The UK concrete and cement industry is calling on Government to put in place new domestic policy measures to protect UK jobs, provide sector-specific funding for net zero transition and adopt new carbon accounting measures.
Ahead of the UN COP26 summit and following the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, UK Concrete has published ‘Decarbonising UK Concrete and Cement’, a proposed package of policy recommendations* to help the sector drive further decarbonisation and support the UK’s pathway to net zero.
Carbon leakage has been identified by the industry as a real threat to the UK economy and retaining domestic cement jobs and production. The issue is created by the UK consuming imported goods that offshore CO2 and move responsibility for emissions abroad with cement production pushed outside the UK.
Chris Leese, director, UK Concrete comments: “The Government’s Net Zero Strategy provides an important commitment to the technologies that are critical to delivering net zero concrete and cement. There nevertheless remains a need for Government to put in place new domestic measures including sector-specific funding to support our industry’s path to net zero, while retaining and creating new green manufacturing jobs.
“Climate diplomacy and negotiation with other countries at COP26 regarding carbon pricing is important to tackling the threat of carbon leakage and offshoring of production. However, this is only one facet of how to protect against carbon leakage in the UK and will not deliver the protection that is needed now to halt the erosion of domestic production.
UK Concrete is recommending that the UK should adopt new carbon accounting measures to take full responsibility for its emissions.
It believes there is currently a significant shortcoming in UK net zero legislation because emissions targets can be met, or partially met, by buying more imported goods in place of domestic production. This is moving emissions responsibility to other countries.
Chris Leese added: “For the UK to provide an honest account of its progress to net zero, it should take responsibility for emissions from materials and goods produced in the UK, as well as production emissions from imports consumed. A failure to do this will undermine the UK Government’s fight against climate change.”
The policy recommendations document calls on Government to use its procurement powers to drive adoption of new low-carbon technologies and adopt a whole life carbon assessment model to cut carbon.
In 2020, the UK concrete and cement industry set out a clear a roadmap* to deliver and go beyond net zero by 2050, removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits each year. The UK industry has reduced absolute CO2 emissions by 53% since 1990 – decarbonising faster than the UK economy as a whole.
UK Concrete policy recommendations to Government include:
- New domestic measures must eliminate the threat of carbon leakage and protect UK manufacturing jobs
- The UK must adopt new carbon accounting measures to take full responsibility for its emissions
- Government sector specific funding for UK energy intensive industries is needed to accelerate net zero innovation
- Whole life carbon assessment should be incorporated into Government policy to cut carbon and deliver improved social outcomes
- Government must use its procurement powers to drive adoption of new low-carbon technologies to help build back better