Cement and concrete industry launches Net Zero Accelerators

Thomas Guillot, Chief Executive of GCCA

The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has launched a series of Net Zero Accelerator initiatives to help national cement and concrete industries decarbonise in line with the GCCA’s 2050 Net Zero Global Industry Roadmap. The first wave will launch in Egypt, which later this year will host COP27, as well as in India, Thailand and Colombia.

These countries represent approximately 10% of global cement and concrete production. Concrete is fundamental to overcoming sustainable development challenges which many parts of the world are facing, like population growth, increasing urbanisation and the need for more resilient infrastructure and communities in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

What is GCCA’s strategy to cut CO2 emissions?

Globally, cement and concrete manufacture accounts for around 7% of CO2 emissions. The global plan to eliminate these emissions by 2050 requires all parts of the world to accelerate the reductions in CO2 emissions. The GCCA Accelerator program will identify the barriers to decarbonisation in target countries’ cement and concrete industries and recommend 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 lighthouse projects that can fully eliminate emissions over the next decades, such as carbon capture utilisation and storage technologies.

Thomas Guillot, GCCA Chief Executive, said: “Last year our industry made progress on net zero global commitment. This is the next step as we move our focus from a global roadmap.”

“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. 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.”

“I’m proud to launch the first phase of the Accelerator program to assist these nations in embracing greener technologies and work towards a more sustainable future together. I now call on more partners around the world to join us and be part of this movement.”

What role can GCCA play in cutting CO2 emissions?

H.E Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, COP 27 UNFCCC High-Level Champion of Egypt, said: “Much of the infrastructure the world needs to overcome major challenges – like alleviating poverty, the need for clean water and energy, and safe, affordable housing – is yet to be built.”

“Cement and concrete will play a critical role in delivering a healthier, more resilient, zero carbon world as the industry moves to rapidly and fully decarbonise.”

“As such, we are pleased to support the Net Zero Accelerator initiative, helping developing countries achieve their decarbonisation targets, as we work to support all industries and countries with their climate ambitions to help build a more sustainable future for all.”

“The full and willing participation of a sector which accounts for 7-8% of global CO2 emissions is critical to contribute to the goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to limit global warming well below 2°C degrees and as close as possible to 1.5°C.”

What does GCCA’s accelerator program entail?

The accelerator program comprises three elements;

  • Net zero roadmaps; emissions forecasts, reduction levers, policy needs and commitment
  • Identification and funding exploration for large scale carbon cutting ‘Lighthouse’ Projects
  • Policy dialogues with national governments to help accelerate the transition.

The GCCA is partnering with the industry on the ground and will work with policymakers, designers, and the construction sector to overcome procurement and resourcing challenges, and demonstrate the business case for greener technologies to be used on a wider scale.

The Accelerators will help align Phase 1 cement and concrete industries with the GCCA’s 2050 Net Zero Roadmap, which marked the biggest global commitment by a heavy industry to decarbonise when it was launched last year. The Roadmap sets out a path to decarbonise by 2050, a target aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The roadmap actions between now and 2030, to reduce concrete related emissions by 25%, will prevent 5 billion tonnes of carbon emissions compared to usual scenario. Lighthouse Projects and a new tranche of phase two Accelerators will be announced later this year.