Global cement and concrete industry pledges net-zero by 2050

by Helena Morgan
0 comment

The recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai played host to the launch of the ‘Cement Industry Net Zero Progress Report’ 2023, which confirmed global industry commitment to decarbonising and slashing emissions.

CEO of Cemex and President of the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), Fernando González, identified the 2020s as the decade to prioritise a complete decarbonisation of the cement industry. 

“This report captures the progress our industry is making towards net zero. It will take the combined efforts of industry, governments and societies around the world to deliver on this commitment,” said Fernandez. 

The CEO stated his main goal is to empower and support GCCA’s roadmap and achieve the main stipulations in the report to develop carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), source new modes of alternative energy and embrace the use of innovative materials and technologies. 

Current pathway proving effective 

In 2021, determined to reduce carbon emissions of the second most globally used substance after water, leading concrete producers worldwide set a precedent for other ‘heavy’ industries by signing up to the GCCA’s 2050 Net Zero Roadmap. Additionally, such titans in concrete production pledged to decrease global warming to 1.5 Celsius to match United Nations’ targets. 

The encouraging progress two years on is displayed in the report released at COP28 – independently verified published data confirms a 23 percent decrease in carbon dioxide emission intensity of cement related material when compared to 1990 levels. 

A new Green Cement Technology Tracker launched by GCCA alongside managed IT services company LeadIT earlier this year, invites the industry to record and promote various decarbonisation efforts such as CCUS and any major technological innovations in carbon reduction. 

Report details 

According to the GCCA roadmap, CCUS is predicted as being responsible for 36 percent of the cement industry’s global CO2 reductions. The report cites Heidelberg Materials in Germany, Switzerland’s Holcim and Taiheiyo Cement in Japan as projects that will feature CCUS plants. 

Additionally, there is greater willingness by leading concrete producers to find alternative energy sources, with an uptake of solar power usage in the US, India and Taiwan and the use of hydrogen at a Honduran cement plant. 

Companies are also experimenting with different substitute materials to make low-carbon cement, such as German cement manufacturer VDZ supplying low-carbon cement to the construction of a high-rise tower in Germany. 

One of New Zealand’s leading quarrying groups, Winstone Aggregates oversaw a project that funnelled one kilometre of quarry back into the natural environment, subsequently cutting local emissions by 19 percent. 

Concrete vital to future housing and infrastructure

While commendable progress has been made, GCCA’s chief executive Thomas Guillot was quick to underscore there is still a long way to go. 

“We are committed to cutting CO2 emissions by a further 25 percent by 2030 and achieving full decarbonisation by 2050,” said Guillot. 

He added that concrete’s ability to withstand damage from heat, wind and flooding renders it a valuable material in climate-responsive and sustainable design. 

“Concrete will be key to delivering the adequate housing and infrastructure the world needs in the future to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals –  we are calling on all policymakers, governments and anyone with a stake in the built environment to work with us on our net zero mission,” said Guillot. 

You can read a copy of the GCCA’s Cement Industry Net Zero Progress Report here.

Engineering company Hatch highlights the potential of green concrete to drive Australian decarbonisation and strengthen infrastructure. 

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More