Low Carbon Concrete and Construction: A Review of Green Public Procurement Programmes

A new report explores the activities of six countries (Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, UK, and US) that are leading the charge to develop rules for low-carbon concrete and construction procurement. This Mission Possible Partnership Report by the World Economic Forum and the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is based on interviews with construction and procurement experts from the public and private sectors in the countries we studied. The report examines the tools and regulations that have been adopted to support the shift to low-carbon concrete.

The first component of the framework is the foundation, which includes establishing standards for reporting emissions, databases and tools for tracking emissions and establishes baselines. The second part of the framework, procurement polices builds upon and reinforces the foundation by setting policies that require environmental disclosures, mandate carbon limits, and incentivize low-carbon design, and use of low-carbon materials.

The paper’s additional key findings include:

  • Massive demand for concrete will come from developing economies in the decades to come; identifying public procurement solutions to support decarbonization of concrete and construction in these countries is critical
  • Further international collaboration is needed to avoid fragmentation of standards and approaches, solve challenges of existing systems, accelerate progress, and support developing nations in the decarbonization of cement through public procurement
  • It is critical that procurement offices consider the whole lifecycle of construction projects, including the production and sourcing of materials, the construction phase, use and maintenance, through to end of life when evaluating a project’s carbon footprint
  • The private sector plays an important role by providing environmental product disclosures and often establishing baselines and targets through trade associations