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Cement and concrete industry leaders join forces with UN at New York Climate Week to focus on action, progress and next steps

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Cement,

The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Federación Interamericana del Cemento (FICEM) have, at a New York Climate Week event, showcased the cement and concrete sector’s decarbonisation progress that has been made since the launch of the industry Net Zero Roadmap, in October 2021, and marked the next steps in the journey to accelerate progress as quickly as possible.

Featuring a keynote speech from Selwin Hart, the Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations for Climate Action and Just Transition, the event focused on concrete’s critical role in achieving a sustainable and resilient built environment and highlighted key progress made over the past 12 months, including moving from global pledges to local action.

GCCA Net Zero Accelerator programmes have already been launched in Egypt, Colombia, India and Thailand in 2022, as the industry takes action to support the Global South to reach the net zero commitment. Industry experts have also called for greater investment and deployment in technologies and innovations like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCUS) and green procurement, as well as greater collaboration with policymakers to help ensure that policy levers and market conditions enable low carbon concrete to be investable and competitive.

Concrete is the most used material on earth after water and is the vital building material that has shaped the modern world. GCCA, PCA and FICEM are committed to accelerating the progress already made by the industry, with innovation a key factor in achieving future targets. Earlier this year the GCCA announced the first group of start-ups across the world to be backed by world-leading cement companies in the first-ever Innovandi Open Challenge to explore new technologies for decarbonising the cement and concrete industry.

Selwin Hart, Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action, said: “The world is way off track from keeping the 1.5°C global warming limit alive and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. We urgently need all hands on deck. GCCA represents 80% of the cement industry – responsible for 7% of global CO2 emissions. You have the power to shape history. Your global association was the first heavy industry association to set a net-zero commitment. But that means the easy part is done. We need you to be champions of net-zero credibility by bringing your entire industry and supply chain on board, including specific plans on how you will all reach net-zero, and what immediate steps you’ll take to cut emissions significantly each year.”

Thomas Guillot, GCCA’s Chief Executive, said: “As we look back on the past 12 months since we launched our Net Zero Roadmap, there’s a lot to be proud of, but we recognise that the hard work is only just beginning. Our priority is to continue the shift to local action, as we take material steps towards net zero concrete. It’s vital that we work closely with our regional partners, including PCA and FICEM, to support their local industries to overcome any area-specific challenges, and continue the positive progress.”

Mike Ireland, President and CEO of PCA, said: “As an industry it’s important that all of us across the cement and concrete value chain remain collaborative and focused on achieving our goal of carbon neutrality. Climate emergencies are becoming an everyday fact, so we must continue to research and develop essential innovations that will eventually lead to minimising our carbon footprint.”

At the event, the industry outlined the global commitment to a local action programme, highlighting progress in the USA and around the world, as well as examining the key challenges in achieving a greener concrete future. These factors include investment and financing, innovation, policy levers and government commitment.

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