Concrete and cement leaders set carbon neutrality goal

Forty of the world’s leading cement and concrete producers envision a 30-year route to carbon neutral structures or slabs in “2050 Climate Ambition.” The Global Cement and Concrete Association, London, bills the statement as the first of its kind for driving down the carbon footprint of the world’s most used man-made material.

“The 2050 Climate Ambition represents our industry’s commitment to further reducing emissions and ensuring that the vital product we provide can be delivered on a carbon neutral basis,” says GCCA President and CRH Plc Chief Executive Albert Manifold. “There is a significant challenge involved and achieving alignment across our industry on a sustainable way forward is an important first step. We cannot, however, succeed alone and in launching our ambition statement we are also highlighting the need for our industry to work collaboratively with other stakeholders in support of a more sustainable future.”

Concrete and cement are a key part of construction, a sector accounting for 13 percent of global economic output. GCCA members identify the essential levers that will be required to achieve carbon neutral concrete: reducing and eliminating energy-related emissions; lowering process emissions through new technologies and carbon capture deployment; more efficient use of concrete; reuse and recycling of concrete and buildings; and, harnessing the ability of concrete slabs, structures and surfaces to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere. Climate Ambition builds on GCCA member companies and allied groups’ sustainability progress and longstanding environmental impact reduction strategies. It prefaces a roadmap GCCA is preparing to publish in the second half of 2021, detailing industry actions and milestones, including work across the built environment value chain to deliver carbon neutral concrete in a circular economy.

“As we face the challenges for future generations and begin global economic recovery, concrete will be even more critical to building the sustainable world of tomorrow,” observes GCCA Chief Executive Dinah McLeo. “Concrete has a vital role to play in addressing the need for sustainable communities and prosperity. It is a key ingredient of infrastructure, homes, clean water and community resilience.


GCP Applied Technologies’ recently released 2020 Vision for a Sustainable Future highlights strategies and deliverables in three core sections: Products, where technology and chemistry are used to develop solutions to reduce waste and increase efficiency; People, a nod to GCP team members across the globe working to build better communities; and, Processes, spotlighting efforts to reduce the environmental impact of 50 company plants in 23 countries.

The 40-page document examines products and practices where GCP helps customers lower energy consumption through clinker grinding aids that improve cement finishing, along with cement-optimizing Adva, Concera, Mira and Zyla water reducer admixture series. The company’s mixer truck-mounted Verifi device is credited with a) actively managing a concrete load from batch plant to jobsite; b) generating quality control and business intelligence data; and, c) greatly reducing the potential for rejected loads and attendant waste of resources.

“All of us at GCP are committed to environmental and social stewardship, and we are pleased to share our vision for a sustainable future,” says CEO Randy Dearth. “As a leading manufacturer of construction technology products, we have a responsibility to make the building process more sustainable. This mission is driving us to develop and deliver products that help our customers reduce their carbon footprint, decrease waste, and improve the durability of the structures they create. In addition to the societal and environmental reasons to do so, there is profound financial value to placing sustainability at the center of how we work.”