Cemsuisse urges CBAM adjustment for cement industry

Cemsuisse urges CBAM adjustment for cement industry

The decision of the Swiss government in June 2023 against the implementation of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) has been strongly criticised by the Swiss cement association, Cemsuisse. The association warns of a potential relocation of the Swiss cement industry without such a mechanism, referencing a report by Polynomics. This report concludes that a Swiss CBAM is necessary to level the playing field with EU and non-EU cement suppliers. The EU initiated a CBAM test phase in October 2023, aiming to mitigate production relocation risks to countries with less stringent environmental regulations.

The federal government concluded that a CBAM in Switzerland would benefit few emission-intensive industries at the expense of the wider economy, while also facing regulatory and trade policy risks. It plans to reassess the need for a CBAM in mid-2026, in line with the EU’s interim CBAM report.

Cemsuisse, referencing the Polynomics report, states that waiting to potentially introduce a CBAM in Switzerland is not an option. Investments in carbon capture and storage (CCS) are deemed essential for Switzerland’s net-zero climate goal and without a CBAM, there is a risk of these investments being unviable due to uncertainty over cost recovery.

The report also points to the risk of increased clinker imports from third countries into the EU, which would be processed and then exported to Switzerland without CBAM levies. As an example, Cemsuisse mentions a planned milling station in Ottmarsheim, Alsace. It says that without a CBAM, the production site in Switzerland faces serious threats.

Cemsuisse said “Without CBAM, this certainty is lacking. And without CCUS, long-term production in Switzerland won’t be viable. The population has accepted the climate protection law last summer, where the net-zero goal is legally anchored.”