Screeding the path to net zero

16 Jul 2021

At Campbell Primary School in the Australian Capital Territory, Lendlease is working with Boral Australia to use a proprietary product (ENVISIA®) that has reduced the carbon emissions generated from the production of the concrete by over 40%.

Since signing the Paris Agreement in 2015, the world’s signatory countries including Australia continue to grapple with how to limit global warming to below 2°C, and as close to 1.5°C as possible. There is much press around the serious implications of missing these goals – such as triggering food and water shortages, sea level rise and mass displacement of people; but there has been less conversation about one of the world’s greatest causes of the carbon emissions that drive global warming – until now.

Now we are finding ourselves engaged in carbon conversations about cement.

We are particularly conscious that 11% of the world’s emissions are a result of the manufacture of building materials  – our ‘scope three’ emissions1 . Cement is the world's single biggest industrial cause of carbon pollution, and equates to the carbon emissions produced by the global car fleet2

Cement is a large carbon generator and one of our most ubiquitous materials. It typically comprises 10-15% of the concrete mix with its remaining elements negligible in their embodied carbon contribution3. To reduce our carbon footprint, talking about decarbonising the manufacture of cement is a critical conversation. 

And lately, it has been getting more air time than ever before.

As part of Lendlease’s global #MissionZero commitment to achieving absolute zero carbon by 2040, we are heavily focused on the elimination of carbon from the manufacture of building materials. We know this is one of those wicked problems we cannot achieve alone and hence are working alongside our suppliers and have joined up as founding members with likeminded players in industry groups such as Responsible Steel and MECLA

As part of this focus, we have placed decarbonisation of cement high on our agenda and encouragingly, are seeing signs of genuine change.

At Campbell Primary School in the ACT, which is scheduled for completion in early 2022, Lendlease is working with Boral Australia to use a proprietary product (ENVISIA®) that has reduced the carbon emissions generated from the production of the concrete by over 40%.

Achieving a 40% reduction is substantial. But more telling is that for the first time Lendlease and Boral have offset the remaining embodied carbon from concrete used on the project through the purchase of carbon credits to create a net carbon neutral concrete that has achieved Climate Active certification. (Climate Active is the Australian Federal Government’s methodology for certifying carbon neutrality). 

We recognise our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it. It’s net zero for now, but we are taking this transitional step to reducing carbon and targeting absolute zero by 2040. It is only through advocating for a shared #MissionZero vision with our supply chain and exploring ways to procure carbon neutral materials that we will be able to meet our absolute zero target by 2040.

1 UN Environment Global Status Report 2017
2 Rethinking Cement
3 How Concrete is Made