What made you join the French pavilion?
In 1817, Louis Vicat, a graduate of the École Polytechnique engineering school and an engineer with the ministry of public works of the time, unveiled the chemical mechanisms involved in the making of artificial cement. So that his discovery could be of benefit to all, he did not patent his findings. In 1853 his son, Joseph, founded the company Vicat and built its first cement plant, in France’s Alpine region. Since then, the Vicat Group has continually grown and expanded, in France and internationally. Cement has a long future ahead of it, for even today, after two centuries of experimentation and improvement, ongoing research and development is still aimed at building a better world tomorrow. This is what we wanted to demonstrate to the greatest possible number of people by being in the French pavilion at Expo 2017.
What are the innovations you want to present?
Energy is the central focus of our concerns. In 2015, at the 21st United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21), Vicat was one of the first non-party signatories of the Paris Pledge for Action aimed at keeping the planet on the 2°C target trajectory. Consuming energy more efficiently and developing energy-efficient construction solutions for housing and infrastructures are now part of our daily lives. The design and development of our materials naturally uses the material and energy given to us by the planet, but above all it is achieved through the intelligence and commitment of our employees working in our laboratories and on our production sites.
The world of tomorrow will be predominantly urban and will comply with the principles of sustainable construction. We have an immense challenge to rise to by 2050. More than two billion more people will inhabit the planet. It is our responsibility to provide them with attractive cities that are pleasant to live in, where building materials will interact with our senses. That is the story, the challenge, that we will recount to our visitors as we, like the other partners present, demonstrate the very best of French know-how.
What does Kazakhstan represent for Vicat?
For us, Kazakhstan is a land of opportunity in the heart of Asia, a country with a young, enterprising population. Like every country on the planet, it wants to grow and advance. Vicat has been working in Kazakhstan since 2007. Our first cement plant, on the shores of Lake Balkhash, came into production in 2010. Through our employees, our products, and our ideas, we want to be a partner in the development of this great and beautiful country whose booming capital, Astana, is undeniably testimony to the potential of the country as a whole.
Interview of December 19, 2016.