Forty global cement and concrete manufacturers have pledged a new 25 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.
The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) is aiming to accelerate the long-term shift to greener concrete, as part of the industry’s wider plans to achieve net zero in concrete manufacturing by 2050
Concrete is the world’s most used human-made material. Approximately 14 billion cubic metres cubed are produced every year for use in key constructions such as roads, bridges, tunnels, home-building, hydropower installations and flood defences.
However, production of cement – the key ingredient in concrete – accounts for around seven per cent of global CO2 emissions.
The association has published a detailed roadmap with actions between now and 2030 that it believes will prevent almost 5 billion tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere compared to a business-as-usual scenario. This is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of almost 15 billion flights from Paris to New York.
It will look to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 intensive clinker in cement, fossil fuel use in manufacturing, and boost innovation in products, process efficiency and breakthrough technologies including carbon capture.
GCCA members account for 80 percent of the global cement industry volume outside of China. The association also includes several large Chinese manufacturers.
Thomas Guillot, GCCA chief executive, praised the global co-operation in the new plans. He also called on governments worldwide to play their part through public procurement reforms, carbon pricing policy and support for the development of carbon capture technologies.
He said: “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.”
António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, praised the scheme and echoed Guillot’s calls for action from policy makers.
He said: “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.”
The latest moves from the association are particularly timely, with the UN’s climate change conference, COP26, set to begin later this month.
The global concrete and cement products markets is expected to almost double from $333 billion in 2020 to $645 billion in 2030 as governments around the world look to invest and repair in repair infrastructure.