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CONCRETE,
The backbone of sustainable construction

Concrete is the most widely-used construction material in the world. It is part of our everyday lives. However, its ubiquitous nature often means it is taken for granted. Concrete Europe aims to increase awareness of its essential role in creating a sustainable construction sector in Europe.

WHAT IS CONCRETE?

Concrete is a building material made by combining cement, water, aggregates (gravel, stone and sand) and, often, admixtures. Concrete is used in virtually any construction you can think of - from roads, to buildings, railways and bridges.

WHY CONCRETE EUROPE?

The European Green Deal has established a new standard for policy development within the construction ecosystem. That is why, starting from 2023, six European associations representing the concrete sector and its value chain have chosen to merge under one umbrella organisation: Concrete Europe. These associations consist of BIBM (the Federation of the European Precast Concrete Industry), CEMBUREAU (the European Cement Association), EFCA (the European Federation of Concrete Admixtures Associations), and ERMCO (the European Ready Mixed Concrete Organization), alongside two associate members: Aggregates Europe – UEPG and EUPAVE (the European Concrete Paving Association). This collaborative effort aims to better communicate to EU stakeholders and those within the construction value chain the concrete sector’s role in attaining the objectives of the EU Green Deal concerning sustainable construction. The new entity is the successor to The European Concrete Platform and The Concrete Initiative.

Membership is open to all EU associations active in the concrete value chain.

In its EU Green Deal communication, the Commission defines our sector as “indispensable to Europe’s economy”. Concrete Europe will continue to convey to the EU stakeholders our sector’s contribution to achieving the goals of the EU Green Deal by:

  • Embedded emissions reduction towards carbon neutrality: As highlighted in the CEMBUREAU 2050 Carbon Neutrality Roadmap, our sector aims to reduce its gross CO2 emissions by 30% for cement and 40% down the value chain by 2030. The Roadmap highlights actions and recommended policy frameworks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at every step of the cement and concrete value chain.

  • Activated thermal efficiency in buildings through concrete: According to the 3E Study, thermal mass in heavyweight buildings can provide the flexibility to store energy and respond to the needs of the electricity grid by allowing for consumer energy demand to be shifted in time (“active demand response”) through the use of structural thermal energy storage. This can result in up to:
    • 25% CO2 reduction per dwelling;
    • 50% reduction in the need for peak electricity supply capacity; 
    • 25% increase in renewable energy penetration.
  • Concrete as a solution for the circular economy in construction :
    • Concrete structures can easily last more than 100 years;
    • When a concrete structure is dismantled, concrete elements can be re-used, or demolished and crushed and be 100% recycled as aggregates;
    • Concrete is mainly manufactured in proximity to the final user and uses either natural, locally available materials, or quality recycled materials.
  • Concrete carbonation, recognised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): During the life of a built structure, up to 25% of the process emissions related to the production of the cement can be absorbed. CEMBUREAU estimates that the potential carbonation volume is 16 million tonnes CO2 per year in the EU27. This process can be enhanced at the cement, aggregates and concrete production stages, turning concrete into a carbon sink.

THE CONCRETE INDUSTRY

The "concrete industry" is made up of several industries. The aggregates, cement and admixtures industries all supply materials to ready-mix and precast concrete. The term "concrete industry" should be taken to mean this ensemble of industries involved in the manufacturing of concrete and concrete products.