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GCCA announces roadmap to Net Zero by 2050

GCCA roadmap

Roadmap includes milestone commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by a quarter by 2030 

FORTY of the world’s leading cement and concrete manufacturers today join forces to accelerate the shift to greener concrete by pledging to cut CO2 emissions by a further 25% by 2030, marking a decisive step in the race to ‘Net Zero’ concrete by 2050.

The move by the members of the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) marks the biggest global commitment by an industry to net zero so far – bringing together companies from the Americas, Africa, Asia, including India and China, and Europe.

It follows the September announcement during New York Climate Week that the GCCA has become the first global ‘heavy’ industry accelerator for the UN’s global Race to Zero. GCCA members account for 80% of the global cement industry volume outside China and include several large Chinese manufacturers.

The GCCA has published a detailed roadmap which sets out the path that the industry will follow to fully decarbonize by 2050, a target aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The roadmap actions between now and 2030 will prevent almost 5 billion tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere compared with a business-as-usual scenario, equivalent to the CO2 emissions of almost 15 billion flights from Paris to New York.

The new 2030 commitment by the GCCA outlines a significant acceleration in the pace of industry decarbonization, and the roadmap to get there is built around a seven-point plan that relies on ambitious yet achievable actions to reduce the amount of CO2-intensive clinker in cement, significantly reduce fossil fuel use in manufacturing, and accelerate innovation in products, process efficiency, and breakthrough technologies, including carbon capture.

Whilst the GCCA has outlined an ambitious programme for its members, it also calls on governments, designers, and contractors to fully play their part by assembling the right public policies and investments to support the global-scale transition of the industry. These include greater development of critical technologies such as carbon capture and storage, and reforms to public works procurement policy to encourage the use of low-carbon cement and concrete products.

GCCA chief executive Thomas Guillot said: ‘Global co-operation on decarbonizing concrete is a necessity, as countries developing their infrastructure and housing will be the biggest users of concrete in the coming decades.

‘I am proud of the commitment made by our members today to take decisive action and accelerate industry decarbonization between now and 2030, an important milestone towards the ultimate goal of net-zero concrete. I envision a world in the not-too-distant future where the foundation of a sustainable, zero-carbon global economy will literally be built with green concrete.

‘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, commented: ‘I invite all cement companies to join this vital endeavour. 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.’

Cao Jianglin, chief executive officer of China National Building Material Company Ltd (CNBM), said: ‘This is a landmark for industry co-operation in decarbonization. As part of a global industry, it will need collaboration across our sector to achieve it. As one of the leading cement and concrete producers in China, we will play our part in decarbonizing the industry.’

Albert Manifold, GCCA president and group chief executive of CRH plc, said: ‘This roadmap represents a clear commitment to positive change across our industry and will allow us to sustainably transition to net zero while continuing to supply society with the concrete it needs to grow and prosper.’

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