Many delegates told me that they had never attended a conference where the key topics facing the industry were discussed so openly. I was delighted with the high level of engagement and the passion to take action.
COP 27 and COP 28 are sharpening the focus of the cement industry in the Middle East and Africa on the climate challenge. We see this as a chance to share best practices, not only on the steps to reducing carbon emissions but also on the opportunities that green construction and decarbonisation represent.
It takes time to get companies to change course on a topic that is so fundamental to the future of the industry, so I have no illusions about achieving quick wins. The WCA will organise events over the next 12 months to continue to engage companies on the topic of climate change and the opportunities it can bring.
The WCA Conference will take place in Dubai next year on 17-18 October 2023. At that time, we will announce the progress on climate commitments that companies in MENA and other emerging markets have made. I hope that WCA’s efforts will continue to accelerate the pace of both commitments and actual emission reductions. We are developing a way to measure such progress and it will be launched at our General Assembly in January.
The next step is to carry out a test run at a couple of our members’ plants and to validate the logic and approach. After that we will work on packaging it in an easy-to-use system. The tool will be initially offered to WCA members but our aim is to maximise the impact of the tool, so we are open to providing it to non-members too.
I see a lot of action taking place in some countries but much less in others. Even in the countries at the forefront of progress the impact on total carbon emissions is still modest. However, I do expect that we will hit a tipping point after which decarbonisation accelerates. Maybe that will be in the next 12 months, but I suspect we may have to wait a bit longer yet.
The world is having to face up to the reality that progress on reducing GHG emissions is too slow to meet the 1.5 °C target. I believe that this will lead to a re-examination of our decarbonisation activities and the related government policies and incentives. I hope this will lead to an acceleration of decarbonisation efforts.