamental part of the future development and urbanization of developing countries and, therefore, essential for sustainable economic growth. Investment in Votorantim Cimentos represents an important steppingstone in the process of improving greener supply capacity in the cement sector, paving the way to attracting more investment,” observes IFC Country Manager, Brazil Carlos Leiria Pinto.

Proceeds will support extension of an alternative fuel program at a State of São Paulo cement operation in Votorantim Cimentos’ home base. Company officials envision the project, scheduled for completion by 2028, doubling the plant’s capacity to substitute fossil fuel with biomass, wood chips, used tires and other refuse-derived sources with Btu value suiting a cement kiln. Per the IFC agreement, the CO2 emissions reduction attributable to the fuel substitution will be subject to verification by the London-based Science Based Targets initiative. Votorantim Cimentos is among multinational cement producers that have enlisted SBTi to verify formal carbon reduction declarations, and was among 10 producers represented on the Expert Advisory Group responsible for the group’s Cement Science Based Target Setting Guidance (September 2022). 

“This project is an important step in our decarbonization journey,” says Votorantim Cimentos Global Director of Sustainability Álvaro Lorenz, citing its alignment with the company’s 2030 Sustainability Commitments.

“The decarbonization agenda is one of the biggest challenges for the coming years. Being able to benefit from competitive and long-term loans through partnerships with institutions such as IFC will be essential to enable new projects,” adds Chief Financial Officer Biana Nasser. 

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