SDG 14: Life Below Water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

SDG14 focuses on the reduction of marine pollution of all kinds and the protection of delicate marine and coastal ecosystems. This includes minimising and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification caused by the increasing levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods, while oceans also provide key natural resources for medicines, biofuels, and other products. Careful management of the marine environment is therefore an important element in ensuring sustainable development goals. However, that environment is under threat from climate change, pollution, and overfishing.

How the cement and concrete industry is making a positive difference

When it comes to protecting and restoring the ocean environment (SDG14.2), concrete’s durability in marine environments makes it is an ideal material with which to build artificial reefs, often as part of offshore construction projects, that support the regeneration of natural marine habitats.[1] With a majority of reefs under threat from human activity, these artificial reefs are an important opportunity to restore the complex undersea ecosystems that are so important to human development.

Ocean acidification can only be addressed by the transition to a low-carbon economy (SDG14.3). The cement and concrete industry recognise the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and is taking action to reduce the carbon intensity of production methods and mitigate the impact of climate change [link to SDG13].

For example, under the GCCA Climate Ambition, GCCA members have committed to drive down the CO2 footprint of their operations and products with the aspiration to deliver carbon-neutral concrete by 2050. Actions already being taken by the industry include efforts to achieve greater energy efficiency, higher use of alternative fuels and renewable energy sources, increased use of alternative cementitious materials and aggregates, and research into carbon capture technologies.

Meanwhile, the cement industry helps prevent ocean pollution from plastics and other wastes (SDG14.1) through its use of refuse-derived alternative fuels in the cement manufacturing process.

Case studies

LafargeHolcim and EGIS/Seaboost provide a concrete solution for damaged marine ecosystems

An innovative barrier to marine litterSCG 3D-Printed Artificial Coral Reef with Recycled Material in Thailand

Votorantim Cimentos: Water Management Plan maps the reduction of water consumption through the whole production chain

[1] BIRBECK T. and DODDRELL, J., “Reef Cubes – The Building Blocks for Saving the Ocean”, Concrete (July 2018).