New guidance for the cement sector

The Cement Science Based Target Setting Guidance is the world’s first framework for companies in the cement sector and other potential users of cement such as construction businesses, to set near- and long-term science-based targets in line with 1.5°C.

It provides a detailed understanding on how to set targets and deal with processes that are specific to the cement and concrete sector, greenhouse gas accounting criteria and recommendations, as well as examples on how different types of companies can use the tools and guidance to submit a target for validation.

Read the SBTi Cement Guidance

Why take action?

The cement sector is the third-largest industrial energy consumer and the second-largest industrial CO2 emitter. It represents about 7% of CO2 emissions globally.

Cement demand is projected to continue rising. If action is not taken to optimize its use in buildings and construction, we will see an increase in demand by approximately 20% by 2050.

Applying best practice in the cement industry

In 2015, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) developed the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA). It is a scientifically-informed method for companies to set greenhouse gas reduction targets necessary to stay within a 2°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels. This led to the development of a 2ºC and a well-below 2ºC pathway.

However, the Paris Agreement and the recent IPCC 6th Assessment Report highlighted the need to keep warming within a 1.5ºC temperature rise.

Our new methodologies, tools and guidance will build on the previously developed SDA methodology for cement to develop 1.5ºC-aligned resources. They will enable companies to set targets that align with science-based decarbonization pathways within the unique context of their sector.

By setting emission reduction targets in line with this goal and defining appropriate decarbonization strategies, cement companies can help rapidly accelerate the transformation to a net-zero economy and prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Project participants

SBTi is the project lead and convener. Participation in this project was undertaken via the following groups:

  • Expert Advisory Group (EAG): Composed of technical experts from stakeholder organizations and companies interested in setting an SBT and contributing to the project execution. Invitations for participation in the EAG consider the need for a balance of stakeholder categories, geographical diversity and gender balance. The EAG consisted of the following:

    • Votorantim Cimentos

    • Global Cement & Concrete Association (GCCA)

    • Cemex

    • Holcim Ltd.

    • VDZ/ECRA

    • CRH

    • HeidelbergCement

    • Bellona

    • WWF

    • Siam Cement Public Company Limited (SCG)

    • Cementos Argos

    • European Climate Foundation

    • Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

    • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

    • UltraTech Cement Limited

    • Grupo Cementos Chihuahua

    • Dangote Cement Plc

    • RMI

  • General stakeholder consultation: Both industry and non-industry representatives will be able to provide feedback on each project component through the public consultation. The project lead will ensure a balanced participation of stakeholder categories.

Funding for this project was provided by Holcim Ltd.

Development process and timeline

The project has been built on the previously developed SDA methodology for cement to develop 1.5ºC-aligned resources, delivering the following guidelines and tools:

  1. Integration of new pathways in SBTi’s target setting tool to help cement companies model GHG emission-reduction targets consistent with the ambition required to limit warming to 1.5ºC;

  2. Guidance for setting 1.5ºC-aligned science-based GHG emission reduction targets for the production of cement;

  3. Incorporation of 1.5ºC-aligned sector-specific benchmarks into the SBTi Target Validation Protocol to enable third-party validation of 1.5ºC-aligned targets for cement production.

To socialize the resources developed as part of this project, we envision joint capacity building activities, including webinars and/or workshops.

From March 16 to April 15 the SBTi held a one month-long public consultation for the Cement Science Based Target Setting Guidance and Tool to ensure the criteria and guidance to support cement companies in their decarbonization journey are robust, clear, and practical.

The development of this project took over eleven months from the kick-off date, with completion in September 2022.

Project timeline: