PPC Ltd., the biggest South African cement maker, has set a target of attaining net zero emissions by 2050. Picture: BLOOMBERG
PPC Ltd., the biggest South African cement maker, has set a target of attaining net zero emissions by 2050. Picture: BLOOMBERG

PPC, the biggest SA cement maker, has set a target of attaining  net zero emissions by 2050.

The company aims to cut emissions 10% by 2025 and 27% by 2030, it said in its inaugural climate change report on Monday. PPC produces a total of 11.6-million tonnes of cement a year in SA, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Botswana, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The CO2 challenges for cement are significant,” PPC said in the report. “Within Sub-Saharan Africa, the industry’s ability to decarbonise is inhibited by the lack of viable options to reduce emissions, the lack of consumer willingness to pay for greener products, and the lack of standards, testing and track records of new products.”

PPC, and other SA industrial companies, are under increasing pressure to reduce emissions in a country that is the world’s 12th-biggest producer of greenhouse gases. Across Africa cement accounts for 32% of emissions of the climate-warming gases from manufacturing, according to McKinsey.

PPC aims to spend R664m by 2025 cutting its emissions to 680kg of CO2 per tonne of “cementitious product” from 750kg now. By 2030 the aim is to reduce that to 550kg at a cost that is yet to be determined. 

In addition to exploring the use of waste from the production process to produce energy, PPC is seeking to build renewable energy plants or acquire green power in SA, Zimbabwe and Rwanda, it said. 

The company, which says its own plants are already having to deal with climate change in the form of increased rainfall and temperatures in some areas, expects to benefit from a boom in renewable energy and hydrogen infrastructure over coming decades. Cement will be needed for those plants, it said.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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