Industry focuses on decarbonisation at UN climate conference

Four leading experts have explored the pathway to carbon neutrality in the cement and concrete industry at a side event to the UN’s COP25 climate conference held this month in Madrid.

The panel discussion was entitled “Cement and concrete: the path to carbon neutrality by 2050”.

Víctor García Brosa, president of the Spanish cement manufacturers association OFICEMEN, said that innovation in the manufacture of novel low-carbon cements and the widespread use of waste derived fuels are two keys to achieve an immediate reduction in the CO2 emissions of the Spanish cement industry.

“The replacement rate of fossil fuels by waste derived fuels in Spain is only 27% very far from countries such as Austria, Germany or Norway with percentages above 60%,” said Brosa.

Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), added that his association (and its members and affiliates) are committed to driving action on sustainability in their industry that supports the global effort to mitigate the extent and impact of climate change.

“We were pleased to take part in this vital discussion and look forward to exploring further with our partners how we, as an industry, can work towards carbon neutrality,” he said.

Koen Coppenholle, chief executive of European cement association CEMBUREAU, said: “CEMBUREAU and its members invite governments to engage with our sector on a full value chain approach to decarbonisation – as outlined in our 5C campaign – on the crucial role of the cement industry in the circular economy, and on innovation projects that are instrumental to lowering our emissions.”

Maria José Garcia, executive director of the Inter-American Cement Federation FICEM, said that in Latin America and the Caribbean, the industry and FICEM are developing roadmaps for a low-carbon economy, adhering to the global guidelines of the cement industry to reduce clinker factor and increase co-processing.

“However our industry, due to the high climate vulnerability of the region, focuses its efforts on adaptation, promoting resilient and sustainable construction,” Garcia added.

The event built on existing roadmaps to carbon neutrality by several regional cement associations, including CEMBUREAU, whose 5C approach formed the basis for the panel discussion.

The 5C framework is structured around the key elements of the cement and concrete value chain: clinker, cement, concrete, construction and the built environment, and (re)carbonation.

Discussion moderator, Galo Gutierrez, general director of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, concluded: “Cement and concrete are integral to building a modern, sustainable and resilient society. It was great to be involved in the discussion today and hear about the industry’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and supporting global efforts to address the challenge of climate change.”

This article first appeared on our sister title Aggregates Business.

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