The Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), whose 18 members produce about 30 percent of the world’s cement, has unveiled its vision of a "sectoral approach" to tackling carbon dioxide.

The cement industry contributes about 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and is expected to double its capacity by 2030 because of the rapid urbanization in developing countries.

CSI has developed a system for monitoring, reporting and verifying carbon dioxide emissions and aims to share technology and best practice for cutting those emissions. They claim that the proposed system could reduce emissions by as much as 25%, compared to taking no action.

Cement is made by heating limestone with clay minerals to produce an intermediate product called clinker. This process releases large amounts of carbon dioxide.

The CSI initiative would replace this clinker with residues from steel production and coal-fired power stations. Further cuts would be made by using biofuels to generate heat and by burying carbon dioxide using carbon capture and storage technologies.

Many environmentalists view industry initiatives such as this with skepticism after numerous voluntary agreements have failed to achieve significant results.