Holcim’s Climate Strategy

Too little – too late


Climate change is happening. The clock is ticking. The global consensus is that global warming must not go beyond 1.5°C. Yet, to stand a chance of achieving this 1.5°C limit, the remaining carbon budget must be distributed fairly among all actors. Currently, the global cement industry contributes up to 8% of the global annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, since the production of cement is extremely CO2 intensive. The Swiss-based cement group Holcim Ltd. is the biggest player within the cement and concrete industry, and among the top 50 largest CO2 emitters in the world. Since 1950, Holcim has emitted over 7 billion tonnes of CO2, which accounts for 0.42% of all global industrial CO2 emissions, or twice as many emissions as produced by the whole of Switzerland during the same period. Holcim has published a climate strategy which includes the ambition to become a net zero corporation by 2050. However, as this report shows, Holcim’s climate targets and business strategy are not in line with the 1.5°C limit and are therefore further exacerbating the climate crisis.

This report looks at Holcim’s past, current and future climate impact through assessing its past and present emissions, as well as its future emission reduction plans. It explains that Holcim has largely contributed to the climate crisis due to its enormous historical emissions. The corporation’s 2021 emissions still account for three times the annual emissions of Switzerland and have risen in recent years. The report concludes that Holcim’s emission reduction targets are incompatible with the 1.5°C limit. According to the latest climate science, to stand a 50% chance of achieving the 1.5°C limit with no or limited overshoot, absolute emission reductions of 43% until 2030, 69% until 2040 and 84% until 2050 from a 2019 base year are required.