Net zero concrete programme launched by Climate Group and global built environment industry

By Climate Group | July 7, 2022

International non-profit Climate Group, in partnership with World GBC and WBCSD, has launched ConcreteZero, with a goal of 100% net zero concrete by 2050. Some 17 businesses have made the public commitment which includes short-term commitments to use 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

Concrete production contributes to 8% of global annual carbon emissions. With the size of Paris being built globally every single week for the next 40 years, the demand for concrete is significant. The concrete industry becoming net zero is vital to halving carbon emissions by 2030 and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C.

The founding ConcreteZero members are signalling to the industry the scale of demand for sustainably produced and sourced concrete. But to accelerate progress, businesses need a globally agreed definition on what is considered net zero and low emission concrete. ConcreteZero members are breaking down this barrier by making a commitment to measure and report on the carbon emissions associated with the concrete they use. This data will enable the industry to set a global standard of what low emission and net zero concrete is, bringing a clear signal to suppliers and policymakers.

Jen Carson, Head of Industry of Climate Group, said: “It’s time for concrete targets to reduce carbon emissions in years not decades. ConcreteZero is signalling to the industry that the biggest buyers want the industry to innovate and act now on emissions. Concrete and steel emit as much as all road transport globally, and demand is going up. We won’t address the climate crisis without big bold measures on industry.”

Concrete, a mix of cement, gravel, sand and water, is a final consumer product. The chemical process used to make traditional limestone cement is very energy intensive, emitting significant levels of CO2. Inclusion of cement in the concrete mix drastically increases the level of carbon emissions associated with the end product. By focusing on concrete, Climate Group is maximising all the opportunities in the production of concrete, to cut carbon emissions.

ConcreteZero builds on Climate Group’s highly successful demand-side climate initiatives which already have the scale of a G7 country on renewable electricity and 5 million electric vehicles.

ConcreteZero founding members include:

  • Buro Happold– integrated consultancy of engineers, consultants and advisers
  • Byrne Bros– UK’s premier concrete frame contractors
  • Canary Wharf Group– commercial and residential property developer, owner and manager
  • The Carey Group – construction business that operates across the UK and Ireland
  • Clancy Group– one of the largest privately owned construction firms in the UK
  • Grimshaw Architects– architects and designers
  • Grosvenor– international property developer, manager and investor
  • Joseph Homes– multi-award-winning property developer
  • Laing O’Rourke– international engineering and construction company
  • Mace– global consultancy and construction firm
  • Morrisroe– UK’s leading concrete specialists
  • Multiplex Construction Europe– premier construction company
  • Ramboll– global engineering, architecture and consultancy company
  • Skanska UK– one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups
  • Thornton Tomasetti– leading global scientific and engineering consulting firm
  • Wilmott Dixon– UK’s leading independent construction and property services
  • WSP– plan, design and manager long lasting engineering solutions

Jonathan Roynon, Technical Director of Buro Happold said: Concrete is likely to remain a key material in the delivery of buildings, and we need to find ways to drive down its embodied carbon to zero. To achieve this, we must support the supply chain. The ConcreteZero initiative is a great way to consolidate and drive the market demand, providing an incentive to reduce concrete’s embodied carbon with far reaching benefits.”

Read more here.

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