CEMBUREAU, the European cement association, is in the process of developing a vision of a low carbon European cement industry. With the aim of identifying how key stakeholders see the cement industry in the future, a stakeholders debate was organised at the CEMBUREAU premises on 26 April 2012. This section provides a summary of the various points raised and discussed.
In order for us to best identify and tackle future challenges within this project, the Association would very much welcome feedback from other stakeholders as to your expectations vis-a-vis the cement sector in 2050. This should be sent to Jessica Johnson
The following organisations were represented during the debate:
The debate was moderated by Simon Leysen (Morris & Chapman).
Although representatives from the CEMBUREAU team were present, this was purely in an observational capacity.
The debate provided valuable food for thought for the cement sector. Below is a summary of the various points which participants felt should be taken into consideration by the cement industry.
Terminology: In this respect, the question was raised as to whether what the cement industry plans to develop is a “Roadmap”, a “Vision” or whether it should be given a different name. As such, for the purposes of this summary and until a definitive, more accurate term is identified, it will be referred to as a “Project”.
What is cement: Regarding cement itself, participants felt that a clear explanation of what it is and how it is manufactured was required. The key element here is that the explanation itself should be simple and easy to understand, rather than the more technical descriptions which are currently used by the sector.
Scope: Before embarking further on this project, it was made clear that a decision must be taken as to how wide the scope should be. In this respect, the general consensus was that it should cover the whole life cycle of cement, including final product and recycling. Nevertheless, particular emphasis must be placed on the elements over which the cement industry has control, namely cement manufacturing. It addition, the suggestion was that the cement industry should be looking not just at what could be achieved by 2050 - a longer term perspective would also prove beneficial given that, in cement production technology terms, 2050 is just around the corner.
Acting on directly vs influencing: The project should clearly make a distinction between what the sector can act on directly (i.e. the areas over which it has full control), and those which it can influence (through other stakeholders, particularly the wider construction sector). Participants were clear that it is important that both these aspects are tackled.
Externalities/policy: All externalities/policies (i.e. elements which will have an impact on the direction taken by the cement industry) must be clearly identified. Following this, a SWOT analysis should be undertaken for each. In this respect, participants listed a number of externalities which they believe should be looked into, namely
Modelling: Participants agreed that modelling would prove useful for the purposes of this project. Nevertheless, they believe that rather than developing our own model, existing ones should be used (e.g. DG Enterprise, PRIMES). It was also clear from the discussion that the project output must, nevertheless, remain substance focused, rather than “a series of models and data”.
Technologies: Participants made reference to a number of technologies/products which they believe should be tackled by this project, namely:
Questions to be tackled
Stakeholders raised a number of questions which they felt should be answered by the cement industry.
Future market – what will it look like? In this respect, it was agreed that the sector needs to have a clear vision of what the future market will look like and what the role of cement will be within that context.
Cement production – will it remain in Europe? Is our sector willing to continue to manufacture cement in Europe, or will plants of the future be built outside Europe, with the continent increasingly depending on imports?
Binder needed – but will it be limestone based? All stakeholders were clear that cement is, and will remain, an essential product. Nevertheless, the question was raised as to whether it will remain a limestone-based product.
Building stock renovation - what can we offer? In the light of ongoing discussions, the renovation of buildings to make them more energy efficient is a reality which the cement industry needs to focus on. Thus, it was suggested that the cement industry should look into the solutions which our product can provide within the field of building renovation.
Beyond 2050 – carbon neutral cement industry? In relation to the comment raised as to whether the project should look beyond 2050, it was suggested that the sector should look into the prospect of becoming carbon neutral at a later stage.
Beyond the Roadmap – implementation? Whilst stakeholders were favourable to the development of this project, they indicated that the sector should identify ways in which the various elements can be implemented once the project is published.
Participants also provided feedback on the next steps which they believe the team working on this project should undertake.
Get cement industry buy-in / CEO endorsement key: The message was clear - in order for this project to lead to concrete developments, it will require the full backing of the cement industry, and more particularly CEOs. Thus, internal communication, within the sector, clearly outlining the aims and the proposals will have to be convincing.
Contact other stakeholders (e.g one-to-one meetings): Participants believed a wider range of stakeholders should be consulted as the project evolves. Suggestions include the following:
Ongoing progress updates/transparency: This debate must not be a one-shot discussion. Participants indicated that they wish to be kept informed of developments as we progress. In addition, transparency must remain a key element of the process.
Willingness to provide more feedback as required: In addition to the point raised above, participants indicated that they would also be willing to provide us with additional feedback. CEMBUREAU is also free to contact them should there be any further queries or questions.
Develop a clear timeframe: An idea as to when each stage of the project is expected to come to fruition was also deemed to be useful