Investors call on cement firms to address carbon emissions

Investors are lobbying European cement manufacturers to eliminate carbon emissions created during cement generation no later than 2050.

A statement from the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) in conjunction with Climate Action 100+ includes 320 investors with $3 trillion in assets.

A document titled Investor Expectations of Companies in the Construction Materials Sector has been sent to 161 firms, including CRH, LafargeHolcim and HeidelbergCement, alongside targeted steps detailing the most applicable way forward for each company.

IIGCC has called for firms to assign a board or committee member to oversee sustainable development.

The IIGCC’s expectations are in line with the Paris Agreement, and they say that companies should work in tandem with policy makers in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Firms are obligated  to set short, medium and long-term targets to reach this goal.

The IIGCC note that cement is the most widely used construction material, and contributes 7% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions. If the cement industry was a country, it would be the third largest global emitter behind China and the US.

Stephanie Pfeifer, IIGCC chief executive, said: "The cement sector needs to dramatically reduce the contribution it makes to climate change. Delaying or avoiding this challenge is not an option. This is ultimately a business-critical issue for the sector.

"Major economies such as the UK and France are increasingly adopting economy-wide net zero emission targets.

"The cement sector needs to get ahead of the profound transformation their sector faces by addressing barriers to decarbonisation in the short- to medium-term if companies are to secure their future."

Image: Cement being poured (Lovelyday12/Dreamstime)

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