The cement and concrete industry’s Ambitious Road to net-zero Plan


The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has charted an ambitious course towards a sustainable and net-zero future through its “Roadmap to Net Zero Concrete.” This strategic framework outlines a comprehensive plan to transform the cement and concrete industry, aligning it with global efforts to combat climate change and achieve carbon neutrality.

Central to the roadmap is the commitment of leading manufacturers, all members of the GCCA, to eliminate carbon emissions from cement and concrete production by 2050. This move has positioned the industry as a pioneer in heavy sectors striving for sustainability. This industry is a suitable and ambitious pioneer, as cement production is responsible for 8% of global GHG emissions. The roadmap acknowledges that achieving net-zero emissions is a complex challenge that requires a multi-faceted approach.


The Roadmap Outline

Decarbonising Operations:

The roadmap envisions shifting from traditional fossil fuel-based energy sources to low-carbon and renewable alternatives. Manufacturers will invest in energy-efficient technologies, such as carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) and carbon capture and storage (CCS), to substantially reduce emissions. Innovations like these will be pivotal in driving the industry’s transformation towards a low-carbon future.

Circular Economy:

Embracing a circular economy model, the roadmap emphasises utilising alternative raw materials and maximising waste recovery. Manufacturers will explore innovative methods to incorporate recycled aggregates and supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) into their processes, minimising the extraction of virgin resources and reducing the overall carbon footprint of concrete production.

Innovative Technologies and Partnerships:

The roadmap advocates for the integration of cutting-edge technologies and the forging of partnerships to drive innovation. Collaboration with research institutions, governments, and other stakeholders will accelerate the development of breakthrough solutions that enhance sustainability throughout the value chain.

Net-Zero Roadmap
Excerpt from the GCCA Road to net zero report (2022)

Government Support

A critical aspect of the roadmap is the call for strong government support and enabling policies. To facilitate the industry’s transition, governments are encouraged to create a conducive environment for adopting sustainable technologies, including incentivising alternative fuels and materials and establishing carbon pricing mechanisms.

In July 2023, the UN expressed its support for the net-zero roadmap. This followed a rallying call by Thomas Guillot, the GCCA chief executive. Guillot commended the carbon reduction efforts of GCCA members, highlighting declining emissions, but also urged manufacturers worldwide to join the 2050 emissions elimination pledge and emphasised the need for supportive policies from governments globally. Guillot highlighted the critical role of concrete in creating a better world, underlining the urgency of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. He stressed the necessity of immediate, substantial climate action to achieve this goal.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Credit: Mark Garten

A Complete Industry Revolution

The GCCA’s roadmap acknowledges that achieving net-zero emissions requires consistent measurement and transparent reporting. The association commits to developing a comprehensive monitoring and reporting framework to track progress and ensure accountability. This transparency will give stakeholders a clear view of the industry’s journey towards carbon neutrality.

As part of the roadmap’s implementation, the GCCA emphasises the importance of knowledge sharing, engagement, and capacity building. The association will collaborate with industry partners, governments, and communities to disseminate best practices, raise awareness, and build the capacity to achieve the roadmap’s objectives.

The roadmap embodies a paradigm shift in the cement and concrete industry’s approach to sustainability. By committing to eliminating carbon emissions by 2050, the sector proactively aligns with global climate objectives and the 1.5 degree Paris Agreement target.

So far, the GCCA claims that over the last 30 years, cement production has seen a proportionate reduction in CO2 emissions of 20% per unit of production. These figures are positive, but there is still a long road to net zero.

 Through decarbonisation, circular economy principles, innovation, and collaboration, the roadmap charts a course towards a future where cement and concrete contribute to a more sustainable and resilient world. However, its success hinges on collaborative efforts, robust policies, and the collective determination of all stakeholders to reshape the industry’s trajectory.

Learn More on Firstplanit

Click here to read about the new European sustainable reporting standards.

Share this Article