Cement manufacturers accelerate shift to net zero concrete

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net zero concrete
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40 of the world’s leading cement and concrete manufacturers have joined forces to accelerate the shift to net zero concrete, pledging to cut CO2 emissions by a further 25% by 2030

The proposal by the members of the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) marks a decisive step in the race to net zero concrete by 2050.

Following the September announcement from New York Climate Week, the GCCA has become the first global ‘heavy’ industry accelerator for the UN’s global Race to net zero emissions.

The GCCA has published a detailed roadmap which sets out a path to fully decarbonise the concrete industry by 2050, a target aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The actions detailed by the roadmap between now and 2030 will prevent nearly 5 billion tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere.

Concrete is the most used human-made material on the planet with 14 billion cubic meters produced every year for use in everything from roads to bridges, tunnels to homes, and hydropower installations to flood defenses.

The production of cement, a key ingredient in the production of concrete, accounts for around 7% of global CO2 emissions.

The roadmap is built around a seven-point plan that relies on ambitious yet achievable actions to reduce the amount of CO2 intensive clinker in cement, significantly reduce fossil fuel use in manufacturing, and accelerate innovation in products, process efficiency and breakthrough technologies.

The GCCA has called on Governments, designers and contractors to play their part by assembling the right public policies and investments to support net zero concrete industry.

These public policy reforms alongside the promotion of low carbon products are significant as public infrastructure accounts for almost 60% of all global cement and concrete demand.

‘Global cooperation on decarbonising concrete is a necessity’

Thomas Guillot, GCCA chief executive, said: “Concrete is the world’s most used building material and provides the foundation for renewable energy transition, resilient infrastructure and new homes around the world.

“Global cooperation on decarbonising concrete is a necessity, as countries developing their infrastructure and housing will be the biggest users of concrete in the coming decades.

“I am proud of the commitment made by our members today to take decisive action and accelerate industry decarbonisation between now and 2030, an important milestone towards the ultimate goal of net zero concrete.

“We now need governments around the world to work with us and use their huge procurement power to advocate for low carbon concrete in their infrastructure and housing needs.

“We require their support to change regulation that limits the use of recycled materials and impedes the transition to a low carbon and circular economy.”

Some of the association members include companies such as CEMEX, CNBM, CRH, HeidelbergCement, Holcim and Votorantim as members.

“I invite all cement companies to join this vital endeavour. The transition cost should not be borne only by the first movers.

“I call on all governments and relevant actors to align public and private finance and procurement to create strong markets for net zero-aligned industrial production and develop national sectoral roadmaps towards net zero emissions.

“Three quarters of the infrastructure that will exist in 2050 has yet to be built. Without credible action now, future generations will have no liveable planet to build upon. The United Nations stands ready to support you in accelerating the transformation of your industry,” commented António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations.

Cao Jianglin, CEO of China National Building Material Company Ltd (CNBM), added: “This is a landmark for industry co-operation in decarbonization.

“As part of a global industry, it will need collaboration across our sector to achieve it.

“As one of the leading cement and concrete producers in China, we will play our part in decarbonising the industry.”

The GCCA Global Net Zero Roadmap can be found here. The global launch coincides with the publication of a roadmap for the USA by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) for Carbon Neutrality.

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