Leading firms pledge to use 100% net zero concrete by 2050

ConcreteZero campaign is launched by Climate Group and global built environment industry.

A group of leading firms have come together and pledged to be using 100% net zero concrete by 2050.

The 17 companies, including Laing O’Rourke, Wilmott Dixon and Skanska UK, have made the public commitment which includes ambitious short-term targets to use 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030. 

The group of construction, engineering, design and property experts also intend to use only net zero concrete by 2050.

International non-profit Climate Group, in partnership with World GBC and WBCSD, has launched the ConcreteZero campaign

Concrete production contributes to 8% of global annual carbon emissions. With the size of Paris being built globally every single week for the next 40 years, the demand for concrete is significant. 

The concrete industry becoming net zero is vital to halving carbon emissions by 2030 and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C.

The founding ConcreteZero members are signalling to the industry the scale of demand for sustainably produced and sourced concrete. 

But to accelerate progress, businesses need a globally agreed definition on what is considered net zero and low emission concrete. 

ConcreteZero members are breaking down this barrier by making a commitment to measure and report on the carbon emissions associated with the concrete they use. This data will enable the industry to set a global standard of what low emission and net zero concrete is, bringing a clear signal to suppliers and policymakers. 

Jen Carson, head of industry of Climate Group, 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 is a mix of cement, gravel, sand and water. The chemical process used to make traditional limestone cement is energy intensive, emitting significant levels of CO2. Inclusion of cement in the concrete mix drastically increases the level of carbon emissions associated with the end product.

By focusing on concrete, Climate Group is maximising all the opportunities in the production of concrete, to cut carbon emissions.

ConcreteZero builds on Climate Group’s successful demand-side climate initiatives which already have the scale of a G7 country on renewable electricity and 5million electric vehicles. 

ConcreteZero founding members are: 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; Wilmott Dixon and WSP. 

Michael Cross, head of partnerships and innovation at Willmott Dixon, said: “ConcreteZero aligns with Willmott Dixon’s ambition to reduce embodied carbon, a key aim of our Now or Never Net Zero strategy. This includes an ambition to deliver all buildings with net zero embodied carbon by 2040.

“But we can’t do this alone. ConcreteZero will work to improve our industry’s approach to embodied carbon, through setting industry-level targets and creating a reporting standard so that we can measure change.”

Jonathan Roynon, technical director of Buro Happold, added: “Concrete is likely to remain a key material in the delivery of buildings, and we need to find ways to drive down its embodied carbon to zero. To achieve this, we must support the supply chain. The ConcreteZero initiative is a great way to consolidate and drive the market demand, providing an incentive to reduce concrete’s embodied carbon with far reaching benefits.”

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