Government of Canada and Cement Association of Canada announce partnership to advance global leadership in low-carbon concrete production
Resulting roadmap will help the sector reach net-zero carbon concrete by 2050
May 31, 2021 – Shawinigan, Quebec
Science, research and innovation are playing a key role in Canada’s move toward a cleaner and stronger economy and in our fight against climate change. Working with industry—including the cement and concrete sector—is critical to creating economic opportunities for Canadians, growing our leadership in clean technologies and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; Marie Glenn, Chair of the Cement Association of Canada (CAC); and Michael McSweeney, President and CEO of the CAC, issued a joint statement by the Government of Canada and the Canadian cement sector to support a roadmap to net-zero carbon concrete. This partnership and the resulting roadmap will position Canada’s cement and concrete industry to become a global leader in low-carbon cement and concrete production and related clean technologies.
The roadmap will provide Canadian industry with guidance on technologies, tools and policies needed to reach net‑zero carbon concrete by 2050, including on:
- supporting the development of a low-carbon emissions supply chain in Canada and beyond through a data strategy, industrial standards, procurement and promotion;
- coordinating across the sector and government on high-potential research and investments to develop new technologies, products and processes that reduce the amount of carbon released in the production of cement and concrete; and
- engaging with federal, provincial and territorial partners, manufacturers, providers of cleantech solutions, and other stakeholders to fulfil the vision of global leadership in low-carbon cement manufacturing toward the goal of net-zero carbon concrete. This will be supported by tools and policies, such as Canada’s strengthened climate plan, the Clean Technology Data Strategy and new measures proposed in Budget 2021.
The work of this partnership will align with, and inform, the objective of the Greening Government Strategy: having the Government of Canada transition to net-zero carbon and climate-resilient operations.
In keeping with the Greening Government Strategy, the government is showing leadership on the procurement of low‑carbon building materials, including cement and concrete products. By buying these products, the government will support their availability, thus strengthening green supply chains and improving Canada’s capacity to bring low-carbon concrete solutions to market.
This initiative aligns with the goals of Canada’s strengthened climate plan—“A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy”—as well as Budget 2021, both of which identify the decarbonization of Canada’s cement and concrete sector as a way to secure our clean industrial advantage and clean-growth future.
“Innovation, science and technology are providing solutions to many of the challenging issues we face today. Through this partnership with the Cement Association of Canada, we are helping to make Canada a global leader in green concrete. We will work with the cement and concrete sector to take on a leadership role in the fight against climate change, while creating good jobs and driving Canada’s economic recovery.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“The government is doing its part to find ways to build a more resilient future that will lead to a safer, cleaner world. Through the Greening Government Strategy, the government has targeted a 30% reduction in embodied carbon for structural materials in major construction projects. Green procurement for building materials like cement will help us lower emissions and meet our federal goal of net zero by 2050.”
- The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board
“The Canadian cement and concrete industry has consistently supported strong action on climate change. We proactively champion not only innovation in the manufacturing of cement and concrete but also innovative partnerships to advance the policy solutions needed to meet Canada’s climate objectives. We are delighted to announce today a strengthened partnership with the Government of Canada to accelerate the decarbonization of our sector and enhance our capacity to deliver the durable, resilient, safe and zero-carbon buildings and infrastructure of the future.”
- Marie Glenn, Chair, Cement Association of Canada
“Cement and concrete have stood the test of time, laying a literal foundation upon which our communities have grown and prospered. But now our industry must face society’s greatest challenge: climate change. With Canada forecasted to use at least 55 million tons of cement over the next five years, this collaboration with Minister Champagne and his team is a significant step forward, helping to position Canada as a global leader by supporting the technology, tools and policies needed to realize our ambition of net-zero concrete by 2050.”
- Michael McSweeney, President and CEO, Cement Association of Canada
“The National Research Council of Canada is committed to supporting the Canadian construction industry’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to working with our partners on this roadmap to net-zero carbon cement and concrete through our research and development expertise.”
- Mitch Davies, President, National Research Council of Canada
“Standards are critical to ensuring Canada has the tools to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Standards Council of Canada, in collaboration with our vast network of partners, is committed to ensuring that the concrete industry is supported by codes and standards needed to foster innovation and move toward net zero. We are eager to work with our government partners to ensure that the latest state-of-the-art research and approaches are backed by standards.”
- Chantal Guay, CEO, Standards Council of Canada
As part of this partnership, an industry-government working group will be established to support the decarbonization of the sector. It will be led by the Cement Association of Canada, the National Research Council of Canada and the Standards Council of Canada, in collaboration with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Canada has recognized leadership in technologies that can significantly reduce GHGs in the concrete and cement sector such as carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS), alternative fuels and energy efficiency.
- CarbonCure Technologies, a Carbon XPRIZE winner and Global Cleantech 100 recipient, has developed a unique technology to permanently store carbon in concrete.
- British Columbia–based Svante is a recognized leader in carbon capture technology that is partnering with industry, including cement producers, to develop cost-competitive commercial-scale solutions to trap carbon produced from industrial flue gas emissions.
Building on recent investments in climate action and clean technology, Budget 2021 proposes to provide $17.6 billion toward a green recovery that creates well-paying middle-class jobs, builds a clean economy and protects against climate change.
The cement and concrete industry provides an estimated 158,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada. Cement production in Canada was valued at more than $1.6 billion in 2014.
Cement production is one of the largest sources of industrial sector emissions in the world, accounting for 7% of all industrial CO2 emissions in 2019.
Fulfilling the objectives of the roadmap to reach net-zero carbon concrete could result in the cumulative reduction of more than 15 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 2030 and then ongoing reductions of more than four megatonnes annually.
Clean technologies contributed more than $28.8 billion to the Canadian economy in 2019, including the export of about $7.05 billion worth of clean technology goods and services.
Cleantech offers significant benefits to Canadians, from reduced electricity costs to clean air to more than 211,000 well-paying jobs.
Women accounted for 41% of all jobs in the cleantech sector. Women and Indigenous peoples in cleantech were also compensated better on average than in the general workforce. Moreover, Indigenous peoples are better represented in cleantech compared to the economy-wide average.
The Government of Canada’s Centre for Greening Government supports climate action and sustainability in government operations. The mandate of the centre is to provide government-wide leadership toward net-zero, climate-resilient and green Government of Canada operations.
The Greening Government Strategy supports the Government’s commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and includes an interim target of a 40% reduction by 2025 for federal facilities and the federal conventional fleet.
- Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience
- Clean technology: Canada's clean technology plan, investments and innovations for a clean growth future
- A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy: Canada's strengthened climate plan to create jobs and support people, communities and the planet
- Greening Government Strategy: A Government of Canada Directive
- Greening government
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Director of Communications
Cement Association of Canada
Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA
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