The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, has urged cement manufacturers not to relent in efforts to introduce local substitutes like clay and limestone into the production of cement to reduce harmful emissions.
Cement manufacturers and the regulatory authority are working on local alternatives for clinker contents for cement manufacturing to reduce the high contribution of cement to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at a building and construction stakeholder forum on local substitutes for cement and concrete production on the theme: “Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions: The Role of Local Substitutes in Cement Manufacturing.”
The International Energy Agency’s Global Energy Review Report identified that CO2 emissions from energy combustion and industrial process accounted for close to 89% of energy sector greenhouse gas emissions in 2021.
Mr Baafi said Ghana was through the Ghana Standards Authority collaborating with the German government on testing and standards development for construction materials and chemicals.
He noted that concrete is surprisingly the second most used material after water, the planet’s most consumed resource.
The cement industry, the Minister highlighted, produces about 10% of global human-made CO2 emissions of which 60% is from the chemical process and 40% from burning fuel.
Mr Baafi said these emissions might be reduced by lowering the clinker content, which in the case of Ghana has to be imported (with foreign currency), noting that the current environmental and economic downturns had propelled today’s discussion with stakeholders.
He said the economic benefits of these substitutes could not be underestimated, stating that clinker is not found in Ghana and every cement manufacturer imports, putting more demand on foreign currencies to pay for imports.
The proposed alternative of clay and limestone are sustainable inputs or replacements as they are in vast quantities and mined in Ghana, the Minister added that clay and limestone also reduce the carbon emission in cement.
The discussions would define the actions the industry would take towards delivering a carbon-neutral future in the production of cement and concrete, noting that the government is ready to assist businesses and local manufacturers of cement with a conducive environment and testing facilities to produce and stay profitable.
He noted that the outcome would positively impact government policies and the role we must play to boost the private sector in their manufacturing while saving the environment and reducing costs simultaneously.
The Acting Director-General, of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Mr Clifford Frimpong said an Institutional Partnership Agreement (IPA) was signed for Germany and Ghana to collaborate on testing and standards development for construction materials and chemicals.
He said the theme falls in line with the government’s efforts of creating an industrialised country while combating the impact of climate change with the use of green and environmentally friendly materials in the buzzing construction industry.
He said the partnership seeks the common objective to foster economic and trade cooperation between both Ghana and Germany.
This is achieved through the implementation of an Institutional Partnership between both governments’ institutions, thus the MoTI and the GSA for Ghana and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWK) and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) for Germany.
Stakeholders present at the meeting were the Chamber of Cement Manufacturers, Ghana (COGMA), Civil Engineers and Scientific staff from the GSA, MoTI; Works and Housing; Environment, Science and Technology.