Karl Downey, Senior Technical Manager and Team Lead for the SBTi’s Buildings, Cement and Steel Projects, explains why the first 1.5°C science-based targets for cement companies present an exciting new opportunity for increased climate ambition.
In September 2022, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) launched the Cement Science Based Target Setting Guidance and Tool. This is the first science-based framework for companies in the cement sector to set near- and long-term targets in line with 1.5°C.
The framework gives the cement and concrete industry methodologies, tools and guidance on how to deal with processes that are specific to the sector. These include greenhouse gas accounting criteria, and recommendations to set robust emissions reduction targets in line with climate science.
To ensure the guidance and resources are robust, clear and practical, the SBTi engaged experts from industry, academia and civil society on various approaches and solutions through regular Expert Advisory Group (EAG) sessions. A wider stakeholder group of industry and non-industry representatives also provided feedback on the project through webinars and written consultation.
More than 30 cement companies have already committed to or set a well-below 2°C science-based target, of which a third are committed to setting net-zero targets. However, to remain competitive and minimize human suffering from the impacts of climate breakdown, many more companies must set 1.5°C-aligned targets – and fast.
Today, Cemex, Holcim Ltd., and TITAN Cement Group are the first cement companies in the world to have set 1.5°C aligned near-term science-based targets using the recently launched Cement Science Based Target Setting Guidance and Tool. Further details of each company’s targets are outlined below.
This is a big step forward for this high-emitting sector, demonstrating what is possible to industry peers. “Climate change is the biggest challenge of our times, and the building materials industry must be at the forefront of decarbonizing the built environment,” agrees Fernando González, CEO of CEMEX. “We are committed to being leaders on the path to net-zero through relentless innovation and aggressive targets that are backed up by meaningful and measurable progress. Through our Future in Action program we are reducing carbon emissions in every part of our value chain and providing our customers with lower carbon products so they can also be part of the solution.
Holcim CEO Jan Jenisch is optimistic about the future decarbonization of the industry: “At Holcim, we are committed to decarbonizing building for a net-zero future”, he says. “When I see the thorough decarbonization plans we are deploying across our business, I am confident that we will decarbonize building at scale”.
He continues: “We take a rigorous, science-driven approach on this journey and partnered with the Science Based Targets initiative to create our industry’s first 1.5°C-aligned framework. I am delighted that we have now upgraded our 2030 climate targets accordingly.”
These first three 1.5°C science-based targets are a positive signal of what’s to come from the cement industry. With ambition, and the will to achieve it, this sector now has the opportunity, as well as a responsibility, to scale up their climate action in line with the latest science.
To find out how you can join the growing number of cement companies setting science-based targets and combating the climate crisis, read our Cement Science Based Target Setting Guidance and commit now to enable the transformation to a global net-zero future.