Concrete. It is the world’s most widely-used building material. It is estimated that the cement and concrete sectors account for roughly 5 to 7% of global carbon emissions.
The large carbon footprint of cement and concrete stems in part from the high energy required to heat the kilns used to make cement. Roughly half to two-thirds of carbon emissions come from the actual chemical process of cement making.
Anticipated population growth suggests that the production of cement and concrete will grow by up to 38% by 2050, which means that to lower the carbon footprint of the built environment the production and use of cement and concrete must be made more efficient and climate-friendly.
The world’s leading cement and concrete and cement companies are working to drive down the CO2 footprint of their operations and products, to achieve carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.
Coupled with the need for more resilient buildings and infrastructure to protect our cities and the natural environment from the impacts of climate change, achieving this goal will require major technological innovations not only to reduce the release of CO2 in the first place but also through processes that capture and sequester carbon permanently.
Policymakers, governments, investors, researchers, innovators, and financial institutions also have a role to play to put in place the resources, tools and policies needed to deliver the goal of carbon neutral concrete.
Canada’s cement and concrete industry has released Concrete Zero, an Action Plan to ensure Canada’s cement and concrete industry achieves its carbon emissions reduction goals by making cement net-zero by 2050.
The industry has charted a course towards achieving its goal of 40% emissions reduction by 2030 as part of the Roadmap to Net-Zero Carbon Concrete by 2050 – a unique joint government-industry collaboration. It is also well on its way to transitioning to lower-carbon fuel sources, producing carbon-reduced cements and concretes, and using clean technologies. The cement and concrete industry is also the first to join Canada’s Net Zero Challenge – putting it at the leading edge of transparently disclosing and verifying carbon emission reductions.