Innovation, the lever for growth and competitiveness
For the fifth year running, 2011 was a particularly difficult one which affected the construction business. In this context, the Group continued to counter the negative effects of lower turnover on profitability through cost containment and recovering industrial efficiency.
The innate industrial spirit that has carried us through almost 150 years of operations in various economic conditions has once again been the catalyst to react against unfavourable situations, also as a result of the geographic diversification of the Group.
We therefore look forward in the short term to fuse our traditional values with a focus on the future through innovation, the strategic lever the Group intends to use to develop its competitive advantage, while contributing to improved quality of life and the environment.
Innovation and sustainability, together with a new programme of selective investments involving Group production in Bulgaria, Italy, India and Morocco, are the key aspects of 2012.
This year saw the inauguration of i.lab, Italcementi’s new innovation and research centre, designed by the architect Richard Meier and built to be compliant with Leed, the leading energy and environmental certification standard for construction, which enables energy savings of up to 60%, compared to a traditional building.
i.lab is an engine of growth and competitiveness, focusing on research and the transfer of technology to construction materials, where cement is the generator of sustainable architecture and intelligent buildings.
i.lab offers the area and the community the Group’s core vocation for innovation and, at the same time, the message that industry can be the driver for sustainability, benefitting the economy, the environment and society.
i.lab’s engineers, researchers and technical staff work together to integrate know-how with good practices and experience to drive technological innovation while implementing a strategy of sustainability.
2012 marks ten years of Italcementi Group documenting sustainability policies with detailed publication of the results achieved and a continuous constructive relationship with all its stakeholders.
The Group has decided to take a further step in this direction by publishing the Report on Sustainability together with the Directors’ Annual Report.
In the ten-year period, the quality and detail of information have been improved, in line with the provisions of the Global Reporting Initiative, having adopted in 2010 the new United Nations Global Compact, which convenes global companies excelling in sustainability issues.
Specifically, the Ten Principles of the Global Compact adopted have been confirmed as founding elements of Group Policies and the operating codes of good practice, and the annual Report on Sustainability publishes the Communication on Progress of all the initiatives implemented to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals.
Alongside these initial commitments, based upon the new developments in a rapidly and continually evolving world, and an uncertain economic climate, in 2012 we shall continue the operating and industrial efficiency plans including rigorous financial management, in order to support the Group’s commitment to future growth.
Giampiero Pesenti Carlo Pesenti
Chairman Chief Executive Officer