12 January 2024

The World Cement Association (WCA) has endorsed global government efforts to advance low-carbon cement and concrete production, announced at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

The commitments made by Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, member countries of the Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI), include adopting timebound commitments to procure low-emission cement and concrete as well as steel. This pledge aligns with the WCA’s initiative to support a sustainable cement industry, encouraging technical development and innovation by its members to help achieve full decarbonisation by 2050.

The collective commitment of IDDI members to leverage their considerable national purchasing power to drive demand for low and near-zero emission materials is a welcomed pledge to accelerate the decarbonisation efforts of heavy industries globally.

Despite these commitments to addressing and mitigating the environmental challenges associated with industrial activities, a substantial gap exists in sustainable infrastructure financing for developing countries, requiring an estimated $15 trillion by 2040. It is not currently clear how this gap will be bridged, with measures announced so far unlikely to have a significant impact.

The cement industry has reduced per ton emissions by 23% since 1990, with the majority of this reduction coming between 2000 and 2012. To meet 2050 net zero goals, we need to see an acceleration of progress. With nearly 90% of cement produced in emerging economies, it is essential that this is worldwide effort.

“The World Cement Association has always emphasised the need for immediate and collaborative action between government and industry to make carbon-negative concrete a reality at scale. Creating demand for low-emission materials is essential for decarbonisation. Now is the moment to work together to make necessary progress this decade,” stresses Ian Riley, WCA’s CEO.

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