The Indian cement industry could nearly half its CO2 emissions by 2050, says a new technological report

India’s fast-growing cement industry can reduce its carbon emissions by nearly half by the middle of the century, according to a technology roadmap issued recently by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). 

Faced with massive infrastructure and housing requirements, India is the world‘s fastest growing cement market — and will likely remain in that position for the foreseeable future. The new report ‘Technology Roadmap: Low-Carbon Technology for the Indian Cement Industry’ outlines a way for the Indian cement industry to reduce its CO2 emissions in 2050 by at least 210 MT compared to a business-as-usual scenario.

The savings roughly equal the total CO2 emissions of Thailand in 2009. This transition will also have energy benefits, reducing energy consumption by at least 275 petajoules, which is as much as the current industry energy consumption of Singapore or Norway or Philippines. 

The Indian cement industry has made a strong effort to reduce its carbon footprint. The milestones set out in this roadmap would enhance the country‘s energy security by limiting the growth in energy consumption, and would further reduce the direct CO2 emissions intensity by about 45 per cent from current levels by 2050. The vision laid out in the roadmap is achievable; however the targeted reductions are ambitious. Decisive action by all stakeholders is critical to realise the vision: to achieve the proposed levels of efficiency improvements and emissions reduction, the government and industry must join hands to take collaborative actions in creating an investment climate that will stimulate the scale-up of financing required. 

The roadmap development was spear-headed by the three co-chair companies, ACC, Shree Cement and Ultra Tech, who committed extensive resources and expertise from across their companies to lead the project. They are supported by the wider working group from the other cement sustainability initiative (CSI) companies in India. The initiative, supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), was developed in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCB).

The India roadmap has been developed collaboratively by the WBCSD’s CSI and the IEA. It has been led by CSI member companies in India which represent around 60 per cent of the country‘s cement production. The IEA has brought expertise in data analysis and modelling, and roadmap development. Technical consultancy was provided by the CII and National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCB). IFC supported the development of technical papers on reduction of greenhouse gas emission. These are customised to the Indian cement industry.