Chinese Cement Companies Accounting for CO2 Emissions

Last month, Chinese cement companies took the first steps towards measuring and managing CO2 emissions across the entire cement sector

Cement production is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions: five percent of the global total. And China’s cement sector all by itself accounts for 45 percent of global cement production.

“The Chinese cement sector covers almost half the world’s cement production, and at least half the greenhouse gas emissions from this sector. That’s why the CSI [Cement Sustainability Initiative] believes it is critical to work with our Chinese colleagues to build the relevant tools and techniques which can be used to help them manage these emissions,” said Howard Klee of the WBCSD.

Representatives from nearly 75 companies and organizations attended a first-its-kind training workshop on January 21-23, which was convened as part of the Asia-Pacific Partnership in Beijing. WRI, the lead organizer of the workshop along with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, introduced the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) that builds on the ISO-recognized GHG Protocol.

The workshop coincided with the launch of the CO2 Centre of Excellence at the China Building Materials Academy (CBMA) in Beijing. The GHG Protocol will work to develop the capacity within the CBMA to provide technical assistance to China’s 5,000 cement companies to both measure and manage GHG emissions and climate impacts.

Why is this workshop significant?

For one, it represents a significant step forward by the Chinese government in its clean development and climate change strategies for the industrial sector. The Chinese government has planned a 3-phase strategy to collect data from the cement companies, starting with the multinationals and expanding to medium and small enterprises. The GHG Protocol provides a sound foundation for this strategy; it includes tools and methodologies for measuring emissions at both the corporate and facility levels.

The initiative adds to other policies that China is developing in its attempts to address its fast-growing emissions. Other policies include economy-wide efficiency targets, along with aggressive renewable energy and vehicle efficiency standards.

The next steps are to take lessons learned from the preliminary workshop and scale up to include China’s approximately 5,000 cement companies, most of which are small and medium-sized enterprise. Given limited resources and the uneven capacity of Chinese companies on GHG accounting, virtually all will need training in using the GHG Protocol if China is to effectively manage emissions from this sector.

Tim Herzog, Director of Online Communications, and LauraLee Dooley, Internet Strategist/Web strategist at WRI contributed to this article.

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