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Earthshot Prize Nominated - Low Carbon Materials (LCM) named one of most impactful climate change solutions

green leaf photo

Low Carbon Materials (LCM), formerly Sphera, has been nominated in this year’s Earthshot Prize. The nomination places LCM among the 1000 most impactful and inspiring solutions for environmental issues globally.

This article explains what the Earthshot Prize is and why it’s necessary. It also details LCM’s contribution to supporting the construction industry by creating better material solutions without compromising the environment.

What is the Earthshot Prize?

Organised by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Earthshot Prize is the most prestigious global environment prize in history. The initiative’s goal is to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next ten years.

When US President John F. Kennedy launched ‘Moonshot’ in the 1960s, it inspired millions of people around the goal of putting a man on the moon. This catalysed the development of world-changing technologies in the process. Famous innovation by-products include artificial limbs, solar panels, home insulation and infrared thermometers.

The Earthshot prize is inspired by this push for innovation to tackle a new challenge: reaching global climate goals.

The Prize centres around five Earthshots:

  • Protect and restore nature
  • Clean our air
  • Revive our oceans
  • Build a waste-free world
  • Fix our climate

Each of them sets out an ambitious goal to be achieved by 2030, creating a map for innovation that will contribute to tackling the climate crisis.

Winners of the Earthshot Prize receive top guidance from companies like ARUP, Bloomberg and Hitachi and £1 million to scale their solution.

LCM’s Nomination

LCM’s first product, the carbon negative aggregate OSTO™ for carbon zero blockwork is ground breaking. It is primarily made from waste materials and by-products that would have otherwise been difficult to recycle.

Additionally, OSTO™ holds the potential to revolutionise the carbon-intensive construction sector by significantly reducing the embodied carbon footprint of new buildings.

Embodied carbon is calculated from emissions generated from the construction process and materials used.

By using the concrete aggregate, construction industry professionals will achieve an up to 100% reduction in the embodied carbon of their concrete (which makes up 8% of global CO2eq emission alone).

“To be nominated for the Earthshot Prize is fantastic! Sustainability is at the heart of everything we stand for, so I’m thrilled for LCM to be recognised in this way.”

LCM was nominated by official nominator The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) through Potter Clarkson – an intellectual property law firm who have supported the team for the last couple of years.

Why does the construction industry need innovation to reduce its carbon footprint?

The construction sector makes up 39% of all energy-related emissions (UNEIEA 2017).

Of this, 11% attribute to embodied carbon due to the sector’s use of emissions-intensive materials like concrete and steel.

Embodied carbon reduction and ‘whole life’ assessments are central themes of proposed built environment regulation as suggested by the UK’s sixth carbon budget, the Green Building Council and RIBA.

LCM’s solution utilises the circular innovation model supported by Earthshot to create products that improve quality for the built environment whilst tackling emissions.

Commenting on OSTO, Leanne Fletcher (Sustainability lead – Sir Robert McAlpine) said ‘there are significant challenges currently facing the construction industry including embodied carbon, waste production and raw material shortages. It is not only the positive environmental benefits that attract us to this product, which contribute to a more circular approach but also the added value it can bring to our materials’.

Get in touch to enquire about OSTO, or click here to access our product page.

Click here to learn more about the Earthshot Prize.