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New partnership to decarbonise cement and concrete sector

Signing of the agreement between the GCCA's CEO, Thomas Gullot, and Gerd Müller, director general of UNIDO.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) have formed a new partnership to decarbonise the cement and concrete industry, particularly focusing on the Global South.

UNIDO, which assists its 172 Member States with economic and industrial development aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has extensive experience in renewable energy and clean energy technologies. It collaborates globally to support industries on the path to net-zero emissions.

The GCCA represents 80% of cement production outside China, including some leading Chinese manufacturers. It is at the forefront of the industry’s decarbonisation efforts through its GCCA 2050 Net Zero Concrete Roadmap.

Cement and concrete are crucial for modern infrastructure, from homes and hospitals to bridges and roads. However, their production and widespread use contribute to about 7% of global CO2 emissions.

Under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), UNIDO and GCCA will work together on key sustainability and decarbonisation issues.

At the signing ceremony in Austria, Gerd Müller, Director General of UNIDO, stated: “Cement and concrete are essential for resilient infrastructure. Decarbonising these sectors is crucial for reducing CO2 emissions and tackling climate change. The GCCA and its members are leading this effort globally. Our UNIDO Member States face technical, market, and policy challenges in decarbonisation. This MoU with the GCCA marks the start of closer cooperation to help overcome these challenges.”

Thomas Guillot, GCCA CEO, added: “Through our Net Zero Roadmap and accelerator programme, we are already collaborating with policymakers, governments, and industry to address procurement and resource challenges, especially in the Global South. This agreement with UNIDO is a natural step forward, which we hope will expedite meaningful progress.”

The partnership includes commitments to:

- Advise decision-makers on creating favourable market conditions for low and near-zero emissions cement and concrete

- Develop innovative technological solutions to meet net-zero goals

- Organise joint international industry and government events

- Co-author and publish research and recommendations

- Highlight promising companies and innovative solutions at relevant events and in publications