- Sustainable Public Procurement
Cement concrete is the second most-consumed resources on the planet. The production of cement, one of the key ingredients of concrete, has been growing as a result of robust economic growth is Asia and other regions. According to Chatham House, a think tank, cement contributes to about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world, lagging only behind China and the USA. Concrete is also responsible for consumption of about 10th of the world’s industrial water use. Therefore, despite many benefits of concrete as a building material, impacts of cement industry on environment has been a cause of concerns, especially related to climate change mitigation strategy. This has also been a major area of concerns for implementing sustainable procurement in construction/infrastructure as finding a sustainable alternative to cement concrete has been a challenge.
In a major development, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), representing about 35% of the world's cement production capacity, announced “2050 Climate Ambition” on 1st September 2020 with the aim to deliver carbon neutral concrete by 2050. The statement identifies the essential strategy that will be deployed to achieve carbon neutral concrete. The key strategy includes
Reducing and eliminating direct energy emissions and maximizing the co-processing of waste from other industries,
Reducing and eliminating indirect energy emissions through renewable electricity sources,
Reducing process emissions through new technologies and deployment of carbon capture and
Harnessing concrete’s ability to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.
GCCA is in the process of developing a 2050 Concrete Roadmap, expected to be published in 2021, which will set out the detailed actions and milestones for achieving its ambition.
The announcement also puts emphasis on efficient use of concrete, reuse and recycling of concrete and buildings materials. The use of waste cement concrete as secondary raw materials for construction of building and other projects will promote resource efficiency and circular economy in infrastructure sector. The use of carbon neutral concrete in future in infrastructure will directly contribute to reducing impacts of infrastructure projects on environment and help countries in achieving SDGs.
More on the Climate Ambition 2050 and the 2050 Concrete Roadmap can be found on the GCCA website.