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Sweden’s national strategy for a carbon-neutral cement and concrete industry now being established

23 May 2019, 14:41

Every year, 30 billion tonnes of concrete are used across the world, contributing to about 6% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. RISE is now bringing together the entire construction sector to lead the work to develop a national strategy for a carbon-neutral cement and concrete industry. The goal is for carbon-neutral concrete to be on the market by 2030 and used everywhere in Sweden by 2045.

“The need for cooperation among industry, academia, society and politics is central to the transition towards a sustainable society. The project will create the right conditions for knowledge sharing, dialogue and consensus with relevant interest groups and actors from the surrounding community, as well as develop a concrete action plan,” says Katarina Malaga, Project Manager from RISE.  

Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free countries in the world and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. The rate of transition will therefore increase and actively contribute to radically reducing both national and international greenhouse gas emissions. This is critical to keeping the planet’s temperature rise below two degrees. Within the framework of the Fossil-Free Sweden initiative, several industries have developed roadmaps for fossil-free competitiveness. The roadmaps have attracted a great deal of attention and are followed with interest by industry as well as politicians and social actors internationally.

“Cement and concrete are, and will be, crucial in the construction of a sustainable society, as we need robust building materials with a long lifespan. The cement industry in Sweden is actively working to reduce its carbon footprint and we are following the initiatives being implemented in other countries. Much of the technology to achieve carbon neutrality already exists today. What is needed now is cooperation, political will and purposeful efforts. Here, the collaboration project through RISE will play an important role,” says Magnus Ohlsson, CEO of Cementa.

The Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning estimates that Sweden needs about 600,000 new homes by 2025, and major infrastructure projects are being carried out all over the country. Construction investments account for about 10 percent of Sweden’s GDP. In order for the Swedish cement and concrete industries to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and maintain strong industrial production, a broad and anchored transition is required.

“In order for climate-optimised concrete to gain market share, we need cooperation with construction companies, private and public clients, architects and designers so that the new concrete will be an obvious choice for future projects,” says Peter Utgenannt, Assistant Project Manager at RISE.

“In recent years, we have taken several steps in the work on climate-optimised concrete, but, to take the big step towards carbon-neutral concrete, action must be taken on several fronts and by all operators in the construction process, and major technological leaps will be required. The project is unique in that it has brought together researchers and operators from throughout the building process value chain. This means that the project is well anchored and can have a great impact,” says Ingemar Löfgren, Head of R&D at Thomas Concrete Group.

The project is funded by Vinnova. In addition to RISE, the project consists of Cementa, Thomas Concrete Group, Swerock, Svensk betong, Skanska, the Swedish Transport Administration, and ELU.

For more information please contact:

Katarina Malaga, Project Manager at RISE
+46 (0)10 516 6862, katarina.malaga@ri.se