A recent article in the Financial Times highlighted the relationship of cement to overall global carbon emissions. New Holcim boss faces long road to decarbonisation (ft.com) Cement, a key component in the construction material concrete, comprises 8 percent of global greenhouse emissions, around 1.3 billion tonnes per year according to Stanford University, placing it as the fourth-highest emitting industry behind coal, oil and gas and is particularly prominent in India, China and the United States, according to the data aggregator website Our World in Data. Holcim’s website lists an array of sustainability measures that the business is taking in order to cut emissions, including having:

  • An overall Sustainability Strategy
  • Climate targets validated by a climate initiative
  • Externally audited public sustainability reporting
  • CDP Reporting
  • A Circular Economy Policy
  • Nature and Water Use Policies

The Financial Times article notes that the specific measures to decrease the carbon footprint of cement involve technology innovations, both in process improvements, such as carbon capture during the heating of limestone when making cement, and use of substitute low-carbon materials, such as ‘calcined clay’. As the EU’s emissions trading scheme and carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) will add further incentives for cement to decarbonise, both within the EU and globally for companies importing into the EU. Moreover, the CBAM will also create a greater need for companies to understand their products’ carbon footprint, whether the company is headquartered in the EU or importing into the EU.
At Carbon Action, we have been actively working with businesses to build their sustainability strategy, develop and confirm reduction targets, compare carbon emissions from various types of legacy and new technologies, and perform lifecycle analysis of products’ carbon footprints.

We are already seeing companies acting pre emptively on CBAM – as lowering their product life cycle footprint can reduce or eliminate the imminent CBAM tax. This can turn a cost risk – into a competitive advantage. We are able to help clients perform these tasks either by training their people, managing their projects – or a combination of both.