Setting a Concrete Standard For Sustainability: A Critical Assessment and Comparative Analysis of the Sustainability Reports and Compliance of the Three Publicly Listed Cement Manufacturing Companies in the Philippines
By Christer James Ray A. Gaudiano*
The Philippines is abundant with substantial reserves of limestone, one of the main ingredients in the production of cement. Limestone reserves are estimated to last at least one thousand (1,000) years at the present rate of domestic consumption. While this wealth of natural resources presents great potential for domestic cement manufacturing, this is expected to pose a substantial impact on the community and the environment, which necessitating a more sustainable operation.
Cement is one of the world’s most important building materials. It is a fine powdery substance composed of various minerals that are extracted from the earth, such as limestone (calcium), sand or clay (silicon), bauxite (aluminum), and iron ore, and may include shells, chalk, marl, shale, clay, blast furnace slag, and slate. These raw materials are processed in cement-manufacturing plants and heated to form a rock-hard substance, which is then ground into fine powder. Cement mixed with water causes a chemical reaction and forms a paste that sets and hardens to bind individual structures of building materials. On the other hand, concrete, which is the final product of cement, is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource in the world.
The manufacturing of cement products creates a substantial impact on communities, specifically on the social, economic, and environmental aspects. Its effects include emission of airborne polluting agents in the form of dust and gases, noise, and vibration when operating machineries or during blasting in quarry sites..
Accordingly,the production of cement has significant positive and negative impacts. On the positive side, the cement industry has generated employment and business opportunities for the people where the cement-manufacturing companies operate. On the other hand, its negative effects include disturbance to the landscape, dust and noise pollution, and disruption of local biodiversity resulting from quarrying limestone, which is the principal raw material for cement.
The implementation of the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for publicly-listed companies will encourage the local cement manufacturers to integrate sustainability in their operations. This paper aims to compare and analyze the submissions and compliance of the three (3) publicly-listed cement companies in the Philippines, namely, Eagle Cement Corporation, Holcim Cement Corporation, and Cemex Holdings Philippines, and to determine whether or not there is a real effort to make their respective operations sustainable for the community and the environment.
* Member (Vol. 50), UST Law Review; Juris Doctor, Faculty of Civil Law, University of Santo Tomas; A.B. Legal Management, University of Santo Tomas; International Master of Laws (LL.M. Cand.), Ateneo de Manila University with specialization in International Business and Corporate Law.
 Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP). Position Paper. 04 November 2019. PCC Case No. E-2019-002
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