Major contractors sign pledge to cut concrete carbon emissions

Written by on July 5, 2022

Several large contractors have committed to reducing their concrete carbon emissions and accelerate work towards net-zero targets as part of a global initiative.

A total of 17 concrete-using businesses have signed up to the ConcreteZero pledge, which aims to achieve 100 per cent net-zero concrete by 2050.

Firms that have signed up to the agreement, which launches today, include:

  • Byrne Bros;
  • The Carey Group;
  • Clancy Group;
  • Laing O’Rourke;
  • Mace;
  • Multiplex;
  • Skanska; and
  • Willmott Dixon.

A full list of businesses that have agreed to be founding members of the pledge can be found at the end of this article.

Orchestrated by environmental campaigners Climate Group, the ConcreteZero pledge sees construction businesses agree to short-term commitments towards using greener concrete products and maximise opportunities to cut emissions during production.

The companies also commit to using 30 per cent low-emission concrete by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030.

Those who sign up to ConcreteZero will measure and report on the carbon emissions associated with the concrete they use, with the data used to set a global standard for low-emission and net-zero concrete.

Climate Group head of industry Jen Carson said: “It’s time for concrete targets to reduce carbon emissions in years, not decades. ConcreteZero is signalling to the industry that the biggest buyers want the industry to innovate and act now on emissions.

“Concrete and steel emit as much as all road transport globally, and demand is going up. We won’t address the climate crisis without big, bold measures on industry.”

Concrete production contributes 8 per cent of global annual carbon emissions, while the cement industry is the third-biggest producer of global carbon-dioxide emissions.

Concrete – a mix of cement, gravel, sand and water – is a final consumer product. But the chemical process used to make traditional, limestone cement is very energy intensive, emitting significant levels of carbon dioxide. Inclusion of cement in the concrete mix drastically increases the level of carbon emissions associated with the end-product.

Speaking ahead of today’s campaign launch, Laing O’Rourke head of sustainability for Europe Rossella Nicolin said: “We are proud to be one of the founding signatories to the Climate Group’s ConcreteZero commitment and to help lead the industry transition to net zero.

“Our industry needs to move with greater urgency, and by working together we can more effectively drive global demand for low-carbon concrete.

“We look forward to working with our clients, partners and supply chain, delivering sustainable solutions to push this agenda forward.”

Mace global head of responsible businesses James Low said: “Zero-carbon concrete is an essential part of our journey to a truly sustainable built environment.

“Becoming a founding member of ConcreteZero provides Mace with a valuable platform to collaborate, share knowledge, positively influence and drive meaningful change, and to accelerate our response to the climate emergency.”

ConcreteZero is a global initiative that brings together organisations to create a market for net-zero concrete and is led by international non-profit Climate Group, in partnership with the World Green Building Council (World GBC) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

All of the companies that have signed up to the pledge: Buro Happold, Byrne Bros, Canary Wharf Group, The Carey Group, Clancy Group, Grimshaw Architects, Grosvenor, Joseph Homes, Laing O’Rourke, Mace, Morrisroe, Multiplex Construction Europe, Ramboll, Skanska UK, Thornton Tomasetti, Willmott Dixon and WSP.

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