WCA at COP26 - Deep Decarbonisation for the Big Emitters

10 November 2021 - Today at the Sustainable Innovation Forum, in the COP26 Innovation Zone, Ian Riley, WCA CEO participated in a panel discussion, “Deep Decarbonisation: Action for the Big Emitters”.

Ian opened the panel by emphasising that the cement industry has been working to reduce emissions for the last 20 years, using three traditional levers; reducing the clinker content of cement; fuel switching away from coal; increasing energy efficiency. He highlighted that the key actions in the next five years for the cement industry would be maximising the reductions possible using these traditional levers, whilst new technologies are scaled up and become cost effective. The remainder will need to be CCUS.

Ian also stressed the role of governments, and what they can do now to facilitate decarbonisation efforts to 2030. This includes developing and promoting new standards for low carbon concretes, accelerating the adoption of carbon pricing mechanisms, and encouraging the uptake of low carbon materials in public projects, which will send the right signals to the private sector. We will also need to see more collaboration with and across cement industry supply chains, and regionally and locally tailored solutions that fit the specific conditions of cement plants.

Responding to an audience member question regarding attracting women and young talent into the industry, Ian acknowledged that typically, cement has been regarded as an old, dirty and male-dominated industry, with only 13% of the workforce being female on average. However, he posited; are heavy emitters opportunities? Yes, they are: if you want to make the largest difference in the world, you should work for an industry that’s got a big problem.

The discussion was chaired by Maithreyi Seetharaman (Facultas Media), and also participating in the panel were Lewis McDonald (Herbert Smith Freehills), Jens Wolf (Enviva), Randy Smallwood (World Gold Council) and Yvonne Ruf (Roland Berger).

You can access the recording on demand here for one year when you register free here.