Net zero concrete programme launched by Climate Group and global built environment industry | Climate Group Skip to main content
Concrete being poured by construction workers

Net zero concrete programme launched by Climate Group and global built environment industry

5 July 2022, 12:00 BST 17 min read

5 July 2022, London – Today international non-profit Climate Group, in partnership with World GBC and WBCSD, launches ConcreteZero, with a goal of 100% net zero concrete by 2050. 17 pioneering businesses have made the public commitment which includes ambitious short-term commitments to use 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

Concrete production contributes to 8% of global annual carbon emissions. With the size of Paris being built globally every single week for the next 40 years, the demand for concrete is significant. The concrete industry becoming net zero is vital to halving carbon emissions by 2030 and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C.

The founding ConcreteZero members are signalling to the industry the scale of demand for sustainably produced and sourced concrete. But to accelerate progress, businesses need a globally agreed definition on what is considered net zero and low emission concrete. ConcreteZero members are breaking down this barrier by making a commitment to measure and report on the carbon emissions associated with the concrete they use. This data will enable the industry to set a global standard of what low emission and net zero concrete is, bringing a clear signal to suppliers and policymakers.  

Jen Carson, Head of Industry of Climate Group, said: “It’s time for concrete targets to reduce carbon emissions in years not decades. ConcreteZero is signalling to the industry that the biggest buyers want the industry to innovate and act now on emissions. Concrete and steel emit as much as all road transport globally, and demand is going up. We won’t address the climate crisis without big bold measures on industry.”

Concrete, a mix of cement, gravel, sand and water, is a final consumer product. The chemical process used to make traditional limestone cement is very energy intensive, emitting significant levels of CO2. Inclusion of cement in the concrete mix drastically increases the level of carbon emissions associated with the end product. By focusing on concrete, Climate Group is maximising all the opportunities in the production of concrete, to cut carbon emissions.

ConcreteZero builds on Climate Group’s highly successful demand-side climate initiatives which already have the scale of a G7 country on renewable electricity and 5 million electric vehicles.

ConcreteZero founding members include:

  • Buro Happold- integrated consultancy of engineers, consultants and advisers
  • Byrne Bros- UK’s premier concrete frame contractors
  • Canary Wharf Group- commercial and residential property developer, owner and manager
  • The Carey Group – construction business that operates across the UK and Ireland
  • Clancy Group- one of the largest privately owned construction firms in the UK
  • Grimshaw Architects- architects and designers
  • Grosvenor- international property developer, manager and investor
  • Joseph Homes- multi-award-winning property developer
  • Laing O’Rourke- international engineering and construction company
  • Mace- global consultancy and construction firm
  • Morrisroe- UK’s leading concrete specialists
  • Multiplex Construction Europe- premier construction company
  • Ramboll- global engineering, architecture and consultancy company
  • Skanska UK- one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups
  • Thornton Tomasetti- leading global scientific and engineering consulting firm 
  • Wilmott Dixon- UK’s leading independent construction and property services
  • WSP- plan, design and manager long lasting engineering solutions

Jonathan Roynon, Technical Director of Buro Happold said: Concrete is likely to remain a key material in the delivery of buildings, and we need to find ways to drive down its embodied carbon to zero. To achieve this, we must support the supply chain. The ConcreteZero initiative is a great way to consolidate and drive the market demand, providing an incentive to reduce concrete’s embodied carbon with far reaching benefits.”

Michael Byrne, CEO of Byrne Bros said: “With more than 50 years’ experience of delivering concrete structures, we are acutely aware of the negative environmental impact of our sector. Our extensive trials and use of lower carbon concrete technologies has provided us with expertise to share, and we are proud to be amongst the pioneers in this area.”

Shobi Khan, CEO of Canary Wharf Group said:Canary Wharf Group is determined to help drive progress to decarbonise concrete as fast as we can. We know that this can only be achieved in a Paris-aligned timeframe through deliberate and intense collaboration, so we’re delighted to be a founding member of ConcreteZero. The strategy and targets announced today will build on the progress we’ve made to date, bring us closer to CWG’s own ambition of achieving net zero by 2030, and accelerate the industry’s transition to net zero concrete by 2050.”

Anna Baker Head of Sustainability of Carey Group said: “As the UKs leading specialist concrete contractor and in line with our vision ‘to be the most trusted and socially responsible construction company, that people are proud to work with’ it was natural fit for us to become a founding partner of ConcreteZero. This commitment goes hand in hand with our Net zero carbon ambitions and will support us in the delivery of our recently validated science based carbon targets”.

Ronan Clancy, Executive Director of Clancy Group said: “Clancy is delighted to sign up as a founding signatory to the Concrete Zero programme. We are committed to improving our processes and procurement to drive a real step change in reducing our impact on the environment and communities we operate in. Given the impacts of materials and products that we use in our industry it is vital that we communicate to our supply chain that we want to see change and we can do this by sending strong demand signals.”

Paul Toyne, Sustainability Leader of Grimshaw said: Grimshaw has committed to net zero carbon-ready designs for all our building and infrastructure projects. This action can only be delivered in collaboration with our design supply chain and, as part of that, the selection of materials which reduce embodied carbon is critical. Our support of ConcreteZero is a step towards making our and the industry’s commitments real: advocating for innovation and ambition for us to collectively meet carbon targets and tackle the climate challenge.”

James Ennis, Director of Project Management, Grosvenor said: “We are delighted to be a founding member of ConcreteZero and work with our partners towards a net-zero concrete future. As part of our commitment to be net zero by 2030, we are transforming every element of our business, including our approach to construction. Today’s announcement builds on our membership of SteelZero and the work we are doing with our supply chain to drive down embodied carbon across our developments.”

Paul Dipino, Chief Innovation Officer of Joseph Homes said: "We are excited to join a group working to make concrete (the planet's most consumed material), get to Net Zero and beyond. Ultimately success will only come with solutions that are cost-effective in all world markets, and we must show leadership and commitment to innovate and drive change to make this happen."

Rossella Nicolin, Head of Sustainability for Europe at Laing O’Rourke said: “We are proud to be one of the founding signatories to the Climate Group’s ConcreteZero commitment and to help lead the industry transition to net zero. Our industry needs to move with greater urgency, and by working together we can more effectively drive global demand for low carbon concrete.  We look forward to working with our clients, partners and supply chain delivering sustainable solutions to push this agenda forward.”

James Low, Global Head of Responsible Business of Mace said: “Zero carbon concrete is an essential part of our journey to a truly sustainable built environment, and becoming a founding member of ConcreteZero provides Mace with a valuable platform to collaborate, share knowledge, positively influence and drive meaningful change, and to accelerate our response to the climate emergency.”

Callum Tuckett, Managing Director of Multiplex said: “Multiplex is extremely proud to be a founding member of ConcreteZero. The commitment aligns with our business’s data-driven approach to finding solutions and networks that support our own Net Zero pathway. ConcreteZero will help galvanise the sector’s decarbonisation efforts in a cohesive and practical manner and we are ready to accelerate the rate of change alongside our suppliers and the wider industry”

Dan Bannister, Group HSSQ Director, Morrisroe Group, said: “At Morrisroe we are very proud to be a founding member of ConcreteZero. We understand that decarbonising construction, and in particular the concrete sector is a massive challenge that will require sustained effort and collaboration. We are fully committed to embracing our corporate responsibility and are very excited to be part of this initiative and support this huge step towards to achieving Net Zero”.

Philippa Spence, Managing Director of Ramboll UK said: “This fantastic initiative is a very important and vital step in the decarbonisation of our built environment. The impetus to deliver an impact fast, through collective industry effort and baseline concrete carbon reporting will prove essential for our net zero future.”

Peter DiMaggio, Co-CEO, Thornton Tomasetti, said: “With buildings accounting for nearly 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, those of us in the architecture, engineering and construction industry need to focus on ways of mitigating the impact our work has on the environment. At Thornton Tomasetti, we have a longstanding commitment to sustainability and have been collecting embodied carbon data on our projects for more than a decade. ConcreteZero gives us a framework to come together as an industry to develop innovative low carbon specification and procurement strategies as well as create opportunities to build resilient and future-proof buildings.”

Michael Cross, Head of Partnerships and Innovation, Willmott Dixon said: “ConcreteZero aligns with Willmott Dixon’s ambition to reduce embodied carbon, a key aim of our Now or Never Net Zero strategy. This includes an ambition to deliver all buildings with net zero embodied carbon by 2040. But we can’t do this alone. ConcreteZero will work to improve our industry’s approach to embodied carbon, through setting industry-level targets and creating a reporting standard so that we can measure change.“

Kamran Moazami, Managing Director for Property & Buildings at WSP, said: “As organisations with the ability to effect real change, we must all think to the future in the way we design, build and operate our built assets. We must move quicker to address the built environment’s contribution to GHG emissions as climate change is already impacting the way we live and will only accelerate.”

– ENDS –

 

Contact 

For any media enquiries, including interview requests, please contact: Hannah Fairley, Senior Communications Officer: hfairley@theclimategroup.org

Notes to Editors

About Climate Group   

Climate Group drives climate action. Fast. Our goal is a world of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with greater prosperity for all. We focus on systems with the highest emissions and where our networks have the greatest opportunity to drive change. We do this by building large and influential networks and holding organisations accountable, turning their commitments into action. We share what we achieve together to show more organisations what they could do. We are an international non-profit organisation, founded in 2004, with offices in London, New Delhi and New York. We are proud to be part of the We Mean Business coalition. Follow us on Twitter @ClimateGroup.   

About ConcreteZero

ConcreteZero is a global initiative that brings together pioneering organisations to create a market for net zero concrete. Led by international non-profit Climate Group, in partnership with World GBC and WBCSD, businesses that join ConcreteZero commit to using 100% net zero concrete by 2050, with two ambitious 2025 and 2030 commitments that set a clear pathway to net zero. By harnessing our member’s collective purchasing power and influence, ConcreteZero sends a strong demand signal to shift global markets, investment and policies towards the sustainable production and sourcing of concrete. #ConcreteZero

About Buro Happold

Buro Happold is an international, integrated consultancy of engineers, consultants and advisers, with a presence in 31 locations worldwide, over 70 partners and 2,200 employees. For over 45 years Buro Happold has built a world-class reputation for delivering creative, value-led solutions for an ever-challenging world. Always driven by guiding principles of mutual respect and working collaboratively with clients, Buro Happold values sustainability and equity above all else, creating better outcomes for clients and communities.

About Byrne Bros

Byrne Bros is a leading specialist concrete contractor with more than 50 years’ industry experience. We work across numerous sectors including nuclear, infrastructure, high rise developments, precast solutions, complex top-down basements, and bespoke architectural concrete.

As industry experts we are aware of the impact of the embodied CO2e of our main construction material, concrete. We have been trialling, promoting, and using novel concretes since 2016 and continue to develop viable CO2e options for our clients. We can offer a suite of integrated solutions to satisfy project requirements and client aspirations. We also actively monitor performance to manage CO2e alongside our typical operational targets to evaluate performance and progress innovation.

About Canary Wharf Group

Canary Wharf Group (CWG) is the developer of the largest urban regeneration project in Europe. CWG develops, manages and currently owns interests in approximately 9 million square feet of mixed-use space and over 1,100 Build to Rent apartments. 

CWG is the largest sustainable developer in the UK and also excels operationally as it has purchased 100% electricity from renewable sources since 2012 and sent zero waste to landfill since 2009. 

CWG has created a 24/7 city where people can live, work and thrive on the Canary Wharf estate and enjoy all the benefits: great transport links, access to green spaces and waterside living; and a wide range of amenities including an award-winning arts and events programme. Canary Wharf’s retail offering comprises over 300 shops, including grocery stores, pharmacies, health clubs, bars and restaurants, all within 15 minutes’ walk. 

The Company’s current £2bn construction activity and pipeline includes more than 500k square feet NIA of commercial properties and over 2,300 new homes for sale and rent.

Website: www.canarywharf.com

LinkedIn: @CanaryWharfGroup

Instagram: @canarywharflondon @eastwintergarden @canarywharfworks

Twitter: @YourCanaryWharf; @CanaryWharfGrp @Level39CW, @Wood_Wharf

About Careys

Our vision is to be the most trusted and socially responsible construction company, that people are proud to work with.  Careys is a leading family-owned construction business, operating across the UK and Ireland. Formed in 1969 by the three Carey brothers, we deliver a range of specialist civil engineering services across multiple sectors:

- Development of design, digital and construction engineering solutions

- Delivery of demolition, cut and carve and façade retention

- Site remediation and enabling works

- Provision of a project’s infrastructure and all civil engineering elements

- Construction of complex basements, substructures and concrete superstructures

- Creation of public realms and provision of hard landscaping 

Our values of care, humility, passion and authenticity are made clear from the way that we work, day-in, day out to deliver exceptional construction services for our clients.

About Clancy Group

Clancy builds and maintains smarter, greener utility networks that are fit for the future. 

Working across major frameworks and alliances in wate and energy, as well as supporting ground-breaking infrastructure programmes, the business is one of the UK’s largest privately owned, independent contractors – directly employing, training and supporting 2,300 people across a network of eight UK offices.

With a 60-year track record in technical expertise and innovation, Clancy is committed to continual investment in better tools and ways of working – making lives better for growing families up and down the UK.

theclancygroup.co.uk

About Grimshaw

Grimshaw is an international architectural practice delivering buildings, infrastructure and places that are underpinned by the principles of humane, enduring, sustainable design. With offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Dubai, Melbourne and Sydney, Grimshaw employs over 600 staff. The practice’s international portfolio covers all major sectors and has been honoured with over 200 international design awards.

About Grosvenor 

Grosvenor is a property developer, manager and investor – we create great places where communities, business and nature thrive.

In London’s West End, we support nearly 1,000 businesses and thousands of residents and workers each day.  We also invest in new neighbourhoods elsewhere in London, Liverpool and across the South of England. 

With a track record of over 340 years, we are part of an international property company improving property and places across many of the world’s leading cities, promoting sustainability within the built environment and enhancing the wellbeing of our customers and communities.  

We are a values-led organisation which represents the Grosvenor family. Our work in property, alongside Grosvenor’s other activities in food and agtech, rural estate management and support for philanthropic initiatives, shares a common purpose - to deliver lasting commercial, social and environmental benefit -  addressing today’s needs while taking responsibility for those of future generations.  

Thinking long term allows us to give equal weight to the environmental, social and commercial impact of everything that we do.

About Joseph Homes

The way we see it, homes should make life better. Not only for the people who live in them but for the people who build them too. And the communities they’re built in. And, well, for the world as a whole. We think innovatively, sustainably, and progressively to create beautiful homes, spaces, and places.  

We’re constantly looking for ways to make life better, to help people live well. And in pursuit of our LIVE WELL® Manifesto, we’re constantly pushing boundaries to build better homes and a better world.

It's not just words either; we're doing it. We’re the first UK Housebuilder to achieve B Corp status and became a signatory of the World Green Building Councils, Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, with a mission to ensure that all the buildings we own, occupy, and develop will be energy positive by 2025.

We're a small team with big energy and even bigger ambitions to drive change in our industry.

About Laing O’Rourke
Laing O’Rourke is an international design, engineering and construction company delivering state-of-the-art infrastructure and buildings projects for clients in the UK, Middle East and Australia.

Certainty, reliability and security are what our client’s want, and we have more than 150 years of experience delivering them.

Our highly-trained and committed people understand the challenges of modern construction, the stakeholders involved, and how to work collaboratively to manage the process and achieve our client’s aims.

We combine this expertise with purposeful technology, using innovations like digital engineering and AI to yield powerful results.

www.laingorourke.com @laing_orourke

About Mace

Mace is a global company of experts in shaping and making the built environment. It provides development, consulting, construction and operations services for many of the world’s most inspiring building and infrastructure projects and programmes – from Olympic parks and iconic skyscrapers to state-of-the-art data centres, schools, hospitals and homes.

The privately-owned company, headquartered in London, UK, has an annual turnover of £1.8 billion. Over 30 years, its growth has been fuelled by an adventurous spirit and the relentless pursuit of a better way. Today, the company employs over 6,000 people across five global hubs in Europe, Middle East and North Africa, the Americas, Sub Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific.

Mace is driven by its purpose to redefine the boundaries of ambition, and its vision of leading the way to a more connected, resilient and sustainable world.

Find out more at www.macegroup.com

About Morrisroe Group

At the core of Morrisroe Group, A J Morrisroe + Sons is one of the UK’s leading concrete specialists. Nearly 40 years of experience in this complex and specialist field has resulted in our developing an extensive project portfolio including some of the most prestigious schemes in London. We can be relied on to construct concrete substructures and superstructures to the highest standards of Health & Safety, Quality and Sustainability on time and to budget, no matter how technically demanding or logistically complicated.

About Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd

Multiplex is a leading international contractor with a focus on sustainable growth and a presence in Europe, Canada, the Middle East and Australia. They have been bringing large-scale, complex structures to life for over 50 years. Established in the United Kingdom in 1999, Multiplex has a proven track record of delivering high quality, iconic projects. They have built a reputation in the marketplace for their collaborative, flexible approach – starting with the end in mind, working in partnership with their clients, and maintaining a shared focus on the final goal. Their current workbook across a diverse range of sectors reflects their strong reputation, which has resulted in a high proportion of repeat business. Multiplex is backed by the financial stability and global relationships of their parent company, Brookfield, which supports their continued growth.

www.multiplex.global

About Ramboll

Ramboll is a global architecture, engineering and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945.

Our 16,500 experts create sustainable solutions across Buildings, Transport, Energy, Environment & Health, Water, Management Consulting and Architecture & Landscape.

Across the world, Ramboll combines local experience with a global knowledge base to create sustainable cities and societies. We combine insights with the power to drive positive change for our clients, in the form of ideas that can be realised and implemented.

We call it: Bright ideas. Sustainable change.

Visit us at ramboll.com

About Skanska

Skanska Group uses knowledge and foresight to shape the way people live, work and connect. More than 135 years in the making, we’re one of the world’s largest development and construction companies, with 2021 revenue totalling SEK 148 billion (around £12.5 billion). We operate across select markets in the Nordics, Europe and the United States.  

Together with our customers and the collective expertise of our 30,000 teammates, we create innovative and sustainable solutions that support healthy living beyond our lifetime. 

Skanska in the UK 

Established in the UK in 2000, Skanska has more than 3,300 local experts delivering projects across sectors including real estate, defence, education, highways, rail and water. Our work today includes: 

  • Connecting communities across the UK, with major highways improvement schemes including A428 and M42 Junction 6 
  • Improving the rail network by building a low-carbon, high-capacity railway that increases reliability and enables faster journeys, with the London tunnels section of the UK’s new high-speed railway, HS2 
  • Creating inspiring places to work including Blossom Street in London and Unity Place in Swindon 
  • Taking care of critical facilities for major organisations, including the Ministry of Defence and City of Edinburgh Council 
  • Providing sustainable homes for the many, with developments in Bristol and Worthing. (Delivered by BoKlok, a 50/50 joint venture with IKEA) 

About Thornton Tomasetti

Thornton Tomasetti applies engineering and scientific principles to solve the world’s challenges – starting with yours. An independent organization of creative thinkers and innovative doers collaborating from offices worldwide, our mission is to bring our clients’ ideas to life and, in the process, lay the groundwork for a better, more resilient future. For more information visit www.ThorntonTomasetti.com or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo and YouTube.

About Willmott Dixon 

Headquartered in Letchworth Garden City, Willmott Dixon is a privately-owned contracting and interior fit-out group. Founded in 1852, we are dedicated to leaving a positive legacy in our communities and environment and in 2018 were one of only six companies to receive a Queen's Award for Enterprise in the promoting opportunity through social mobility category. Our goal is to become a net zero carbon company by 2030, with all buildings delivered after this date also being net zero. As the UK’s highest ranked contractor in the FT’s Diversity Leaders list in 2019 and 2020, we also aim to achieve gender parity across all levels of the workforce by 2030.

We are passionate about our purpose: to deliver brilliant buildings, transform lives, strengthen communities and enhance the environment so our world is fit for future generations.

About WSP

WSP is a leading engineering professional services consulting firm which supports significant projects in both the built and natural environments. We provide engineering and design services to public and private sector clients in the transportation and infrastructure, property and buildings, earth and environment, power and energy, resources and industry sectors, as well as a strategic advisory offering.

We have more than 50 offices across the UK and Ireland. Our team of over 7,000 technical specialists and strategic advisers in the UK is part of a talented family of more than 55,000 global changemakers, transforming what’s possible to build a smarter, greener future for all.  Together, we deliver innovative solutions to solve complex problems for our clients and the communities we serve, meeting both the needs of today and addressing the challenges of tomorrow.

WSP takes pride in leading the way we collectively tackle the climate emergency and in October 2020 we announced our commitment to halve the carbon footprint of all designs and advice provided to clients by 2030, a first in the engineering consultancy sector. Having since aligned our carbon reduction targets with the SBTI’s science-based Net-Zero Standard, we will achieve carbon neutrality in our UK operations in 2025[1]. Globally WSP has committed to achieving net zero emissions across its value chain by 2040.

[1] Including all Scope 1 and 2 emissions and in parallel with further Scope 3 emissions reductions.