New commitment by concrete sector increases industry-led ambition.

1 September 2020

Written by Zoha Shawoo

Building materials Cement

Photo: Michael Milner / Getty

An analysis of 30 industry transition roadmaps in ten countries shows that the cement and concrete industry leads only half of these roadmaps. The other half is led by government bodies or think tanks. Such roadmaps give less autonomy to industry actors. They may also impose regulations that do not fully account for the industry context, which then makes the roadmap more difficult to implement. 

Now, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has announced the firm commitment of its members to aspire towards climate neutral cement by 2050 and develop a 2050 concrete roadmap. In light of the analysis carried out by the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT), this announcement is an essential step toward increasing ambition that is industry-led, and demonstrates the commitment of heavy industry toward reducing emissions within their value chain.

The LeadIT analysis looked 30 roadmaps altogether spanning across seven countries, 16 of which were related to the construction industry more broadly. 13 roadmaps directly addressed emissions from the cement and concrete sectors. The roadmaps emphasize several technology needs to promote the decarbonization of cement and concrete, including: development of technologies for CO2-separation and sequestration, geological storage of CO2 (CCS) and industrial re-use of CO2 (CCU); clinker substitution and alternatives in binding materials for cement; energy efficiency and renewable energy sources such as biomass; and digital solutions for plant production control, process control, process optimization. 

For its part, the GCCA ambition statement identifies “essential levers required to achieving carbon neutral concrete” that are in line with the technology needs emphasized in the relevant industry transition roadmaps. This unanimity highlights the potential for GCCA members to both complement state-led initiatives toward carbon neutrality and pave the way for low-carbon technology development.