Cement and concrete are integral to our modern civilization. They are the most consumed construction materials, owing to their abundant resource availability, good workability, longlasting durability, and versatility. In 2019, their production, transport, use, and demolition was estimated to account for roughly 9-10% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, including carbonate decomposition, fuel combustion, and electricity use. At the same time, their emissions-intensive manufacturing processes have been slow to change, making the cement and concrete sector one of the world’s most difficult-to-abate sources of CO2 emissions.

To achieve the “well below 2 degrees” vision of the Paris Agreement, it is imperative that the industrial sector reaches net-zero emissions by mid-century. For the cement and concrete cycle, reaching this goal will require a broader portfolio of low-carbon levers, extending from conventional production-side measures (e.g., cement plant technology options and clinker substitution) to emerging production-side measures (e.g., lower-carbon cement chemistries, carbon capture and sequestration, and carbon utilization) to emerging demand-side measures (e.g., material efficiency strategies and end-of-life options).


• 3rd largest industrial energy consumer.

• 7% of yearly global human-made CO2 emissions.

• 2nd most used material on Earth.

• The cement and concrete sector is one of the world’s most difficult-to-abate sources of
CO2 emissions.

• Current stakeholder ambitions in the cement and concrete cycle will likely fall far short
of achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century.

• These two diverging pathways, the Production-Centric and Whole-Systems Scenarios,
can cut CO2 emissions to zero by 2060.

• Irrespective of the pathway, immediate actions are required to accelerate the pace of innovative technology and policy adoption and to unlock the emissions reduction opportunities for different stakeholder groups across the cement and concrete cycle.

Strategic Approach

  • Coordinate African climate action and innovation in the cement and concrete industry to stimulate demand for low-carbon products, ensure appropriate financing and public policy are in place for the transition and enlarge the circle of progressive companies committing to net-zero targets.
  • Ensure the supply and manufacturing of cement and concrete are in line with global climate goals.
  • Increase demand for low-carbon cement and concrete by helping design and advocate for appropriate policy levers.
  • Use a circular approach of land stewardship, effective design, material efficiency, reuse, and recycling to maximise the potential benefits of cement and concrete while minimising climate impacts.


  • Launch a sector transition strategy for net-zero cement and concrete, with a clear set of policy asks (this can be done through strategic partnerships).
  • Facilitate increased use of wastes and by-products as alternative fuels and raw materials, as well as increased reuse of concrete and use of demolished concrete.
  • Drive private- and public-sector demand for sustainable cement and concrete.
  • Establish metrics for the resilience of buildings and infrastructure.