The UK is seeing its first Net Zero ready-mixed concrete product in the form of Cemex’s new Vertua range.
Building materials supplier Cemex launched the UK’s first CarbonNeutral ready-mixed concrete at Futurebuild earlier this year. The Vertua low carbon concrete range, which includes the option to offset residual CO2 and provide an environmentally sustainable product, in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.
The Vertua range is an important step to support the company’s recently announced climate strategy, which includes an ambition of delivering net zero concrete globally by 2050.
The range features a variety of bespoke concrete mix designs and includes the Ultra Zero option, which is a CarbonNeutral product. This product achieves a 70% reduction in embodied carbon emissions, with the remaining unavoidable emissions offset through working with Natural Capital Partners, a carbon offset and carbon neutrality specialist.
To contribute towards the 70% reduction, the firm is introducing a new geopolymer cement solution, which was developed at its Global Research & Development Centre in Switzerland and can be used in certain applications.
In addition to Vertua ultra zero, the range also features other low carbon concretes which can be used in a wide range of applications and include an option for customers to choose the added benefit of offsetting the residual CO2.
The Vertua line of low footprint products was originally launched by Cemex in France in July 2018, and following its success, the offer has now been introduced to the UK and complemented by the offsetting option to deliver net zero carbon concrete.
After engineering carbon reductions into the concrete mix design, Cemex calculates the embodied carbon generated from extraction and processing of raw materials, product manufacturing and distribution. The residual carbon is then offset, making the concrete CarbonNeutral from cradle-to-customer.
Michel Andre, VP Materials Western Europe for Cemex, commented: “Concrete is an essential part of construction – it is cost effective, versatile and typically made from local materials. Concrete is vital for the infrastructure that helps provide the UK with clean water, sanitation and energy, as well as durable homes, schools, hospitals, travel networks and much more.
“However, we recognise future construction needs to be balanced with the effect it is having on the environment. We know that we can best meet these challenges by working in partnership with our clients and stakeholders to develop solutions together. We continually invest and innovate to become an environmentally friendly, sustainable leader – enabling a low-carbon and resource-efficient circular economy.
Andy Spencer, VP Corporate Affairs, added: “We know that carbon offsetting is only an interim measure while we further develop technology that is still in early stages. At present we believe it is a good way to sequester the remaining CO2 from our lower carbon solutions to take important climate action now. We are sure this will prove a relevant solution as the construction sector looks to take rapid action to improve the sustainability and climate impacts of the built environment.”
The company claims climate change has been a global priority for many years and has brought significant progress to date, but admits there is a need to do more and faster. This is why they have recently announced a more ambitious climate strategy, including a new global target for CO2 emissions by 2030: a reduction of 35% to ensure alignment with the Paris Agreement commitments. This is in addition to the ambition of delivering net zero concrete globally by 2050.
What is Carbon Offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is the removal or reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.
Cemex have said they will facilitate this by investing in projects which physically remove CO2 where possible from the atmosphere, such as planting more trees or protecting against deforestation through an independently audited and verified project. A CarbonNeutral certificate is then issued to the client.
The company is working with Natural Capital Partners, experts in carbon offset solutions, to assure the quality of the emissions reductions, which also deliver added benefits such as increasing biodiversity and reducing poverty.