India's cement emission cuts may inspire GCC producers

Cement companies are being warned against delaying investments in eco-friendly production processes

GCC cement companies need to develop low-carbon products and technologies to meet international climate change targets [representational image].
GCC cement companies need to develop low-carbon products and technologies to meet international climate change targets [representational image].

GCC cement companies need to develop low-carbon products and technologies to meet international climate change targets, an industry analyst told Construction Week.

Marco Kisic, senior analyst at London-based CDP, told Construction Week that GCC cement producers should increase their investments in in carbon capture and storage.

His suggestion followed CDP’s publication of a report warning that cement companies needed to “urgently double their emissions reductions” or face missing critical climate change targets that aim to limit global warming to below two degrees.

READ: Sharjah Cement's pre-tax profit falls 17%

The report, Building Pressure, analysed 13 of the world’s largest listed cement companies, and assessed them on four key recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

Indian companies topped the CDP chart thanks to the work the companies had done to reduce their carbon footprint during the process of manufacturing cement.

Construction Week reached out for specific examples to understand what GCC cement companies are doing to make cement production more environment-friendly.

CDP could not provide detailed of the work in the region, but Kisic did suggest how companies operating in the region could help meet climate change targets.

“Generally speaking, there are similarities in the cement production processes across the world,” he said.

“Decarbonisation will need to take place [through] a combination of higher utilisation of substitutes. Initially it will be industrial substitutes, then natural ones such as pozzolanas and calcined clays, followed by higher utilisation of alternative fuels, and upgrading plants to make them more energy efficient.”

KIsic also called for more investment in carbon capture and storage.

“We don’t make estimates for the level of investment required, but part of this [spend] can be integral to a company’s business-as-usual capital expenditure, such as upgrading plants to achieve better energy efficiencies.

"But if companies continue to postpone investments, [then] they run the risk of having to play catch-up in future years, possibly facing a bigger charge and losing market share to more innovative competitors.”

Commenting on the report, chief executive officer of CDP, Paul Simpson, said: “Cement is a heavy and largely invisible polluter, yet taken for granted as a necessary building block of basic civilisation.

"With potential pressure coming from multiple sources, including down the value chain in the form of building and city regulation, cement companies need to invest and innovate in order to avoid impending risks to their operations and the wider world.

"This may seem challenging at first, but every year it is delayed, the cost becomes greater, so management teams, regulators and investors need to think long term. There is a solution – cement companies just need to invest properly in finding it.”

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