Cement and Concrete industry launches Net Zero Accelerators at MENA Climate Week

At MENA Climate Week, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has launched a series of Net Zero Accelerator initiatives to help national cement and concrete industries decarbonize in line with the GCCA’s 2050 Net Zero Global Industry Roadmap.  By Climate Champions | March 30, 2022
  • Major cement and concrete producers from across the globe are launching the first wave of Net Zero Accelerators in India, Thailand, Egypt, and Colombia to help national industries reach decarbonization targets by 2050.
  • The Accelerators will identify and drive a range of decarbonization levers reflecting local factors and highlighting the best approach to meeting net zero targets.
  • The initiatives signal the start of the national and regional phase of the GCCA’s 2050 Net Zero Global Roadmap, which emphasizes the importance of local action and policymaking to help the cement and concrete industry achieve its decarbonization commitments.
  • First phases of Accelerator program include focus across the global south to help decarbonization progress where building and infrastructure needs have been called the most pressing.
  • Accelerator initiative launched at UNFCCC’s MENA Climate Week event in Dubai.

The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has launched a series of Net Zero Accelerator initiatives to help national cement and concrete industries decarbonize in line with the GCCA’s 2050 Net Zero Global Industry Roadmap.

The first wave of Accelerators will launch in Egypt, which later this year will be the host country for COP27, as well as in India, Thailand and Colombia. These countries combined represent approximately 10% of global cement and concrete production. Concrete, a local and durable material, is fundamental to overcoming sustainable development challenges which many parts of the world are facing, such as  population growth, increasing urbanization and the need for more resilient infrastructure and communities in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

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 Accelerator program will identify the barriers to decarbonization in target countries and recommend key actions. This includes encouraging government policies that can have an immediate impact, including better recycling, encouraging 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 utilization and storage technologies.

Thomas Guillot, GCCA Chief Executive, said: “Last year our industry made a breakthrough net zero global commitment. This is the next logical step as we move our focus from a global roadmap to driving decisive local action.

“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 Accelerator will offer collaboration and support to a number of target countries to help them decarbonize 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.”

Mahmoud Mohieldin, United Nations High-Level Champion of Egypt, said: “The climate crisis is real, urgent and accelerating. Its effects are already being felt in many parts of the world. Acting now is a duty both businesses and governments have for future generations.

“Much of the infrastructure the world needs in order to overcome our major global challenges, such as alleviating poverty, the need for clean water, clean energy and safe, affordable housing, is yet to be built. Cement and concrete will play a key role in delivering this, so it is vital that the industry does everything it can to fully decarbonize. We are pleased to support the Net Zero Accelerator initiative, helping developing countries achieve their decarbonization targets. It’s crucial we facilitate all industries and countries with their climate ambitions to help build a more sustainable future for all.”

The accelerator programme comprises three elements – i. net zero national roadmaps including emissions forecasts, reduction levers, policy needs and the industry commitment; ii. identification and funding exploration for large scale carbon cutting ‘Lighthouse’ Projects; and iii. policy dialogues with national governments to help accelerate the transition. 

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

The Accelerators will help align Phase 1 countries’ cement and concrete industries with the GCCA’s 2050 Net Zero Roadmap, which marked the biggest global commitment by a heavy industry to decarbonize when it was launched last year. The Roadmap sets out a path 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, to reduce concrete related emissions by 25%, will prevent almost 5 billion tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere compared to a business-as-usual scenario.

Lighthouse Projects and a new tranche of phase two Accelerators will be announced later this year.