Climate protection has become one of the most important areas for action in sustainable development over recent years. With the government's integrated energy and climate programme, Germany has set itself the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent between 1990 and 2020. After voluntarily committing to considerably reducing specific fuel-based energy consumption in 1995, Germany's cement industry has promised to reduce its specific energy-related CO2 emissions by a total of 28 per cent between 1990 and 2012, as a contribution to the extended climate protection agreement between the federal government and German industry of November 2000.
The German cement industry has considerably exceeded these targets. The extended climate protection agreement was successfully concluded at the end of 2012, and the reduction that the involved sectors promised was achieved. In the cement industry, the monitoring by the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI) showed a reduction in energy-related specific CO2 emissions of around 49 per cent in 2012, as compared with the base year of 1990.
As a subsequent regulation to the climate protection agreement, Germany's manufacturing industry concluded an agreement on increasing energy efficiency with the government in August 2012, which also represents an important measure in terms of reducing CO2 emissions. In it, industry and the energy sector undertake to reduce their specific energy consumption by 1.3 per cent a year from 2013 and by at least 1.35 per cent from 2016 as compared with the base period of 2007 – 2012, alongside introducing certified energy management systems and in association with implementing a rebate system for energy and electricity tax (known as "Spitzenausgleich"). The RWI was commissioned with carrying out the monitoring. According to the first verification report, the manufacturing industry achieved the agreed reduction target in 2013.