ECUADOR - Industry
CEO, Holcim Ecuador
Dolores Del Carmen Prado Marenco has more than 35 years of management experience, 22 of them in the LafargeHolcim group, where she started as commercial manager in her native Nicaragua. She later held positions as country manager, general director of Nicaragua, and later CEO of El Salvador. For the last five years, she has been CEO of the Central America Cluster comprising El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. As of 2021, she has been in charge of the executive management of Holcim Ecuador, a position that for the first time is held by a woman and coincides with the first centenary of the company. She holds a degree in business administration and a postgraduate degree in marketing and sales from the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua.
Holcim Ecuador has taken several decisive steps in terms of sustainability, having invested millions to reduce its carbon footprint and improve its production methods.
How does Holcim work to promote the empowerment of women?
I have been working at Holcim, where I started in the commercial area in Nicaragua, for 24 years. Some years later, I had the opportunity to be promoted to general manager in Nicaragua and then CEO. I was Holcim’s first female CEO in the world, and that showed the potential to empower women within Holcim. Later, I was the CEO of El Salvador and then of the Central American cluster, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica, my next step was Ecuador, where I arrived in 2021 the same year that Holcim Ecuador was celebrating its 100th anniversary. On top of that, Holcim Ecuador has a female president of the board of directors, Caterina Costa and our leadership team is over 60% women. I am extremely happy to be here and contribute to bring more women to our operations.
What factors will boost demand in the construction sector?
Cement consumption was typically 70% for public infrastructure projects and 30% for private projects; however, today public infrastructure does not even reach 20%, because the government of Ecuador is in the process of reducing its public spending. We are much more focused now on private companies and individuals building their homes. One thing that is activating is that remittances have increased more than 70%, both from the US and Europe. Those people want to return to live in Ecuador at some point and are building their houses here. That is also a dynamizer of that small construction, this is an example of the new opportunities in our industry.
How would you assess Holcim Ecuador’s commitment to society and the environment?
Holcim is heavily committed to sustainability, our goal being Net Zero by 2050 along with partial steps by 2030. Among them, we have to make products with a smaller carbon footprint, and one of the ways to do that is to have less clinker, which is the main material that releases pollution into the environment. There must be cooperation between academia, the government, and even financial institutions. This topic has yet to fully reach Ecuador, and that has to be strengthened. For example, the municipality of Guayaquil throws out 4,500 tons of garbage daily. Holcim has a company, Geocycle, through which we bring the garbage and convert it into clean energy. Right now, we are asking for an investment of USD16-19 million to make a commitment with the municipality of Guayaquil to manage 10% of the garbage that Guayaquil produces and convert it into energy. We have become the company with more Punto Verde certifications by the Environmental Ministry for our cleaner production projects, such us recyclable water projects in all our plants, energy and waste reduction, among others
What is your view on the economic situation in Ecuador, and what are your plans for Holcim in the country?
Holcim Ecuador believes in this country and keeps investing to grow in our operations and service to our clients. In the last few years, we invested almost USD7 million in a raw material conveyor belt in a plant that is almost 4km long, where before we used to use many trucks to bring its raw material. Now, all this is transported on completely closed conveyor belts, which is a purely environmental investment because it prevents pollution. In 2021, we inaugurated a new aggregates plant, Loma Alta, with an investment of USD10 million, and it is the first plant with over 50% women. If we manage to materialize the project with the municipality of Guayaquil, we will be able to manage 10% of the garbage and turn it into clean energy. Another thing is that 60% of the executive committee, 67% of the leadership committee, and 60% of Holcim’s workforce are women. Not only is there gender diversity, but everyone is young, and it is easier to handle the transformation of our industry to make it more sustainable.
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