World’s largest cement manufacturer commits to science-based targets and net-zero pathway

If successful, the Heidelberg Group will explore options to roll the technology out across its other sites.

LafargeHolcim has joined the SBTi’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C, committing to science-based targets aligned to the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement, with a long-term trajectory of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Intermediate targets have been set for 2030 to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 21% per tonne of cementitious materials against a 2018 baseline. This target will see scope 1 emissions reduced by 17.5% and scope 2 emissions by 65% in the same timeframe. LafargeHolcim will reduce its transportation and fuel-related emissions by 20%. All of these targets have been approved by the SBTi.

LafargeHolcim is also targeting new CO2 intensity targets, now aiming to deliver 475kg of net CO2 per tonne of cementitious material.

“I believe in building a world that works for people and the planet. That’s why we are reinventing how the world builds today to make it greener with low-carbon and circular solutions,” the company’s chief executive Jan Jenisch said.

“I am very excited to be working with SBTi, taking a rigorous science-based approach to shape our net-zero roadmap and accelerating our efforts to substantially lower our CO2 footprint. I will not stop pushing the boundaries to lead the way in green construction.”

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 19% reduction in carbon emissions per tonne of cementitious material along with a ninefold increase in alternative fuel use since 1990.

In order to reach the new carbon goals, LafargeHolcim will repurpose 100 million tonnes of wate and by byproducts, to be used for energy and as a replacement for raw materials. The company will double waste-derived fuels in production to reach 37%.

The company has also committed to opening and operating its first net-zero carbon cement production facility in the future. More than 20 Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) projects will be trialled across Europe and North America.

Alberto Carrillo, Director, Science Based Targets at CDP said: “We at SBTi are delighted that LafargeHolcim has joined the group of over 290 industry leaders committed to a 1.5°C future. As the largest player in one of the most carbon-intensive industries, LafargeHolcim’s leadership demonstrates that a net-zero economy is within reach.”

Earlier this month, a group of the world’s leading producers of cement issued a new industry commitment to deliver carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.

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

Matt Mace

Comments (1)

  1. John Daglish says:

    The cement industry has actively ignored alternative alternative "cement" production methods for the last 25 years when the risks of global warming became apparent.

    – EMC cement (Energetically Modified Cement) was developed over 25 years ago – OPC (Ordinary Portland Cement) finely inter-ground with sand or puzzoulanes with at minimum 50% OPC reduction (and hence carbon emissions reductions). Awards won, bridge built in Sweden 20 years ago, roads & infrastructure in Texas, USA.

    Geopolymer cements mainly using ferro-siliates rocks/clays that are alternative binders particularly with mechano-chemical processing (grinding techniques) are now being produced ie. no calcination, therefore low CO2 emissions. A lot of geopolymer formulations can also avoid the use of slag from industrial metallurgy or fly ash from coal based electricity (high CO2 emissions) which is the main route for low (sic) CO2 Portland Cement.

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