22 September 2020

This is how standards could support decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries – new ECOS paper

Two of the world’s main polluters are hidden in plain sight. Cement and steel, so commonly used in the construction sector, represent approximately 13% of our CO2 emissions combined - a perfect example of the impact that energy intensive industries have on our planet’s deterioration. They are both typically produced using highly polluting methods, and we are nowhere near reducing the resulting emissions, even though more sustainable options exist.

The EU now has an opportunity to introduce rules which will favour less harmful production methods, not only for steel and cement but for energy-intensive industries in general, which include chemicals, plastics and aluminium production, among others.Our paper analyses the relationship between key regulatory requirements and supporting standards, and outlines how they can better contribute to achieving the EU’s net-zero 2050 GHG emissions goal. The policy context of this paper is the forthcoming Phase 4 of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), as well as the revisions of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) already underway.

Recommendations within the paper put forward proposals for the reconfiguration of key technical mechanisms within the policies mentioned, complimented by focus on provisions concerning steel and cement, as two of the most energy intensive industries in Europe and the world today, contributing a combined 13% to global CO2 emissions.

Four key regulatory changes were highlighted as a result of our analysis:


ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

Website by