17 major concrete-consuming businesses pledge to use 100% net-zero concrete by 2050

Published: 5 Jul 2022
Type: News

5 July, Geneva – Today international non-profit Climate Group, in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), launches ConcreteZero, a new initiative with a goal of sourcing 100% net zero concrete by 2050. The initiative has gathered 17 pioneering businesses who have made the public commitment, including ambitious short-term commitments to use 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

The production of concrete contributes to 8% of global annual carbon emissions. With the size of a city like Paris being built globally every week for the next 40 years, the demand for concrete is significant. The concrete industry becoming net-zero is vital to halving carbon emissions by 2030 and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C.

The founding ConcreteZero members are signaling to the industry the scale of demand for sustainably produced and sourced concrete. The members are breaking down one of the biggest barriers by committing to measure and report on the concrete-related carbon emissions associated. This data will enable the industry to set a global standard of low emission and net-zero concrete, bringing a clear signal to suppliers and policymakers.  

Jen Carson, Head of Industry of Climate Group, said: “It’s time for concrete targets to reduce carbon emissions in years, not decades. ConcreteZero is signaling to the industry that the biggest buyers want it to innovate and act now on emissions. Concrete and steel emit as much as all road transport globally, and demand is going up. We won’t address the climate crisis without big bold measures on industry.”

Concrete, a mix of cement, gravel, sand and water, is a final consumer product. The chemical process used to make traditional limestone cement is very energy-intensive, emitting significant levels of CO2. Including cement in the concrete mix drastically increases the carbon emissions associated with the end product. By focusing on concrete, Climate Group is maximizing all the opportunities in the production of concrete to cut carbon emissions.

Luca De Giovanetti, Senior Manager, Built Environment, WBCSD, added: “We need a shared understanding of the importance of the built environment for climate mitigation and a common vision for its urgent decarbonization as a system. That level of transformation will require collaboration within and across all stakeholders of the built environment. The ConcreteZero initiative is a step in the right direction. It changes supply and demand dynamics to incentivize low carbon solutions along the value chain. WBCSD is proud to support the Climate Group in this effort, and we hope more companies will join.”

ConcreteZero builds on Climate Group’s highly successful demand-side climate initiatives, which already have the scale of a G7 country on renewable electricity and 5 million electric vehicles.

ConcreteZero founding members include:

  • Buro Happold - integrated consultancy of engineers, consultants and advisers
  • Byrne Bros - UK’s premier concrete frame contractors
  • Canary Wharf Group - commercial and residential property developer, owner and manager
  • The Carey Group - construction business that operates across the UK and Ireland
  • Clancy Group - one of the largest privately-owned construction firms in the UK
  • Grimshaw Architects - architects and designers
  • Grosvenor - international property developer, manager and investor
  • Joseph Homes - multi-award-winning property developer
  • Laing O’Rourke - international engineering and construction company
  • Mace - global consultancy and construction firm
  • Morrisroe - UK’s leading concrete specialists
  • Multiplex Construction Europe - premier construction company
  • Ramboll - global engineering, architecture and consultancy company
  • Skanska UK - one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups
  • Thornton Tomasetti - leading global scientific and engineering consulting firm 
  • Wilmott Dixon- UK’s leading independent construction and property services
  • WSP- plan, design and manage long-lasting engineering solutions

Jonathan Roynon, Technical Director of Buro Happold said: Concrete is likely to remain a key material in the delivery of buildings, and we need to find ways to drive down its embodied carbon to zero. To achieve this, we must support the supply chain. The ConcreteZero initiative is a great way to consolidate and drive the market demand, providing an incentive to reduce concrete’s embodied carbon with far-reaching benefits.”

Michael Byrne, CEO of Byrne Bros said: “With more than 50 years’ experience of delivering concrete structures, we are acutely aware of the negative environmental impact of our sector. Our extensive trials and use of lower carbon concrete technologies have provided us with expertise to share, and we are proud to be amongst the pioneers in this area.”

Philippa Spence, Managing Director of Ramboll UK said: “This fantastic initiative is a very important and vital step in the decarbonization of our built environment. The impetus to deliver an impact fast, through collective industry effort and baseline concrete carbon reporting will prove essential for our net-zero future.”

If you are interested in learning more about this initiative, please contact Luca De Giovanetti.

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