Voluntary Agreements (VA)


A Proactive Early Initiative by Holcim

The issue of climate change has had a high profile in recent years, as nations and businesses grapple with obligations outlined in the Kyoto Protocol. Some nations have been dealing with this issue for more than a decade, however. The 1992 Framework Convention for Climate Change (FCCC) aimed to stabilise international greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels.

In New Zealand the Government sought to respond to the FCCC by encouraging sectors to take steps to reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emissions. The cement industry responded early to the Government call by setting up CIEMA, the Cement Industry Energy Management Association, in 1994. The members were Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd (formerly, Milburn New Zealand Ltd), Lee Cements Limited, Golden Bay Cement, the Cement and Concrete Association, the Maruia Society (now Ecologic) and the Government body EECA.

The cement industry, and a number of other large manufacturers and energy businesses, worked with the Government to develop a response to the goals of the FCCC. In March 1995 the cement industry signed a Voluntary Agreement with the New Zealand Government to take actions to help meet the nation's goals under the FCCC. This Voluntary Agreement committed the cement companies to reduce the rate of CO 2 emissions by 12% by the year 2000. At the same time the target was set to reduce the rate of energy consumption by 20% in the same timeframe.

The cement industry made good progress towards the goal of 12% CO 2 reduction. Holcim achieved the 12% savings goal for its own emissions; the cement industry as a whole made savings of over 10%.

New Zealand as a nation has done a sound job of limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases in the 1990s. Between 1990 and 1999 New Zealand's gross greenhouse gas emissions rose by 5.2% - by comparison in the same time period the population rose 13.4%.

Between 1990 and 1998 the CO 2 emissions from the energy and manufacturing sectors did not increase at all. This is in part due to the proactive measures taken by a number of businesses in these sectors by entering in to Voluntary Agreements with the New Zealand Government. Emissions from the burgeoning transport sector rose from under 9 million tonnes in 1990 to almost 12 million tonnes in 1998.