13 June 2023

UN General Secretary backs cement and concrete leaders in united rallying call for action on net zero

He says the industry is “fundamental to building a better world.”

  • Call for “sustained and immediate” action on net zero comes as 200 cement and concrete industry leaders gather for major international conference in Zurich.
  • Cement and Concrete seen as vital to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • GCCA is leading industry worldwide efforts to reach net zero through its 2050 Net Zero Roadmap.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has issued a call to action, alongside the CEOs of major cement and concrete manufacturers, for the industry to redouble its efforts, and to work in partnership with governments, to reach net zero. The united rallying call has been made by the Chief Executive of the Global Cement and Concrete Association, Thomas Guillot, together with the leaders of GCCA member companies, as they begin a major conference in Zurich.

Concrete is the second most-used material on earth after water and the backbone of modern infrastructure. It is used to build homes, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, tunnels and helps to provide clean water and green energy. But with so much of it used around the world, it currently accounts for 7% of global CO2 emissions. The world’s leading manufacturers – all members of the Global Cement and Concrete Association – have pledged to eliminate those emissions by 2050, in line with GCCA’s Roadmap for Net Zero Concrete – the first heavy industry to set out such a detailed plan.

Addressing around 200 industry leaders from across the globe, who’ve gathered in Zurich, the GCCA Chief Executive, Thomas 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 polices and regulations from governments across the world, which often don’t yet exist.”

“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.”

And speaking via video to the conference, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, supported the call for maximum action towards net zero, saying he wanted to see “concrete pledges from the concrete industry.”

He 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 1.5 degrees centigrade.”

“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.”

The UN Secretary General set out three ambitions for the industry, including ending the use of coal-fired power in cement production, working more closely with governments, especially G20 countries, to speed up decarbonisation, and setting ambitious emission targets and transition plans, in line with UN guidelines.

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Link to UN General Secretary’s video: https://youtu.be/TGmbkeuEhto

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Paul Adeleke

Communications and Policy Director