In Addition to Implementing Strict Safety Protocols, Cement Companies Also Made Donations That Benefited the Needy.
By Mauro Nogarin
In this difficult economic and social situation caused by COVID-19, in Latin America several companies in the cement sector were among the first to contribute voluntarily to strengthen the health system.
In addition to implementing strict safety protocols from day one to preserve the health of their workers, the cement companies also made donations that benefited the most needy population.
In accordance with the technical guidelines established by the government, CEMEX resumed operations on April 30 to support the development and economy of the country during the COVID-19 contingency. Fernando González Olivieri, CEO of CEMEX, stated: “I want to express CEMEX’s full support for the government of Mexico and Mexican society in these difficult times. We are aware of the challenge we face, but I am confident that together we will succeed.”
CEMEX sales teams around the world are in constant contact with their clients remotely, taking advantage of the effectiveness of CEMEX Go, the company’s digital platform for ordering and invoicing.
CEMEX provided machinery from its Aguascalientes plant as well as donated liquid to the government to disinfect public areas in 11 hospitals. The company’s machinery has a capacity of 6,000 liters, allowing an area of approximately 2,000 square meters to be cleaned.
In addition, CEMEX provided material so that women from 14 regions of the country produced 11,500 masks and 480 liters of antibacterial gel that have been distributed in cities such as Ensenada, Guadalajara, Mérida and Monterrey.
Argos’ production was affected by the measures to cease operations in Colombia and some countries in the Caribbean and Central America that began in March.
Currently, in Colombia, mandatory isolation was lifted on April 13 for infrastructure and on April 27 for the construction of buildings, which made it possible to restart operations gradually.
For its part, in the Caribbean and Central America, shipments continue with total normality in Haiti, showing positive signs of recovery in Honduras since the market opened on April 16, with lesser impact on demand in Suriname and French Guiana, and with levels still below 40% of the usual volumes in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Antilles. Panama is still not operating due to restrictions and signs of a reopening in mid-May.
During this juncture, Argos also contributed to hospitals and communities in the countries where it operates, such as providing food security to the population near the areas of operation, benefiting more than 3,000 families in the communities, to the initiative related to the cleaning and disinfection of hospitals, market places and rallies – attending in total 47 days of disinfection.
In Colombia, to date, through the Grupo Argos Foundation, it has contributed $4.2 million in the health area to strengthen the capacity of the clinics.
Loma Negra cement company stopped production on March 20 when the government officially decreed quarantine.
However, through the Loma Negra Foundation in the city of Olavarría, it joined the project “1000 masks for the municipal hospital,” which it contributed via 3D printing carried out by the municipality and the Olavarría Social Club. In Zapala, the Community Development Council promoted the project “Manufacture of 3D masks for health zone 2” with the aim of making 350 masks for health professionals in four municipalities (Las Lajas, Mariano Moreno, Aluminé, Bajada del Agrio).
Another initiative promoted by the company was to the network of local entrepreneurs, where it helped finance the supplies to make another 1,200 masks.
The company Votorantim Cimentos acted on two fronts: in the municipalities where the companies themselves are present, it helps to combat the coronavirus, and on the other hand, it provides financial support of $9 million to public authorities, health institutions and private entities of society, in the purchase of medical supplies such as test kits, respirators and other equipment.
The initiatives will have the technical and medical support of the “Beneficencia Portuguesa de São Paulo”, an organization historically supported by Votorantim.
In addition, the company created a fund with a million dollars to support the various requests that come through institutions, associations, NGOs, hospitals and other public and private entities.
The main objective is to provide assistance in donating sanitary equipment and materials such as masks, glasses, gloves, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), among others. Donations have already been made to Edealina, Pinheiro Machado, Rio Branco do Sul and among other areas where the company operates.
Regarding the application of worker protection, Votorantim reinforced all measures aimed at the health of its employees, family members, service providers, partners, customers and communities where the company operates.
Obviously, all preventive actions were implemented, such as the cleaning of workplaces and charter buses, changes in the cafeteria routine, orientation to drivers, implementation of thermometers in all production units, prohibition of business trips, technical support telemedicine, psychological support, and telework application from home for all administrative areas.
The SOBOCE company, which is part of the Peruvian group Gloria, delivered food worth $150,000 to the national government to assist vulnerable sectors in four cities in the country. The donation was made in the Social Management Support Unit of the Presidency of the city of La Paz.
The products have also been distributed in the cities of Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and El Alto, to shelters for children and adolescents, shelters for people with limited resources, homes for the elderly, rehabilitation houses and shelters for people with disabilities, among others. Among the donated products are 25,000 cans of milk powder, 1,500 units of 2-kilo cheese, 43,000 bags of soy-based food, 60,000 units of 2 liters of water, 10,000 kilos of sugar and 10,000 liters of fruit juices.
Mauro Nogarin is Cement Americas’ Latin American contributor. From 1997 to 2001 he was a reporter for the Italian news agency ASCA from Germany to follow the economic events of ECOFIN. At the same time, he began a strong partnership with the Italian magazine Focus with issues related to European scientific research. Back in Italy after six years of residence in the city of Heidelberg, Germany, he worked from Italy for the weekly Stern and Bild Zeitung. Since 2005, he has lived in Bolivia and worked with the Italian geopolitics review Limes, the Italian gas and oil journal Staffetta Quotidiana, the Colombian oil magazine Petroleo Internacional, the German RE Sun and Energy, the U.S. magazine Renewable Energy World (Pennwell), the World Energy Project (Università di Bologna), Pan Americana Construction magazine and World Oil magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].