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In the year 2008 an unprecedented crisis swept through the global financial system – a crisis whose impact on the real economy will be felt even more acutely during the current year and which will have painful consequences for those in employment but also for the increasing numbers of unemployed.

However, these difficult circumstances will in no way alter TITAN’s deep-rooted belief that implementation of the principles of corporate social responsibility and sustainable growth is not just a moral requirement but also good business practice.

Titan’s significant participation in initiatives to expand the UN Global Compact through national networks of active business members both in Greece and in south-eastern Europe provides firm evidence that the Group remains faithful to its principles, its pledges and the commitments it has undertaken.

In difficult times like these, it is natural that greater emphasis should be laid on cooperation, collective action and responsibility – on the level of both the Company and the Group. In a world presenting such enormous challenges and opportunities, solid business achievement and sustainable growth require two-way communication, reciprocal understanding and collaboration not just with employees but with all stakeholders.

To further this objective TITAN organized last October a new and original initiative - the first national Stakeholders Forum in Greece.

Two main recommendations emerged from the discussions at the Forum, both of them very positively received: first, that “TITAN should do more good in those areas where, unavoidably, it does most harm”, and second, that the company should ‘provide a fuller account of its environmental and social footprint’.

In the aftermath of the Forum we treated both these recommendations as priorities and they will serve as a compass guiding us in our future plans and activities.

In tandem with the above initiatives, TITAN has also sustained its energetic commitment to its activities as a member of the Cement Sustainability Initiative. In the nature of things, the cement sector will always be focusing its attention on two main problems: how to reduce or eliminate accidents in the workplace, and how to limit atmospheric emissions and more general damage to the natural environment.

In the first area, safety at work, 2008 was for TITAN and the sector as a whole a year of failures and enormous disappointment.

The year’s five fatalities (three employees of contractors, one Titan employee and one road accident victim) have been a painful reminder that no effort in the area of safety can ever be deemed too great, and that all our work crews must remain alert and vigilant at all times if we are to achieve our objective of eliminating accidents.
In the second area of major significance, the protection of the environment and promotion of sustainable growth, there have been substantial successes, both in the sector and in our own Group.

The nuisance-reduction targets we had set for the five-year period 2006-2010 were all achieved early, by 2008. We have therefore decided to set new, even more ambitious targets (see the Environmental Footprint), as we firmly believe that there is always room for further improvement and the total Group production capacity has changed with new equities last year.

We should point out that the work done as part of the Cement Sustainability Initiative is assessed by independent, external verifiers and the results published internationally.

In the 107 years since the company was founded, TITAN has lived through a number of serious economic crises and survived adverse conditions of various kinds. But, thanks to its dedication to its core values and the support and ability of its employees, it has always managed to emerge from these trials and tribulations stronger and more efficient than before. Now again, despite the economic downturn, I am confident that we can overcome any difficulties – faithful to our values and trusting in the dedication and ability of our workforce.

When the recession ends, TITAN will be ready from the very beginning of the recovery to pursue its course of growth and expansion, more dynamic than ever, as a business more than ever committed to its role in the community.

Dimitri Papalexopoulos
Managing Director