Page 1: Introduction
Lafarge may not be a company name that you would quickly recognise but its products and expertise have helped to create some of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects, including the M25 motorway, the Channel Tunnel, Canary Wharf in London and several UK power stations.
The Lafarge Group is the world’s largest supplier of building materials and has a global reputation for developing creative and innovative products, services and solutions. The company produces essential products – cement, aggregates and concrete – which are integral to society. Cement and concrete are basic materials in all walks of life – everyone relies on the country’s infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, power stations, housing and railways.
The Group employs over 68,000 people in 64 countries and Lafarge’s four Business Units in the UK (Cement, Aggregates, Readymix concrete, and Asphalt) have nearly 3,000 employees working across more than 200 sites around the country. As market leader, it holds around 40% of the UK cement market. Lafarge’s business is based on its core values. These, along with highly skilled and experienced people, provide the platform for operating safely and responsibly.
Lafarge is facing many interesting challenges. As a major extractor of raw materials in the primary sector, issues of sustainability and corporate social responsibility are of high importance. The drive for increased sustainability affects every part of Lafarge’s activities – from extraction and manufacture, to transport and delivery, to waste reduction and restoration. In recognition of its high record of achievement, Lafarge has won several major industry awards in the UK, including one from the Environment Agency for its work on recycling water.
Managing health and safety for employees, contractors, the wider public and environment throughout these processes is vital. Lafarge believes that ‘No task is so important that anyone should get hurt doing it’ (Dyfrig James, President Lafarge UK). It has a stated goal of ‘Zero Harm’ – that is, zero accidents, incidents or job-related illness. This objective applies to employees, its supply chain and the public.
Together, the drive for increased sustainability, coupled with a continuous focus on health and safety, is generating a need for high quality recruits at both graduate and apprentice levels. They will provide the creative solutions that the business and the industry need to meet these challenges. Such recruits are needed, not just in science or engineering, but also in manufacturing and commercial parts of the business.
This case study will explore how Lafarge UK is active in all three sector of industry and how it manages the need to develop the business alongside protecting the environment and respect for local communities.