Breaking down barriers - a sustainable transitionfor cement through collaboration with the construction sector
Abstract: Society is on an unsustainable course, predicted to reach a tipping point where greenhouse gas emissions cause irreversible consequences. The cement industry is estimated to be responsible for 7% of the global CO2 emissions, but remains an essential part of building safe and affordable infrastructure for an urbanising and growing population. It is imperative that the industry urgently transitions to a more sustainable pathway. As a key stakeholder, the construction industry could play a role in this. This paper looks at the sustainability of the cement production process from a systems perspective and how the construction industry can help leverage change, using the FSSD and Meadows’ (1999) leverage points as a framework. An analysis of the cement production method against the misalignments with the FSSD Sustainability Principles was performed, as well as a document content analysis of the WBCSD 2018 roadmap for the cement industry. We also conducted 9 semi-structured interviews with experts in the cement and construction industry. Results showed that while CO2 emissions are the biggest challenge for the industry, change will not happen fast enough while a number of structural barriers prevent this. These barriers, their potential solutions and leverage points within the construction industry are discussed.
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