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Operations

ClimeCo Leads Development of Low-Carbon Cement Protocol 

Encouraging production of more environmentally friendly building materials 

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2023 - 11:58

(ClimeCo: Boyertown, PA) -- ClimeCo, a leading global sustainability company, recently leveraged its industrial and methodology expertise to lead the development of Climate Action Reserve’s (CAR) new U.S. Low-Carbon Cement Protocol. The protocol establishes a first-of-its-kind pathway to generate voluntary carbon credits from the production of novel and underutilized alternative cementitious materials (ACMs) and supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs). Funds generated by these credits will be used to incentivize the production and scaled use of innovative, less carbon-intensive materials to meet growing demand, reduce emissions, and help enable exponential positive change. For more than 18 months, ClimeCo worked closely with numerous stakeholders, including Eco Material Technologies and the Portland Cement Association, to create, seek comment, and refine this important effort.

Addressing a pressing emissions crisis in the cement industry 

The protocol establishes a pathway to generate voluntary carbon credits from the production of novel and underutilized alternative cementitious materials (ACMs) and supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs).

Concrete is the second-most used material by mass, behind only potable water. As the key binding ingredient in concrete, cement production accounts for about 8% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, largely due to the creation of an intermediary product called clinker, which can be avoided by using less-polluting SCMs. Traditional SCMs are declining in supply, making them difficult to source for many cement and concrete manufacturers. The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has determined that the sector can only scale low-carbon cement to the degree required to meet targets with additional financing. 

The protocol creates a tested and valid pathway for companies to generate voluntary carbon credits and direct much-needed funds to the production of additional cementitious materials that can fill the worsening supply void and create the scale necessary to displace carbon-intensive cement manufacturing.  

Dedicated to transparency and genuine impact, ClimeCo and its partners worked to ensure that the protocol follows strict rules on additionality, permanence, ownership, and quantification in generating and awarding offsets. To earn credits, manufacturers must produce usable materials that are widely recognized as beyond business-as-usual and surpass regulatory requirements. Eligible components include natural pozzolans (like volcanic ash); calcined clay; rice husk ash; and harvested and beneficiated coal ash, which has the added benefit of cleaning landfills.  

“While demand for cement has never been higher, it remains an exceptionally difficult-to-abate industry,” says ClimeCo president and CEO Bill Flederbach. “This new protocol demonstrates the power of credible, validated, and science-based voluntary carbon credits in accelerating the pace and adoption of environmental reforms. It also confirms ClimeCo’s belief that by engaging the right partners and taking a holistic approach, every industry and every company, even those facing the biggest challenges, can make a huge difference. Time is of the essence, and ClimeCo is proud to lead the way toward a brighter future.” 

For more information on ClimeCo’s work on the protocol, read this article from Climate Action Reserve.

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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.