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New partnership agreed between the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the GCCA to drive industry decarbonization around the globe

19 June 2024


A ground-breaking agreement has been signed by the UN’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) to work together on decarbonizing the cement and concrete industry, with a strong focus on the Global South.

UNIDO supports its 172 Member States with economic and industrial development, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With its long-standing experience in renewable energy projects and the application of clean energy technologies in industry, UNIDO successfully collaborates with a wide range of partners globally supporting industries on their pathway to net-zero emissions.

The GCCA is the cement and concrete industry’s main membership body, representing 80% of cement production outside of China, as well as a number of leading Chinese manufacturers. It is leading the industry’s decarbonization work, with its members, through delivery of the GCCA 2050 Net Zero Concrete Roadmap.

Cement and concrete are essential materials, vital for modern infrastructure, used for homes, hospitals, bridges, tunnels, roads and so much more. But their manufacture and wide use (concrete is the most used material on earth after water) account for around 7% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

The two organizations have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will see them working together on key sustainability and decarbonization issues.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Austria, Gerd Müller, Director General of UNIDO, said: “Cement and concrete are a vital part of resilient infrastructure development.  Decarbonizing the cement and concrete sectors worldwide is essential to reducing CO2 emissions and tackling climate change. The GCCA and its members are leading the way on doing so for this important global industry. Our UNIDO Member States face a number of technical, market-related and policy hurdles that make decarbonization commitments even more challenging. That is why I am very glad to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with the GCCA and start a new phase of closer cooperation that will help our Member States overcome those challenges."

Thomas Guillot, GCCA CEO, said: “Through our Net Zero Roadmap and the Accelerator programme we have put in place, we are already working with policymakers, governments and industry to overcome procurement and resourcing challenges across the global south. Having this ground-breaking agreement with UNIDO is a natural progression which we hope will fast-track progress in a meaningful way.”

The partnership agreement includes pledges to:

  • provide recommendations for decision-makers to create the right market environments for the development of low and near zero emissions cement and concrete
  • develop innovative technological solutions to help meet net zero commitments
  • organise joint international industry and government events
  • jointly author and publish documents, recommendations and research tools
  • identify promising companies and innovative solutions and showcase these at relevant events and in publications.

More about the Global Cement and Concrete Association: The GCCA and its members account for 80% of global cement production capacity outside of China, as well as a growing number of Chinese manufacturers. Member companies have committed to reducing and ultimately eliminating CO2 emissions in concrete, which currently account for around 7% globally, through implementation of the GCCA’s Concrete Future 2050 Net Zero Roadmap – the first heavy industry to set out such a detailed plan. Together, the GCCA is committed to building a bright, resilient and sustainable concrete future for the industry and for the world.

More about the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation: UNIDO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with a unique mandate to promote, dynamize and accelerate sustainable economic and industrial development.  Our mandate is reflected in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9: “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”, but UNIDO’s activities contribute to all the SDGs. UNIDO’s vision is a world without poverty and hunger, where industry drives low-emission economies, improves living standards, and preserves the liveable environment for present and future generations, leaving no one behind. UNIDO provides support to its Member States through four mandated functions: technical cooperation; action-oriented research and policy-advisory services; normative standards-related activities; and fostering partnerships for knowledge and technology transfer.  UNIDO’s work is concentrated on three focus areas: ending hunger by supporting sustainable food systems with modern agri-tech and agribusinesses; tackling climate change by using renewable energy and energy efficiency to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions; and supporting sustainable supply chains so that developing country producers get a fair deal and scarce resources are preserved. 


For further details or interview requests, please contact:   

Fiona Skinner, Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative (IDDI) Coordinator, UNIDO


Simon Thomson, Head of Media, GCCA