Paris Climate Conference elicits cement leaders’ 1Gt emissions reduction plan

Sources: World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Cement Sustainability Initiative, Geneva; CP staff

Backed by 16 major producers—nine with significant North American market stakes—the WBCSD Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi) outlined at the UN Paris Climate Conference a Cement Action Plan to clip worldwide industry carbon emissions 20–25 percent by 2030.

Beyond process improvements in portland cement production, whose high carbon emissions are generated through raw materials calcining (60 percent) and clinker phase pyroprocessing (40 percent), streamlined CO2 levels will be realized through development of new cements, and concretes of lower clinker content, thereby reducing mix designs’ volume of material with highest embodied energy. The Cement Plan also references emissions avoidance by impressing the life cycle attributes of cement and concrete products in local markets’ building and infrastructure value chains.

“Since 2001 the cement sector has demonstrated its ability to make progress on mitigating its impact on climate change,” says LafargeHolcim Ltd. CEO Eric Olsen. “The LCTPi provides additional opportunities to accelerate these efforts and widen engagement through actions by all members of the industry, together with other stakeholders, to overcome barriers and achieve performance matching the best in the sector.”

LafargeHolcim is among companies participating in the Paris Climate Conference or COP 21 (Conference of Parties), where delegates from nearly 150 countries have convened to craft formal agreement on CO2 emissions reduction. “There is a lot of potential for emission reductions, but in order to unlock it we need the whole private sector to be involved, and to work with governments and other stakeholders in order to remove regulatory and other barriers,” said Cemex CEO Fernando González.

“It is simply not possible to achieve robust and sustainable growth without taking consistent action to promote sustainable development,” added Votorantim Cimentos CEO Walter Dissinger. “COP 21 represents the beginning of a new phase in which it will be necessary to combine the efforts of the sector and other key stakeholders to ensure that low-carbon technology initiatives are implemented.”

Other multinational producers supporting the LCTPi Cement Plan are Argos, CRH, GCC, HeidelbergCement, Italcementi, and Titan. Joining Cement among LCTPi focus areas are Carbon Capture and Storage; Chemicals; Climate Smart Agriculture; Energy Efficiency in Building; Forests, Low Carbon Freight and Transport Fuels; and, Renewables.

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