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CEO DATELINE - Association releases carbon neutrality ‘roadmap’ for cement industry

Oct. 13, 2021
By Walt Williams

The Portland Cement Association has released what it says is a “critical step” for helping the cement and concrete industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

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The Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality establishes a 2050 industry deadline for striking a balance between emitting greenhouse gases and negating the environmental impacts of those emissions, according to a PCA statement. Among the goals in the roadmap is to use concrete to capture and store carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

The manufacture of concrete currently accounts for 1.5% of all U.S. greenhouse emissions, PCA said. However, cement accounts for roughly 8% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, BBC News reported.

"Cement and concrete have been pivotal in building resilient, durable and sustainable communities that enable people to live safe, productive and healthy lives via structures that withstand natural and man-made disasters," PCA CEO Michael Ireland said. "PCA is uniquely positioned to lead the industry-wide ambition to achieving carbon neutrality and enable our member companies and industry partners to continue building a better future."

A number of businesses and industries have pledged in recent years to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental activists have pressured those same businesses about their memberships in trade associations that have long opposed new climate-related regulations. In response, some associations have released action plans for reducing their industry’s emissions, such as the American Petroleum Institute, which in June released a “climate reporting template” for the natural gas and oil industry.

PCA’s roadmap focuses on voluntary steps, arguing that many technologies already exist for reducing the cement industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. The group also said it is gathering “a coalition of industry experts, researchers, policymakers and companies along the value chain to make this Roadmap a reality.”