25 Nov 2020, 14:21
Charlotte Nijhuis

German cement industry presents plans to become climate-neutral by 2050

Clean Energy Wire / Handelsblatt

The German cement industry (VDZ) has presented plans for the decarbonisation of cement and concrete in a study outlining its effort to become climate-neutral by 2050. "We want and must now show that we too can become climate-neutral. But the road is definitely not an easy one," said Christian Knell, President of the VDZ and German head of one of Europe’s largest building materials groups, Heidelberg-Cement, in an interview with Handelsblatt.

In 50 pages, the German cement industry describes how it intends to reduce its CO2 emissions to zero by 2050. "We have to build more resource-efficiently, get away completely from fossil fuels and, above all, get by with less clinker," Knell told Handelsblatt. In addition to improving efficiency and moving away from fossil fuels, the company says it will rely on techniques of separating CO2 and further processing or storing it, also called Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS). "Without CCU and CCS, it will not work. We are dependent on these measures," VDZ Managing Director Martin Schneider said. However, CCUS is a sensitive issue in Germany, with critics saying it will serve as an excuse for industries not to reduce emissions.

HeidelbergCement also announced the collaboration with Stiftung 2°, an entrepreneurial network for progressive climate policy, to develop cross-sector approaches and concepts for Germany and Europe in corporate climate protection. The German cement company will join other like-minded companies in the effort of making climate protection ‘a sustainable and successful business model’.

Earlier this year, HeidelbergCement presented more ambitious climate goals. The company said it would reduce CO2 emissions per tonne by 30 percent by 2025 compared to 1990 levels, five years earlier than previously planned. HeidelbergCement employs some 54,000 people at more than 3,000 locations in over 50 countries.

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