Promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth, employment, and decent work for all.
SDG8 aims to achieve sustained, sustainable, and equitable economic growth through policies that promote economic productivity and diversification, job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation. This includes the decoupling of economic growth from environmental impact and the protection of worker rights to a safe and secure working environment.
In addition to structural challenges – from gender discrimination, lack of education and training, and access to finance – COVID-19 has been a reminder of the risks posed by unexpected global and regional crises to economic growth and employment. It was only in 2018 that global employment levels recovered from the financial crisis of 2007/08. With 30 million new entrants to the labour market expected every year to 2030, the scale of the challenge should not be underestimated.
Meanwhile, for many, employment is not a guarantee against poverty: 8% of employed workers and their families still lived in extreme poverty in 2018. The challenge of climate change also highlights the imperative to create economic growth that does not harm the environment. Lastly, data from 55 countries show that many workers are still exposed to undue risk with a median of three deaths and 889 non-fatal injuries per 100,000.
How the cement and concrete industry is making a positive difference
Infrastructure provides the foundations for inclusive economic growth, improving quality of life and generating employment. Access to energy, transportation and communications, water, and waste networks are all vital inputs for business productivity, expansion, and job creation. This need for infrastructure has focused much economic activity on the places where it is often at its most developed: cities – centres of human capital, financial and other professional services, office and industrial properties, and other vital economic building blocks.
This essential infrastructure – and the urban development it underpins – is predicated on concrete. Its durability, resilience to climate-related and natural disasters, and cost-effectiveness and widespread availability have made it the most consumed material in the world after water. It (literally) built the modern world – and it continues to provide the foundational elements needed for economic growth, while delivering significant sustainability benefits.
Moreover, the cement and concrete industry recognises the need to decouple the production of concrete from its environmental impacts. GCCA members are committed to driving down their CO2 footprints, aspiring to deliver carbon-neutral concrete by 2050, as part of the GCCA Climate Ambition.
On a more day-to-day level, while direct employment in the cement and concrete sector may be limited, it is locally important and can create important economic multipliers, e.g. through local procurement strategies and the provision of local training and education (particularly among young people). The industry is also an integral part of the global construction industry, which is a crucial contributor to global employment and economic activity.
The industry has long recognised the importance of the health and safety of its workers. It is the primary priority of the GCCA, with a goal of zero harm, and GCCA members annually report key health and safety performance indicators as part of their commitment to the GCCA Sustainability Charter. To support its members, the GCCA has also published a Health Management Handbook and a Road Safety Handbook.