Net zero concrete programme launched by Climate Group and global built environment industry

The Climate Group

5 July 2022, London – Today international non-profit Climate Group, in partnership with World GBC and WBCSD, launches ConcreteZero, with a goal of 100% net zero concrete by 2050. 17 pioneering businesses have made the public commitment which includes ambitious short-term commitments to use 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

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, a mix of cement, gravel, sand and water, is a final consumer product. The chemical process used to make traditional limestone cement is very 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 highly successful demand-side climate initiatives which already have the scale of a G7 country on renewable electricity and 5 million electric vehicles.

ConcreteZero founding members include:

  • Buro Happold- integrated consultancy of engineers, consultants and advisers
  • Byrne Bros- UK’s premier concrete frame contractors
  • Canary Wharf Group- commercial and residential property developer, owner and manager
  • The Carey Group – construction business that operates across the UK and Ireland
  • Clancy Group- one of the largest privately owned construction firms in the UK
  • Grimshaw Architects- architects and designers
  • Grosvenor- international property developer, manager and investor
  • Joseph Homes- multi-award-winning property developer
  • Laing O’Rourke- international engineering and construction company
  • Mace- global consultancy and construction firm
  • Morrisroe- UK’s leading concrete specialists
  • Multiplex Construction Europe- premier construction company
  • Ramboll- global engineering, architecture and consultancy company
  • Skanska UK- one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups
  • Thornton Tomasetti- leading global scientific and engineering consulting firm
  • Wilmott Dixon- UK’s leading independent construction and property services
  • WSP- plan, design and manager long lasting engineering solutions

Jonathan Roynon, Technical Director of Buro Happold said: “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.”

Michael Byrne, CEO of Byrne Bros said: “With more than 50 years’ experience of delivering concrete structures, we are acutely aware of the negative environmental impact of our sector. Our extensive trials and use of lower carbon concrete technologies has provided us with expertise to share, and we are proud to be amongst the pioneers in this area.”

Shobi Khan, CEO of Canary Wharf Group said: “Canary Wharf Group is determined to help drive progress to decarbonise concrete as fast as we can. We know that this can only be achieved in a Paris-aligned timeframe through deliberate and intense collaboration, so we’re delighted to be a founding member of ConcreteZero. The strategy and targets announced today will build on the progress we’ve made to date, bring us closer to CWG’s own ambition of achieving net zero by 2030, and accelerate the industry’s transition to net zero concrete by 2050.”

Anna Baker Head of Sustainability of Carey Group said: “As the UKs leading specialist concrete contractor and in line with our vision ‘to be the most trusted and socially responsible construction company, that people are proud to work with’ it was natural fit for us to become a founding partner of ConcreteZero. This commitment goes hand in hand with our Net zero carbon ambitions and will support us in the delivery of our recently validated science based carbon targets”.

Ronan Clancy, Executive Director of Clancy Group said: “Clancy is delighted to sign up as a founding signatory to the Concrete Zero programme. We are committed to improving our processes and procurement to drive a real step change in reducing our impact on the environment and communities we operate in. Given the impacts of materials and products that we use in our industry it is vital that we communicate to our supply chain that we want to see change and we can do this by sending strong demand signals.”

Paul Toyne, Sustainability Leader of Grimshaw said: “Grimshaw has committed to net zero carbon-ready designs for all our building and infrastructure projects. This action can only be delivered in collaboration with our design supply chain and, as part of that, the selection of materials which reduce embodied carbon is critical. Our support of ConcreteZero is a step towards making our and the industry’s commitments real: advocating for innovation and ambition for us to collectively meet carbon targets and tackle the climate challenge.”

James Ennis, Director of Project Management, Grosvenor said: “We are delighted to be a founding member of ConcreteZero and work with our partners towards a net-zero concrete future. As part of our commitment to be net zero by 2030, we are transforming every element of our business, including our approach to construction. Today’s announcement builds on our membership of SteelZero and the work we are doing with our supply chain to drive down embodied carbon across our developments.”

Paul Dipino, Chief Innovation Officer of Joseph Homes said: “We are excited to join a group working to make concrete (the planet’s most consumed material), get to Net Zero and beyond. Ultimately success will only come with solutions that are cost-effective in all world markets, and we must show leadership and commitment to innovate and drive change to make this happen.”

Rossella Nicolin, Head of Sustainability for Europe at Laing O’Rourke said: “We are proud to be one of the founding signatories to the Climate Group’s ConcreteZero commitment and to help lead the industry transition to net zero. Our industry needs to move with greater urgency, and by working together we can more effectively drive global demand for low carbon concrete. We look forward to working with our clients, partners and supply chain delivering sustainable solutions to push this agenda forward.”

James Low, Global Head of Responsible Business of Mace said: “Zero carbon concrete is an essential part of our journey to a truly sustainable built environment, and becoming a founding member of ConcreteZero provides Mace with a valuable platform to collaborate, share knowledge, positively influence and drive meaningful change, and to accelerate our response to the climate emergency.”

Callum Tuckett, Managing Director of Multiplex said: “Multiplex is extremely proud to be a founding member of ConcreteZero. The commitment aligns with our business’s data-driven approach to finding solutions and networks that support our own Net Zero pathway. ConcreteZero will help galvanise the sector’s decarbonisation efforts in a cohesive and practical manner and we are ready to accelerate the rate of change alongside our suppliers and the wider industry”

Dan Bannister, Group HSSQ Director, Morrisroe Group, said: “At Morrisroe we are very proud to be a founding member of ConcreteZero. We understand that decarbonising construction, and in particular the concrete sector is a massive challenge that will require sustained effort and collaboration. We are fully committed to embracing our corporate responsibility and are very excited to be part of this initiative and support this huge step towards to achieving Net Zero”.

Philippa Spence, Managing Director of Ramboll UK said: “This fantastic initiative is a very important and vital step in the decarbonisation of our built environment. The impetus to deliver an impact fast, through collective industry effort and baseline concrete carbon reporting will prove essential for our net zero future.”

Peter DiMaggio, Co-CEO, Thornton Tomasetti, said: “With buildings accounting for nearly 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, those of us in the architecture, engineering and construction industry need to focus on ways of mitigating the impact our work has on the environment. At Thornton Tomasetti, we have a longstanding commitment to sustainability and have been collecting embodied carbon data on our projects for more than a decade. ConcreteZero gives us a framework to come together as an industry to develop innovative low carbon specification and procurement strategies as well as create opportunities to build resilient and future-proof buildings.”

Michael Cross, Head of Partnerships and Innovation, 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.”

Kamran Moazami, Managing Director for Property & Buildings at WSP, said: “As organisations with the ability to effect real change, we must all think to the future in the way we design, build and operate our built assets. We must move quicker to address the built environment’s contribution to GHG emissions as climate change is already impacting the way we live and will only accelerate.”

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