ICC urges cement industry to seize opportunity to reduce emissions

  • 10 July 2018

The cement industry represents approximately 6% of global emissions.

At an event organised by the World Cement Association (WCA) in Paris on 27-28 June, ICC encouraged both industry and government-led initiatives to reduce emissions in the global cement sector.

As the second most used substance on Earth, after water, with an energy-intensive manufacturing process, cement accounts for 6% of global greenhouse emissions. Therefore, reducing emissions in this crucial sector can contribute a great deal to reducing our overall carbon footprint.

“I am delighted by the commitment of the members of the WCA to work towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Majda Dabaghi, Senior Policy Executive of the ICC Commission on Environment and Energy and Secretary General of the Business and Climate Summit Association, noting that WCA members are already taking action to help fight climate change.

It was a pleasure to address @WorldCemAssoc Global Climate Change Forum today on behalf of @iccwbo with an extraordinary panel from @IEA @IFC_org @WorldGBC and @CDP – coincidently 4/5 panelists Canadian women! #women4climate

— Majda Dabaghi (@MajdaDabaghi) June 28, 2018

For instance, Germany’s HeidelbergCement is implementing an externally-verified plan for CO2 reduction, focusing on the use of CO2-neutral fuels and recycling secondary raw materials from other industries. Between 1990 and 2016, the company has reportedly reduced net CO2 emissions by 22%.

By introducing eco-friendly raw materials and replacing natural resources with recycled materials, India’s Dalmia Bharat delivers one of the least carbon-intensive cement operations in the world, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The company reportedly achieved a 16% carbon footprint reduction in 2015-2016.

Stakes have never been higher

With a rising global population and increasing urbanisation, demand for cement is set to rise significantly in the coming years, with some studies estimating a 25% increase in production over the next 30 years.

“If we continue with ‘business as usual’, this means a rise and not a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions […] nearly three years after the Paris Agreement was adopted, we find ourselves in a situation where the stakes have never been higher,” said Ms Dabaghi.

While industry should heed the WCA’s call to increase the pace and ambition of their ‘bottom-up’ climate action, Ms Dabaghi also noted that a ‘top-down’ approach from governments is also critical.

“For business, we need to be able to rely on strong policy frameworks both at the national and international levels. We are looking to governments to fulfil their mandate to operationalise the Paris Agreement at COP24,” said Ms Dabaghi.

“This will send a strong signal to business that there is political will to tackle climate change, provide greater certainty on long-term climate policies and provide an adequate framework upon which business can rely to make investments and develop innovative […] technologies and business models to tackle climate challenges while also increasing competitiveness, creating jobs and promoting sustainable economic growth.”

The largest and most representative business organisation in the world and the only private sector UN Observer, ICC is the UNFCCC ‘focal point’ for business and industry, making it the voice of the private sector in climate negotiations and the UN system.