How do you assess the state of the construction sector, and what are CEMEX's main development ambitions?
Despite the challenges because of the COVID-19, construction sector showed it resilience and its relevance related with the role of being an economic trigger, in charge of developing projects even during crisis. That is why perspectives are fairly positive. First, Colombia's housing sector, both formal and informal, is extremely dynamic. The formal housing sector set a record of sales in 2020, and we started this year with very positive outcomes. Regarding infrastructure, the building projects never stopped for a long-term period, so we continued providing materials and services to our customers, while local and national governments made new investments for infrastructure development. Even if the office building market will be stagnant maybe for long, we are positive regarding 2021 results, thanks to a positive forecast of housing, infrastructure, and commercial demand.
How does CEMEX position itself as the partner of choice in the government's ambitious investments in infrastructure and housing development, for example in the subsidized VIS projects?
One of our expertise areas at a global level is infrastructure. CEMEX specialized products and technical support makes our company a top option for the infrastructure market. Significant examples of this are some projects in Colombia we are providing materials to, for example Estación Elevadora Canoas, Autopista Río Magdalena, Ruta 40 (Bogotá – Girardot) and Cúcuta – Pamplona tunnel. In which regards VIP or VIS projects we are working in significant projects such as Reserva de Fontibón 1-2 (Bogotá), Puerta Dorada (Barranquilla) and Brisas de Torcoroma (Cúcuta). For infrastructure and housing development, we offer the most competitive and comprehensive offer of products and building solutions. Our portfolio includes both hard materials as cement, concrete, aggregates, and additives, as well as hardware store products, via our Construrama network in Colombia. In addition to our offer of products, CEMEX also provides advanced technical support through CEMEX High Tech, our advisory scheme to help our customers make better decisions, offering our global experience for their building projects. This innovative model makes possible to our customers to count on our support during the development of the whole project.
How does CEMEX incorporate sustainability into its business, and how is it a core value for the company?
Sustainability is one of our north stars at CEMEX, that is why one of our top global commitments is to be part of a solution regarding the challenge of climate change. In 2020 the company announced a new Climate Action strategy, which outlines the company´s vision to advance towards a carbon-neutral economy. As a result of our global efforts to date, we have reduced our net specific CO2 emissions by more than 22% compared to our 1990 baseline. We have defined a more ambitious target of a 35% reduction of net specific CO2 emissions by 2030. To complement this strategy with a longer-term vision, CEMEX is also establishing a new ambition to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete by 2050, for the development of climate-smart urban projects, sustainable buildings, and resilient infrastructure. A consequence of the above is Vertua concrete and cement. Both products point to a reduction of CO2 emissions during the process of production, from 20% to a full reduction both thanks to zero emissions or offset projects. Thanks to Vertua, Colombian building sector now counts with the possibility of developing low-carbon projects and decreasing their footprint.
What is the importance of Colombia for CEMEX globally, and how are you structuring business development to grow in the country?
Colombia is the fourth or fifth-largest operation of CEMEX worldwide depending on the product and is the biggest operation in the South and Central America and the Caribbean region. Furthermore, CEMEX is committed to Colombia so we are building an integral cement plant in Maceo, which is a significant investment and will be completed in 2022. We will be employing 700 people for the remaining works of this project.