Concrete

Concrete: Concrete Action for Climate

The Concrete Action for Climate (CAC) coalition will help enable a path to net-zero industry emissions by 2050.

The coalition, which currently has over 50 companies representing approximately 47% of the cement & concrete industry, will help coordinate global climate action and innovation, stimulate demand, and ensure appropriate financing and public policy are in place to achieve the 2050 goal. It will focus on areas that require cross-industry and multi-stakeholder collaboration, such as standard setting, demand creation, and embracing the circular economy.

To achieve this ambition, the coalition aims to ensure:

  1. The supply and manufacture of cement and concrete are in line with global climate goals, including the development and implementation of new low-carbon process technologies
  2. The potential benefits of cement and concrete are maximised while negative climate and environmental impacts are minimised through a circularity approach of land stewardship, effective design, material efficiency, reuse, and recycling

The Challenge

After water, concrete is the most used material on our planet due to its wide availability and performance as a building material. In future generations, concrete will be even more essential in shaping our world and addressing the need for sustainable communities and prosperity. This includes key infrastructure, homes, and clean water, as well as supporting the transition to low-carbon energy.

However, cement—the key binding ingredient in concrete—accounts for around 7% of global CO2 emissions. With global population on the rise and increased urbanisation, without intervention cement production to meet global demand is set to increase between 12% and 23% by 2050. Direct carbon emissions from cement could increase 4% globally by 2050 under the International Energy Agency’s reference scenario.

While one-third of cement’s CO2 emissions come from the energy consumed during production, the other two-thirds come from the release of CO2 through the chemical reaction when limestone is heated.

The Opportunity

The cement & concrete industry has worked to reduce its emissions over the last decades, and recently leading manufacturers in the industry have committed to a climate ambition of producing carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.

The potential for CO2 reduction across the industry and its value chain is high, including:

  • Reducing and eliminating indirect energy emissions through renewable electricity sources where available
  • Reducing process emissions through new technologies and deployment of carbon capture at scale
  • Reducing the content of both clinker in cement and cement in concrete, as well as more efficient use of concrete in buildings and infrastructure
  • Reprocessing concrete from construction and demolition waste to produce recycled aggregates to be used in concrete manufacturing
  • Quantifying and enhancing the level of CO2 uptake of concrete through recarbonation and enhanced recarbonation in a circular economy, whole-life context

Our Approach

The intent for the Mission Possible Partnership (MPP) and CAC coalition is to build on the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) sustainability charter and emissions reduction commitments in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Concrete Action for Climate Coalition values the MPP for its cross-industry pollination and its ability to reinforce collaborative action from essential industries, their suppliers, customers, shareholders and financiers, as well as support in developing joint outreach for policy framework, demand signals, a road map and net-zero coalitions.

Our Goals

To achieve the high-level objectives a number of critical themes have been identified to assist the industry in its decarbonisation mission.

  • 2050 roadmap: support the development, industry agreement, and implementation of a carbon-neutral concrete roadmap including the key milestones and pathway—to be completed in 2021
  • Circular economy: facilitate increased use of waste and by-products as alternative fuels and raw materials; enable governments and industry to work together to implement circular economy strategies and promote waste avoidance, collection and sorting, pre-treatment, recovery, recycling, and co-processing
    • Facilitate increased re-use of concrete and use of demolished concrete
    • Recognition of carbonation in national inventories
  • Carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS)
    • Deliver enabling policy framework that makes decarbonisation an investable proposition (e.g., regulations, standards & support measures)
    • Concurrent development of enabling infrastructure (e.g., CO2 transport & storage, hydrogen networks, renewable electricity & energy)
  • Demand:
    • Green procurement: drive the demand for sustainable building materials by facilitating green procurement including work towards a meaningful definition of “green” cement/concrete and in the context of whole-life assessment of buildings or structures
    • Demand side: quantify the carbon reduction actions/levers in concrete construction on the demand side and promote these in policy and practice to maximise material efficiencies and performance benefits
  • Resilience: establish metrics for the resilience of buildings and infrastructure in recognition that resilience is fundamental to the social and economic sustainability of society, to achieving the UN SDGs, and to protecting the world from a changing climate.
  • For more information, please contact: cement@missionpossiblepartnership.org