There are new ways to build the future

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After water, concrete is the most used material on Earth. Its main ingredient, cement, has a significant environmental footprint, accounting for 8% of global CO2 emissions – more than three times the emissions produced by aviation. Rapid reductions are needed to get on track with our shared climate goals.

The problem with traditional cement

  • 0 %

    of global emissions

  • 0 %

    of emissions come from clinker

  • 0 %

    rise in demand by 2050

Getting to zero carbon by 2040

Establish performance-based standards as the harmonised norm for cement and concrete

  • Develop a harmonised European performance-based standard for common cement, allowing all cement to enter the market upon meeting performance requirements
  • Harmonise standards for concrete at EU level to avoid divergent national approaches
  • Revise and update cement and concrete testing standards to create a level playing field

Unlock financing and public funding to support the uptake of low-carbon cement and concrete

  • Establish material innovation and clinker substitution as priorities across EU funding programmes
  • Consider the needs of cleantech start-ups and scale-ups across all EU innovation and finance policies to ensure access to finance
  • Introduce mechanisms to make debt financing available at no premium

Material innovation and the creation of markets

  • Break down barriers to supply new low-carbon cement and concrete products
  • Stimulate innovation towards low-carbon solutions
  • Support uptake of low-carbon cement and concrete in key public and private markets
  • Foster resource-efficient design, use, and governance of concrete assets and circularity at the end of life

Existing alternative solutions

Replace clinker

We need to ensure both standards and policies foster innovations for cement decarbonisation. Ordinary Portland cement clinker is far from irreplaceable - safe and cost-effective low-carbon solutions exist and can be scaled up rapidly.

Natural pozzolanic materials

Natural pozzolanic materials

Found in large volumes, especially in specific geographical locations (e.g. volcanic regions), and their processing is straightforward.

Industrial by-products

Industrial by-products

While traditional clinker substitutes such as fly ashes or GGBS are still highly relevant, they are complemented with a growing number of other substitutes, including EAF slags, non-ferro slags and ground glass.

Calcined clays

Calcined clays

Very promising, in particular in areas with large ceramics industries and existing stockpiles of suitable clays.

Recycled construction materials

Recycled construction materials

Recent improvements in crushing, sieving and activation technologies allow for the recycling of high levels of (un)bound cement particles.

Alternative binders

Alternative binders

Alternative binders, including geopolymers and biobased solutions, replace the need for Portland clinker altogether, relying on different set of raw materials and binding chemistries.

To help achieve the 2040 goal, and reach long-term sustainability far beyond 2050, we foresee the following milestones:


Performance-based standards and ambitious policy framework in place to enable and accelerate material innovation and the uptake of low carbon cement and concrete.


A zero cement and concrete emissions value chain is in place in Europe, building upon material innovation and political leadership.


Carbon and climate neutrality have been sustained through the 2040s and become the global norm. A new cement and concrete value chain is fully established based on low-carbon cements and concrete.

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The Alliance for Low-Carbon Cement and Concrete is ready to take on the challenge of increasing the rollout of existing solutions!

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Our Alliance aims to shape the policy, legislative, standardisation, and financing foundations necessary to make low-carbon cement and concrete the norm.