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Joint statement: Canada's Cement Industry and the Government of Canada announce a partnership to establish Canada as a global leader in low-carbon cement and to achieve net-zero carbon concrete

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Cement Association of Canada (CAC) Chair, Marie Glenn and Michael McSweeney, President and CEO, affirm the partnership between the Government of Canada and Canada's cement sector to support the development and implementation of a 'Roadmap to Net-Zero-Carbon Concrete'. This work will provide Canadian cement and concrete industry with the technologies, tools and policy needed to achieve net-zero carbon concrete by 2050.

This roadmap, when complete in December 2021, is consistent with goals of Canada's strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and Healthy Economy, as well as Budget 2021, which identify the cement sector as a key contributor to Canada's net-zero future.

With a potential to reduce over 15 megatonnes of GHGs cumulatively by 2030, and then ongoing reductions of over 4 megatonnes annually, the objectives of this partnership are to position Canada's cement and concrete industry as a competitive global leader in the production of, and technologies related to low-carbon cement and concrete. This partnership could become a catalyst for change by:

The Government, through its Greening Government Strategy, is also committed to buying lower carbon building materials, including concrete, and enhancing Canada's capacity to deliver low-carbon cement and concrete solutions to market.

Industry-Government Working Group

This partnership will establish an Industry-Government Working Group, led by the Cement Association of Canada (CAC), the National Research Council (NRC), and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), in collaboration with Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED). The partnership provides the Government of Canada an opportunity to champion the decarbonization of the cement and concrete sector as well as demonstrates its commitment to removing GHG emissions from the environment and explore and action new and innovative economic opportunities across the value chain. The working group will be asked to:

It is expected that the NRC will lead the collaborative technical activities with other government departments (OGDs).

Planned Activities

The efforts of the working group will be directed towards a set of defined activities with measurable outcomes. The initial set of planned activities include the following:

Priority Outcomes

With a potential to reduce 15 megatonnes of GHGs cumulatively by 2030, and then ongoing reductions of over 4 megatonnes annually, together the Government of Canada and the CAC will pursue these stated objectives, work program and desired outcomes. Reports to Canadians will be posted regularly, including annual GHG reduction reports, to inform Canadians of progress made towards key milestones.

Given the urgency of demonstrating measurable reductions in GHGs across the Canadian economy, the working group will report to the Minister regularly on progress in the implementation of the work program and yearly on progress toward GHG reduction milestones, subject to the collection of data as described above.

Initial priorities:

Background Information

Background Information
Building Material Category Number of Operating Plants Employment Annual Production Economic Contribution
Cement 14 158,000 (direct and indirect jobs) 13 million tonnes (2014) $1.64 billion (2014 value)

Concrete is an indispensable construction material used in the building sector. It is essentially composed of a cementitious material, aggregates, and water, to which admixtures can be sometimes added to confer specific properties to the concrete. Cement is one of the main binders used for concrete production. Concrete is obtained by mixing cement (and possibly supplementary cementitious materials), fine and coarse aggregates (e.g.: sand, gravel and recycled concrete) and water. There are three principal concrete product categories: ready-mix concrete, precast concrete products, and concrete masonry units (cement blocks).

In Canada, concrete is one the most widely used construction materials with annual production rate of 60 million tonnes while cement, one of the main concrete components, has a production rate of 14 million tonnes respectively. In 2017, 1.5% (10.8MT) of Canada's GHG emissions was from concrete alone. It is estimated that the cement/concrete industry provides around 158,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada. The value of Canada's cement production is around $1.64 billion (2014 value).

Cement is one of the two largest sources of industrial sector emissions in the world with 26% of all industrial CO2 emissions in 2019. The production of Canadian cement and concrete products resulted in the emission of 11,689 kilo tones of GHGs in 2008. Cement production is identified worldwide as a major GHG source (1.5% annually in Canada and 7% worldwide).

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