Building with concrete

Cement industry takes next step on path to net zero

Image credit: Chaiyaporn Baokaew/Dreamstime

The Global Cement and Concrete Association has revealed the four countries that will pioneer its efforts to decarbonise completely by 2050.

Egypt, which will host the COP27 2022 UN Climate Change Conference later this year, is among the initial group of countries leading an international initiative to decarbonise the global cement and concrete industries.

It joins India, Thailand and Colombia in the first wave of a series of Net Zero Accelerator projects announced by the Global Cement and Concrete Association today as part of plans to achieves targets established by its 2050 Net Zero Global Industry Roadmap. The four countries together represent approximately 10 per cent of the world’s cement and concrete production.

Globally, cement and concrete manufacture accounts for around 7 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. The GCCA roadmap, which was claimed to mark the biggest international commitment by a heavy industry to decarbonise when it was launched last year, sets out a path aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Actions aimed at reducing concrete-related emissions by 25 per cent between now and 2030 will prevent almost 5 billion tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere compared to a business-as-usual scenario, the GCCA predicts. The ultimate objective is to achieve full decarbonisation by 2050.

The Accelerator programme will identify barriers to decarbonisation in target countries and recommend key actions. This includes encouraging government policies that can have an immediate impact, such as better recycling, the use of waste as an alternative to fossil fuels, and other circular economy practices. It will also include identifying projects that can fully eliminate emissions, such as carbon capture utilisation and storage technologies.

The GCCA was established in 2018 to develop and strengthening the sector’s contribution to sustainable construction. Based in London, it maintains that concrete is fundamental to overcoming sustainable development challenges faced by many parts of the world, including population growth, increasing urbanisation and the need for more resilient infrastructure and communities in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Announcing details of the accelerator programme, GCCA chief executive Thomas Guillot said it is the next logical step as the focus moves from the global roadmap to driving local action.

“Concrete will continue to be the world’s most used building material for decades to come, meaning global cooperation between governments and industry is crucial to ensuring net zero targets are met, he said. “Our Net Zero Accelerators will offer collaboration and support to a number of target countries to help them decarbonise and align with the global roadmap.”

Read more about the technology of concrete in a series of articles in the April 2022 issue of E&T.

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