Cement industry plots path to net-zero through new global platform

Some of the world's largest cement and concrete businesses have joined a new collaborative platform aimed at transforming the sector to enable the delivery of carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.

Cement industry plots path to net-zero through new global platform

A net-zero roadmap looks set to be launched at COP26

The Concrete Action for Climate initiative (CAC) has been launched today (6 July) by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) and the World Economic Forum (WEF). The initiative will act as a collaborative effort to create a global market for carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.

Already, more than 40% of the industry globally has joined the initiative through GCCA membership. The Association and WEF are inviting others to join and help develop a net-zero roadmap and contributing to its launch during COP26 later this year.

CAC’s chairman and chairman of the managing board at Heidelberg Cement Dr Dominik von Achten said: “Concrete is vital to the development of the modern world, being used to develop key infrastructure like safe homes, bridges, hospitals as well as supporting the transition to clean energy. Strong action to improve the sustainability of cement and concrete is already underway, but the industry needs to engage and collaborate with others to help drive collective action towards achieving carbon-neutral concrete for the world.

“Today’s launch of the ‘Concrete Action for Climate’ platform is a great example of such collective action.  It’s encouraging and exciting to see influential, global organisations from across the world come together to support the cement and concrete industry on its path to carbon neutrality.”

The new initiative forms part of the Mission Possible Partnership (MPP) aimed at decarbonising industrial sectors. Editor’s note: The Mission Possible Partnership bears no relation to edie’s Mission Possible campaign. That campaign is still ongoing and you can find out more about it, here.

The global cement industry is estimated to account for 6-7% of man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually and is widely considered hard-to-abate, given its reliance on sectors such as heat and transport, and the fact that its processes rely on clinker. However, the industry has delivered a 20% reduction in carbon emissions per tonne of cementitious material along with a ninefold increase in alternative fuel use since 1990.

Companies within the sector have ramped up approaches to climate action in recent years. Research produced by the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), for example, discovered that only 19% of large industrial companies had aligned with a 2C-or-below pathway.

However, the assessment of the paper, cement, steel, aluminium and chemical sectors discovered that 29% have set targets in line with the Paris Agreement by 2030 – an increase of 24% on 2018 levels. This figure included a doubling of cement firms making pledges.

Last year, a group of the world’s leading producers of cement issued an industry commitment to deliver carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.

The joint industry ‘2050 Climate Ambition’ sees 40 global cement companies commit to delivering carbon-neutral cement by 2050, aligning with the aspirations of the Paris climate accord. Companies included in the ambition are Cemex, Dalmia Cement and Heidelberg.

Launched by the GCCA on behalf of its member companies, the commitment will focus on eliminating energy-related emissions and deploying carbon capture technologies (CCS).

Matt Mace

Comments (2)

  1. Kim Warren says:

    Great to hear – but we don’t have 30 years to fix this. We need to get to True-Zero as fast as possible, and if the cement industry can’t get there faster we have no choice but to use *much* less of it. (Same for brick/steel/aluminium …)

  2. David Dundas says:

    Although the GCCA "plots a path to net-zero through new global platform" there are no details of this path, and there are probably none to give at this time. Just like the UK’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 which has no path to that goal, I guess this will be the same. The question for both commitments is "how will they be achieved". We need to see detailed implementation plans and how they will be financed.

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