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UN backs cement industry’s net zero plan

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UN secretary general Antonio Guterres wants to see "concrete pledges from the concrete industry".
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres wants to see “concrete pledges from the concrete industry”.

Addressing a conference of around 200 industry leaders in Zurich via video link this week, UN secretary general António Guterres said he wanted to see “concrete pledges from the concrete industry.”

His comments followed a rallying call from GCCA chief executive Thomas Guillot for the industry to redouble its efforts and work in partnership with governments to reach net zero.

The world’s leading manufacturers – all members of the GCCA – have pledged to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050, in line with GCCA’s Roadmap for Net Zero Concrete.

The cement and concrete industry claims to be the first heavy industry to set out such a detailed plan.

Addressing delegates at the conference in Zurich, Guillot, said: “We applaud all the action our members are taking to implement carbon-cutting measures and the latest data shows emissions are coming down. But many challenges remain which we must overcome if we are to achieve net zero, including enabling policies and regulations from governments across the world, which often don’t yet exist.”

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“So today, I urge every manufacturer across the world, who has not yet done so, to join our pledge to eliminate emissions by 2050. But I also implore all governments to work with our essential industry to deliver the policy framework that can create the favourable conditions to unlock the transition.”

Guillot told the conference that concrete is “fundamental to building a better world … and we have no time to lose if we are to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5oC.”

“Science tells us that requires cutting global greenhouse emissions by almost half by 2030. That means taking a quantum leap in climate action  and slashing global emissions, starting now,” said Guillot

In his video address, UN secretary general Guterres set out three ambitions for the industry: to end the use of coal-fired power in cement production; work more closely with governments, especially G20 countries, to speed up decarbonisation; and set ambitious emission targets and transition plans in line with UN guidelines.

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