HeidelbergCement sets Paris-aligned emissions targets

Article by Adam Duckett

HEIDELBERGCEMENT has set targets to reduce its emissions in line with the Paris Agreement climate goals, becoming the first cement company to have its targets validated under an independent assessment scheme.

Cement production is estimated to contribute 8% of global CO2 emissions, so reducing emissions from production will be key to meeting climate goals. The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) assesses and validates that the emission reduction targets companies set match with those agreed in Paris in 2015 to below 2oC and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5oC.

HeidelbergCement, the world’s third-largest producer in 2017–18, has committed to reduce direct emissions by 15% per ton of products by 2030 from a 2016 baseline. In the same timeframe it will also seek to reduce its so-called Scope 2 emissions, covering power, heat and steam, by 65% per ton of product. The reduction will be made by increasing the use of alternative raw materials including ground granulated furnace slag and fly ash. The company also confirmed it is working on using recarbonated concrete fines in order to close the material- and carbon-loop in its value chain.  

It is also working to reduce emissions through the use of alternative fuels including pre-treated municipal solid waste, industrial waste and by-products such as used tyres, solvents and dried sewage sludge. These sources provide calorific value as well as an alternative for minerals.

"Our goal is to realise the vision of CO2-neutral concrete by 2050 at the latest. In the coming years, we want to make significant progress in this direction, and the SBTi’s approval is a clear proof of our strong commitment,” said company Chairman Bernd Scheifele.

A Swiss report published last year identified how the industry could reduce emissions by 95% by 2050, focussing on proven technologies that can be implemented across the supply chain. This included substituting the use of clinker, a binder which significantly contributes to the emissions from industry, and switching to improved kiln technologies.

SBTi is a collaboration between the World Resources Institute, UN Global Compact, CDP and the WWF. It defines best practice in science-based target setting; offers companies resources, workshops and guidance; and independently assesses and approves company targets.

More than 200 companies have set targets approved by SBTi including AB InBev, AstraZeneca, Sumitomo Chemical, and Unilever.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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