11 March 2024

LeadIT and GCCA’s Green Cement Technology Tracker expanded to monitor calcined clay kilns

A tool, which is helping to monitor decarbonisation in the cement industry, has now been expanded to include the production of calcined clays – a key cement decarbonisation solution.

Concrete and cement are the world’s most used building materials. They are vital to the built environment for homes, offices and infrastructure, but currently account for around 7% of global CO2 emissions. With the launch of the GCCA’s Concrete Future 2050 Net Zero Roadmap the sector became the first heavy industry to set out a clear commitment and plan on how to decarbonise.  

Tracking progress towards net zero is an essential part of the Roadmap. The Green Cement Technology Tracker, was launched last year by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT). The tracker monitors the global use of technologies that will help the industry decarbonise and will provide transparency and useful data to the industry, policymakers, academics and the public.

Now, the tracker has been expanded to include the use of clay calcination kilns. Calcined clay, also known as metakaolin, can be used in the making of cement and can help to make significant CO2 reductions, due to the lower amount of energy needed the manufacturing process.

Per Andersson, Head of the Secretariat – LeadIT said: “Transparency is key. In order to empower the industry and policymakers committed to emission reductions, our goal is to provide comprehensive tracking of investments in low-carbon cement production. This new addition to our trackers is extending the scope and quality.” 

The GCCA’s Cement, Innovation and ESG Director, Claude Loréa, said: “Driving down emissions requires investment in new technologies and production methods and incorporating calcined clay can contribute significantly making it a valuable strategy for sustainable construction.”

The GCCA’s Roadmap estimates that by using calcined clays in the production of cement, instead of limestone, it is possible to reduce emissions in the production process by 11%.

Karen Scrivener is Professor at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland and an expert on the use of calcined clays. She said: “Ultimately, we’re constrained by the materials we have on earth. There’s no overnight replacement to cement. However the development of calcined clays, which are widely available, offers the world an exciting opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions in cement production.”

Expansion of the tracker’s scope now means it is monitoring development of two of the newest technologies which are helping to decarbonise cement plants – CCUS and calcined clays.

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Media Contacts   

Eileen Torres Morales, Analyst and Transition Tracker Lead, LeadIT, eileen.torres@sei.org  

Jane Birch, Communications Lead, LeadIT, jane.birch@sei.org  

Simon Thomson, Head of Media, GCCA: simon.thomson@gccassociation.org 


What are the sources of CO2  emissions in the cement and concrete sector?   

During the production of cement clinker which is the main component of cement, limestone is heated in a kiln at high temperatures typically around 1450°C in a process known as calcination which releases CO2 as a byproduct. Cement is needed for the production of concrete. Additionally the energy intensive nature of cement production requires fuel, typically fossil fuels, to heat the kilns and this contributes to CO2 emissions. 

What is calcined clay? 

Calcined clay, also known as metakaolin, is produced by heating sources of kaolin clay (such as paper sludge) to temperatures between 650°C and 750°C. The resulting material can be added to cement as a substitute for clinker.  

How does calcined clay contribute to emissions reduction? 

The use of calcined clay reduces the need for clinker production which is an energy intensive process. Clinker production requires much higher kiln temperatures for calcined clay. By substituting clinker with calcined clay less energy is required leading to lower emissions. Calcined clay also releases fewer greenhouse gases when compared to the calcination of limestone.  

About the Green Cement Technology Tracker 

The Green Cement Technology Tracker tracks public announcements of low-carbon cement investments aligned to corporate climate goals consistent with the Paris Agreement. The tool is developed jointly by the Global Cement & Concrete Association and the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT), in collaboration with the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions. Aimed at accelerating technology adoption and global decarbonisation, the tool seeks to support the cement industry to meet its commitments, progress towards net-zero emissions. Regular updates engage stakeholders like producers, researchers, policymakers and investors to ensure data relevance.  

About the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT)   

LeadIT was launched by the prime ministers of Sweden and India at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit in 2019. LeadIT brings together countries and companies committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions from industry by 2050 and is supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The LeadIT Secretariat is hosted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and manages the work of the Leadership Group. 

For more information, visit the website for Leadership Group for Industry Transition

About the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA)   

The GCCA and its members account for 80% of global cement production capacity outside of China, as well as some key Chinese manufacturers. Member companies have committed to reducing and ultimately eliminating CO2 emissions in concrete (which currently account for around 7% globally), through implementation of the GCCA’s Concrete Future 2050 Net Zero Roadmap – the first heavy industry to set out such a detailed plan. 

For more information visit the GCCA website.


The Tracker does not include confidential information pertaining to carbon capture projects in the cement and concrete sector. Its content is derived from public sources, and any confidential projects may not be represented in the Tracker. 

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Paul Adeleke

Communications and Policy Director