Building the Nation: Bamburi continues to find better ways to build sustainably

 

The company’s vision “To be the undisputed leader and preferred partner by providing innovative solutions for nation building,” speak to its bold ambitions

 

bamburi cement mombasa plant
Bamburi Cement's Mombasa Plant

 

It is impossible to tell the history of Kenya, and East Africa’s, cement manufacturing without starting with Bamburi Cement. Indeed, Bamburi has been synonymous with cement manufacturing and marketing in the region for decades, springing from a history and commitment to a sustainable business model.

When Croatian construction magnate Felix Mandl landed in Kenya in 1951 on an exploration mission, decided to make the country his home and set up the country’s first cement company at the Coastal town of Mombasa, the industry was born literary. Over the years Bamburi Cement has embarked on a solid journey of ‘building the nation’ through investment in innovation, high quality cement and solutions that meet specific needs of the industry, and most importantly taking a sustainability approach.

Today it still stands as the leading cement manufacturing and marketing company in the Eastern Africa region.

Sustainable practices are good for business

Sustainability has always been a key focus for Bamburi. For many decades Bamburi Cement has been known for its efforts in quarry rehabilitation and conservation through its environmental arm Lafarge Eco Systems. Its prominent example being Bamburi Haller Park, a former quarry wasteland that is now a rich ecosystem of diverse vegetation and wildlife (comprising rescued animals). Haller Park is now a great tourist attraction at the Kenyan Coast and is also source of sharing experiences, expertise and knowledge with others through environmental education programs.  Its unique rehabilitation has seen it become the first recipient of the United Nations Environmental Program Global 500 Roll of Honor award.

The company has also had partnerships with different like-minded organizations, like KenGen Foundation among other partners, on an initiative dubbed ‘The Green Initiative Challenge (GIC)’ that is designed to encourage and enable schools in arid and semi-arid areas to participate in environmental activities by developing woodlots within their school compounds, and making school children environmental ambassadors.

Further, as energy intensive industries find opportunities in utilizing alternative fuels, Bamburi now forms partnerships with waste producers - from agricultural, to waste oil and tyres - that substitute fossil fuels in its factories, while also addressing the society’s waste management challenge.

Community engagements

In addition, active community engagement and involvement is a big part of Bamburi’s responsible mining agenda, fully embracing its responsibilities as a responsible corporate citizen. During the Covid-19 pandemic for instance the company has continued to work hand in hand with communities around its operations, as well as healthcare workers, to support them in the area of prevention.

Sustainable Mining

Indeed, Bamburi has been cited as ‘Best in Class’ in terms of compliance with the mining and mineral prospecting operations requirements in line with the Mining Act and regulations. This includes continuous engagement with the various communities around its operations during the mining process, through annual Environmental Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) and maintaining world class rehabilitation of mined areas.

Building for growth

With a resolute mantra ‘Building for Growth’, Bamburi is cognizant of the fact that to remain competitive into the future, it must combine sound financial performance with a commitment to social responsibility, environmental stewardship and economic development of the nation.

As such, the company has adopted an aggressive growth strategy in an effort to secure and grow its market share in Kenya. With an annual cement capacity of 3.2million metric tonnes, the company has now embarked on building a new clinker plant in Kwale (Matuga) set to be operational by the year 2024.

The project is expected to meet Bamburi’s growing need for clinker with an estimated 1.6 M tonnes annual increased capacity and support its growth in the region. Currently through its Uganda subsidiary, Hima Cement, and directly from Kenya, it supplies to markets in Rwanda, South Sudan and DRC.

Bamburi’s leadership and competitiveness

Bamburi’s cement market comprise 80% individual home owners, and 20% taken up by infrastructural sector. The market growth potential is quite significant. The government’s Affordable Housing agenda, for instance which targets to deliver 500,000 housing units by 2022, as it seeks to solve a current 2 million units housing deficit, is one of market opportunity.

More opportunities are presented by the fast-growing population, rising disposable incomes, investments in roads, rail, airports, and ports among other key infrastructure developments that support the economy.

Bamburi has positioned itself for such projects by offering application-based products among other wide array of cement and concrete products. This is in addition to solutions that solve challenges like affordability, accessibility, and technical expertise in a bid to support middle- and low-income builders, as well as projects.

The company also offers building and construction solutions that meet the next level of customer needs, including in the area of low-carbon construction. Its building solutions like its ‘Maskani’ and ‘Houses of Tomorrow’ for instance provide an opportunity to local home builders to not only construct cost-effectively using quality technical advice, but also achieve very low embodied CO2 footprint buildings. So are its cement and concrete products, be it ready-mix or pre-cast concrete, that meet high performance and diverse aesthetics needs in construction, bringing to life modern architecture.

Bamburi has also invested in modern technologies that improve efficiency, service delivery and customer satisfaction; including digital systems that allow customers to order and get served online, technologies that support health and safety of employees and partners, to modern industrial and logistics systems that promote efficiency.

As it continues to find better ways to build sustainably, Bamburi remains a ‘mover and shaker’ in an industry that has its work cut out to provide innovative and sustainable solutions for nation building.