Cement and Concrete: empowering the Sustainable Development Goals

This roadmap aligned with the industry’s commitment to sustainability guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As an industry, cement and concrete touches many areas of sustainable development. Concrete’s remarkable properties make it a vital element in both limiting the scope, and combating the effects of climate change – enabling the development of sustainable and resilient buildings and communities around the world.

The widespread and low-cost availability of concrete, as well as its durability and resilience, will be a critical resource in achieving many SDGs. This is particularly so for those goals related to urbanisation, and where large-scale improvements to vital infrastructure or to affordable decent housing are needed.

The role of the industry, and the benefits of the material, play a role in achieving almost all Sustainable Development Goals:

• durable and cost-effective buildings and infrastructure are central to the transformation of communities out of poverty, providing education at all levels and combatting food waste.

• transport infrastructure made with concrete provides market access for local food producers, promotes access to education and creates economic opportunities and well-being.

• as a global industry, cement and concrete manufacturing drives economic growth and provides both direct and indirect employment; and, as an industry, we are committed to providing fair and safe working conditions.

• across the world, concrete is the material of choice for transporting water, providing clean drinking water and effective sanitation.

• concrete is integral to generating and transporting clean energy, whether by building hydro-electric dams, providing foundations for wind turbines or power lines, or infrastructure for tidal power or geothermal power.

• the unique reflective properties and thermal mass of concrete contribute to the energy efficiency for our built environment.

• as this document demonstrates, the cement and concrete industry is committed to net zero concrete by 2050, eliminating its climate impact.

• the strength and the unique resistance of concrete to both water and fire protects communities around the world from natural disasters and the effects of climate change.

• concrete is fundamental to the provision of resilient affordable housing for vulnerable urban communities.

• the cement and concrete industry is at the heart of the circular economy, using by-products from other industries as raw material or fuel, and by providing a product that can be repurposed or recycled.