Climate & Energy

CEMEX aims to be a positive force wherever we undertake our work. Our philosophy is to continuously improve our sustainability, engage with people inside and outside the business, investing in sustainable initiatives and charities throughout the globe. Our products’ biggest contribution is in the in-use phase. Whether as foundations for wind power plants, durable pavements, which reduce rolling resistance, or elements for energy-efficient, longlasting, and resilient buildings, cement and concrete are irreplaceable building blocks for transitioning society into a low-carbon, sustainable future. Over the full life cycle of a building or structure our products often offer a lower carbon footprint than other materials, and we continue developing innovative solutions that offer enhanced sustainability characteristics.

At CEMEX, we pride ourselves on building a better future, and climate action is essential for the achievement of that future. Concrete is the most consumed man-made material on earth and a key enabler of cities and communities’ growth. We are committed to enhancing the sustainable attributes of our building solutions in order to contribute to modern life while addressing climate change and other global challenges. Our 2030 CO2 reduction target and 2050 carbon neutrality ambition reflect this aspiration and the implied efforts are linked to priority SDGs 9, 11, 13, and 15.

Climate action has been for decades a priority for CEMEX, and our efforts to date have resulted in significant progress. Our resolve is to go further, which is why we’ve made the consideration of carbon emissions reduction an integral part of everything we do. We support the urgency of collective action to achieve compliance with the Paris Agreement commitments and the fulfilment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on climate action.


In 2020, CEMEX successfully closed an amendment to the Facilities Agreement that incorporated sustainability- linked metrics, including reduction of net CO2 emissions, clean electricity consumption, quarry biodiversity conservation, water management, and clinker factor. This Facilities Agreement became the largest Sustainability-Linked Loan to date in Latin America and the emerging markets and one of the largest in the world, incorporating rigorous key performance indicators in about US$3.2 billion of commitments.

EU Emissions Trading System (ETS)

We believe that a fair and effective EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) should build on the following principles:

Promote material neutrality by avoiding sector-discriminatory proposals
Promote the use of waste and biomass as alternative fuels
Ensure an EU level playing-field compensation for electricity-intensive industries impacted by indirect carbon costs
Promote dynamic allocation of allowances based on real-time data, and avoid political interference in the Market Stability Reserve to improve predictability for industries and prevent misallocation
Recognise material’s trade intensity being at further disaggregated level, and use the PRODCOM rather than the NACE classification.

In our industry, the material traded most is clinker (PRODCOM not cement (NACE 23.51).

Ensure the recognition of process emissions, and therefore provide the cement sector with free allocations covering 100% of its benchmark to counter the risk of carbon leakage.

Carbon Capture Use and Storage

Even with the most efficient processes possible, there is a part of CO2 emissions linked to traditional cement production that cannot be avoided due to the process emissions from the decarbonization of limestone. That is why it is essential that CO2 separation and capture technologies become widely available to achieve sectorial reduction ambitions. With that in mind, we recognize the urgent need to explore innovative, disruptive technologies such as Carbon Capture, Use, and Storage (CCUS).

CEMEX sees CCUS as a potential mid-term solution to limit carbon emissions and will continue to pursue funding opportunities for the advancement of this technology. In that regard, CEMEX recommends:

Developing EU actions to increase public awareness and social acceptance of CCUS , through concerted information campaigns and dialogue with all stakeholders
Exploring the EU ETS Innovation Fund to promote public-private co-funding to manage the significant costs and risks of the process
Increasing public sector funding and support for the development of CO2 pipelines and storage sites
Delivering the necessary regulatory framework ensuring the public liability for subsurface structures and risk of carbon leaks

We have actively participated in various R&D collaborative efforts with different sectors to develop technologies to capture, utilize, or store carbon, as well as other carbon reduction technologies. Some of these projects include:

SOLPART (EU funded project with Grant Agreement (GA) n°: 654663) intends to pilot a high-temperature (950°C) solar process in sustainable operation suitable for the calcination of cement raw materials.

EPOS (EU funded project with GA n°: 679386) main objective is to enable cross-sector industrial symbiosis and to provide a wide range of technological and organizational options for making business and operations more efficient, cost-effective, competitive, and sustainable.

GENESIS (EU funded project with GA n°: 760899) explores the use of metallic organic frameworks to entrap CO2 from flue gas. The CO2 can then be stored, but in the GENESIS context, it will be fed into an algae bioreactor.

DESTINY (EU funded project with GA n°: 820783) aims to employ microwave energy in clay calcination for use in low clinker cement. The target is to demonstrate the concept through a microwave-powered plant targeted to a production rate of 20 kg of calcined clay per hour.

eCOCO2 (EU funded project with GA n°: 838077) aims to set up a CO2 capture and conversion process using renewable electricity and water steam to directly produce fuels, targeting a CO2 per-pass conversion of greater than 85%, energy efficiency of more than 85%, and net specific demand of less than 6 MWh/t CO2. The demonstration phase intends to produce over 250 g of fuel per day.

The Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technology is a key lever to deliver on our 2050 Ambition.

Since 2002, CEMEX has been studying CCUS in collaboration with other companies, international organizations, and academic institutions. Currently, CEMEX is actively participating in close to 30 research projects aimed at  contributing to carbon reduction and mitigation including accelerating CCUS implementation on an industrial scale.

The LEILAC 2 project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The project team comprises leading industrial, technology, and research & development partners. CEMEX had a very active participation in LEILAC 1, working with the partners to develop the novel direct separation of process carbon emissions derived from the clinker/cement manufacture. The highly concentrated CO2 resulting from the technology can then be easily handled via capture and/or storage. Process emissions are roughly 60% of the direct CO2 emissions from cement production. Thus, this technology can contribute significantly to the decarbonization of the whole sector.

CEMEX is enthusiastic and determined to continue its contributions to the project by bringing expertise, experience, and key resources. For example, simulation experts undertook significant modeling of the CO2 reactor tube to obtain the required capture rate. CEMEX’s technical team also tested novel designs for the CO2 reactor tube, given its deep understanding of the cement production process and how the technology can be implemented most effectively.

CEMEX decided to participate in LEILAC 2 pursuing and contributing to the technology’s development utilizing its gasification process’s expertise. It is also leveraging its skills in alternative fuel consumption and computational fluid dynamic simulation design, aiming to succeed in the second stage of the LEILAC project.

“Our participation in the LEILAC 2 project is another example of our continued efforts to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete products globally by 2050,” said Davide Zampini, Head of Global R&D. “We are determined to have a significant direct involvement in research and development efforts pursuing high impact technologies in carbon capture, use, and storage.

European energy policy

Our company believes that the European energy policy should be designed in line with the following principles:

Guarantee the security and stability of energy supply by ensuring resource adequacy and grid capacity
Integrate renewable energy sources in an efficient manner in the EU energy mix by using practical market-based support schemes and keeping cost-competitive energy prices.
Ensure all Member States support compensation for Energy Intensive Industries for additional costs incurred from renewable energy support
Assess the energy efficiency of buildings on a comprehensive basis considering their carbon footprint over their whole life cycle.

Energy efficiency plays a central role in achieving a low-carbon economy and is a major contributor to global sustainable development, reducing energy demand and lowering energy-related emissions, while helping to decrease our contribution to climate change. Cement manufacturing remains an energy-intensive process. Accordingly, we focus on identifying, promoting, and investing in energy-efficient technologies, while following a mindset of continuous innovation seek to ensure ongoing energy-saving opportunities and to lower our overall fuel and power consumption across our operations. As part of our continuous improvement investment process, we keep on replacing outdated equipment with new, energy-efficient technology and optimize and modernize our existing plants with the latest available new technologies. For example, we invested close to US$60 million to start up a new kiln in our Rudniki cement plant in Poland to replace the capacity of the two existing kilns, lowering energy and electricity consumption by 20% and 15% respectively and enabling us to increase our alternative fuel substitution rate by up to 75%. Additionally, during 2019 we developed several electricity efficiency projects, including one co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, to replace four fans on the clinker cooler of our Sveti Juraj cement plant in Croatia, which led to a reduction of the facility’s electricity consumption by 25%.

During 2019, despite the disincorporation of two plants with high alternative fuels performance, we increased our global fuels substitution rate to 28%, up one percentage point from 2018, and 96% of our cement plants co-processed more than 3.1 million tons of waste as alternative fuels, enabling the replacement of almost 1.9 million tons of coal. Of these plants, our cement operations with the highest share of alternative fuels included Chelm in Poland, Rüdersdorf in Germany, Prachovice in the Czech Republic.

Among our notable initiatives, starting in 2019, we expanded the scope of our 10-year partnership with ENGIE in the UK to consume 100% renewable electricity in over 320 sites. In Spain, we signed a long-term contract with Statkraft through Fortia for the supply of approximately 20% of our electricity requirements in the country from renewable sources. Find out more here.


Given the high-energy intensity of our cement operations, the use of alternative fuels as a substitute for fossil fuels is an important lever to reduce direct CO2 emissions from our clinker production process across all of our cement sites. Alternative fuels are predominantly non-recyclable materials and waste from industrial, domestic, agricultural, and forestry processes— including used tires, processed municipal solid waste, and biomass residues such as rice and coffee husks, animal meal, and sewage sludge— which contain recoverable energy and material. Our Alternative Fuels Strategy helps us confront climate change by enabling us to rely less on fossil fuels and thereby reduce the CO2 intensity of clinker manufacturing. Concurrently, by co-processing waste as an alternative fuel in our cement operations, we can help decrease the amount of waste society sends to landfill, reduce public investment in new dedicated waste management facilities, and foster local business creation and employment by developing alternative fuel supply chains.

  • 25.3% global alternative fuels rate
  • 91% of our cement plants co-processed a cumulative 2.7 million tons of waste as alternative fuels
  • ~1.6 million tons of coal replaced
  • +US135 million avoided in fossil fuel costs
  •  +US$43 million in additional savings in carbon-regulated regions where we operate.

In 2020, our Chelm plant in Poland reached over 93% alternative fuels rate, one of the highest substitution rates in the cement sector with 60% substitution of fossil fuels in the region, our cement operations in Europe have the highest share of alternative fuels. This is directly linked to waste directives, and market dynamics that have allowed us to take our largest production cost, fuel, and convert it to an income stream. Our installations with the highest alternative fuels rate include Chelm and Rudniki in Poland, Prachovice in the Czech Republic, Rüdersdorf in Germany, Morata in Spain, and Rugby in the UK.

CEMEX’s commitment to the environment

Key Documents for Countries in which CEMEX Operates

Our latest activities

CEMEX has innovated to replace traditional energy-intensive clinker with slag, fly ash and pozzolans. Compared to 1990, our cement products have reduced their carbon footprint by over 20%.

Since 2002, CEMEX has been examining the technical and economic feasibility of CCUS in the cement industry in close collaboration with companies, international organisations, and academic institutions, as well as the European Cement Research Academy (ECRA).

CEMEX has also participated in the SCARLET EU-project and developed together with several other partners the Calcium Carbonate Looping Technology to a large scale pilot-project.