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In the UK, Lafarge Roofing has developed a plan for quality improvement in compliance with BS 9001:2000. External and internal audits establish how manufacture, delivery, service and specification can be continually improved in quality.

The aims of quality management and a commitment to sustainability are mutually supporting.

Lafarge, the parent company, is a founder member of the Conservation Partnership with WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature); Lafarge Roofing submits environmental performance indicators to the parent company every year.

The following examples illustrate how Lafarge Roofing has achieved this in the UK:

The Bedworth plant, Warwickshire, one of the most modern plants in the group, produces 25 million clay tiles every year.

Working to a DEFRA agreement, the plant has reduced energy consumption - and therefore CO 2emissions - by five per cent, with a further 10 per cent saved through improvements in technology, heat recovery and 'good housekeeping'.

Lafarge Roofing studied capacity and efficiency at its seven concrete-tile production works in the UK. It considered closing some tile works, but this would have had a negative impact on employment and increased transport costs. The company included the environmental implications of transport in a study of industrial restructuring. It concluded that a full range of tile products should be available near centres of demand, and four works near these centres were equipped to produce a broader range of products. The result was that no works were closed. Instead, mileage has fallen by 64,000km a year. This translates into a 164-tonne reduction in CO 2 emissions per year. Each plant is more efficiently used, and in a single year, one plant has already reduced its electric consumption by almost 17 per cent.

Each works has a waste-reduction and recycling team. The Devon works has virtually eliminated breakage of tiles, and at South Cerney (above), broken tiles and tile waste is now recycled.

Waste water from production processes is recycled.

Packaging materials have been reduced.

Lafarge Roofing has worked with BRE on life-cycle analysis of tile products, and continues to work with trade associations drawing on the company's experience in Holland and Germany, where energy consumption is lower.

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