Cementing your lead: cement industry in net-zero transition

Published 06 February 2024

To reach net-zero emissions by 2050, cement producers will have to invest heavily, but innovative technologies could provide at least a partial solution. By Fabian Apel, Johanna Hoyt, Francisco Marques, Sebastian Reiter and Patrick Schulze, McKinsey & Co.

In the short term, the supply of lower-carbon cement is unlikely to keep up with increasing demand from end

consumers with ambitious CO2 targets ( © jamesteohart)

The cement and concrete industry has established new targets to lower and even eliminate emissions, such as those set by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA). These targets aim for a 20 per cent reduction of CO2 per metric tonne of cement and a 25 per cent reduction of CO2 per cubic metre of concrete by 2030 compared to 2020 levels. The GCCA calls for complete decarbonisation by 2050.
For the past few decades, cement players have relied on traditional levers to reduce their emissions, such as increasing fuel efficiency, and substituting clinker and traditional fuels with more-sustainable options. However, to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, annual capital spending will need to almost double to US$60bn on average from 2021 to 2050.

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