March 28, 2024

Call for Studies on “Costs and Damages of the Cement Industry”

Published on March 28th, 2024.

Invitation to tender for a study; deadline for applications: 28.04.2024

The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung intends to award a contract for fee-based services to carry out a:

Study under the working title “Costs and Damages of the Cement Industry.”

The contract for the study will be awarded as a contract for work and services with a fee of USD 25,000 (gross, including project-related expenses).

The contract will be awarded by May 17th, 2024.

The final manuscript should be completed by October 1st, 2024.

About the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is one of the six major political foundations in the Federal Republic of Germany, whose main task is political education in Germany and abroad. The Foundation is closely linked to the Left Party in the German Bundestag. The foundation promotes critical social analysis and links emancipatory political, social and cultural initiatives in Germany and around the world.

Aims of the study (summary)

  • The global consequences, costs and damage of cement production are to be traced along the value chain using case studies (local subsidiaries of the building materials group “HeidelbergMaterials”), including, among others
    • Human rights violations
    • Labor law violations
    • Environmental damage
    • Potential climate damage
  • Analysis of parliamentary lobbying and influence exerted by the building materials company “HeidelbergMaterials” on the topic of carbon capture and storage technologies
  • Identification of possible alternatives to new construction with concrete or cement and classification in the current debate on alternative building materials and sustainable construction (the so-called “Bauwende”)
  • Summary and explanation of the results should serve as a basis for argumentation for climate policy and urban policy activists


Globally, more concrete is being used in construction than ever before. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, three billion tons of CO2 per year can be attributed to the production of cement – up to ten percent of the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity. Large infrastructure projects, but also construction activity in cities and villages, which promises high returns on rental or sales income and supposedly safe capital investments, are contributing to this. The credo of “build, build, build” supported by the federal and many state governments as a solution to the housing issue means in specific terms: mass construction with concrete. The consequences and costs are largely externalized – to the detriment of the climate and the environment, employees and local populations. These interrelationships will be illustrated using the example of the German building materials group “HeidelbergMaterials”. Furthermore, the study is also intended to serve as a basis of argumentation for activists in the rent and climate movements, particularly for political work at common points of intersection. In this way, the study is intended to contribute to the specialist debate on sustainable building (in the sense of the Bauwende).

The emission of greenhouse gases in cement production is only one factor in determining the costs and damage of the building material. In addition, there are human rights violations (eg. land grabbing), and/or workers’ rights violations and environmental damage (eg. drinking water contamination, environmental damage caused by gravel and sand extraction), which externalize the costs and damage of cement production. The company’s international activities (eg. in Indonesia, Togo, West Bank, Western Sahara) are already being critically monitored by an activist alliance from the climate movement, and local networks have already conducted research into the company’s harmful activities. The first part of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung’s study will use these local case studies to trace the consequences, costs and damage of cement production.

Secondly, alternatives for a sustainable construction industry will be collected and discussed against this background. The aim is to examine and categorize impulses from the building materials industry (technologies for saving CO2 in the manufacturing process and carbon capture and storage technologies) as well as alternative building materials (wood, clay, etc.) and systemic approaches for a sustainable construction sector (building turnaround). The study should focus equally on research into the company’s activities in the affected areas, as well as on possible alternatives for a truly sustainable construction industry and possible levers in this political field.

The scope of the study should not exceed 250,000 characters. The study can be written in English or German.

Requirements for applicants:

  • Applicants should preferably have a university degree in a thematically relevant subject area or a comparable qualification
  • Good knowledge of international climate policy, international human rights standards and relevant actors, as well as left-wing approaches to the respective topic
  • Good knowledge of relevant decision-making structures and/or legislative procedures in the field of climate policy
  • Good knowledge of the production and use of building materials in the construction industry and architecture
  • Basic knowledge of labor and environmental law, or an interest in learning about labor and environmental law in the regions studied, as well as relevant actors and left-wing approaches
  • Proven experience in the preparation of a comparable study or investigation
  • Applicants have a strong interest in left-wing and emancipatory perspectives of transformational alternatives as pursued by the applicant organization. They are able to actively communicate the study results developed in the context of these positions

Due to the complexity of the job profile, we expressly encourage applications in teams of two or more people.


The applicant

  • Creates a table of contents and adapts it according to the requirements of the client
  • Is available for consultation and queries during the research and writing process
  • Agrees to participate in two internal online workshops during the preparation of the study in order to discuss the results with expert participants and employees of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (the organization of the workshops is the responsibility of the client)
  • Produces a study in German or English on the above-mentioned topic with a maximum length of 250,000 characters
  • Prepares a summary of the results for the publication of the study
  • Agrees to participate in an event for the publication of the study and to present the results there


Please apply with a letter of motivation (max. 500 words), concept proposal (max. 1,000 words), work plan with milestones, CV, certificates and references if applicable.

We ask applicants to break down their fees according to the table below:

 Fee for (Position within the study) in USD
1 Day 
1 Week 
1 Month 

If applicants are subject to VAT, this information must be included in the application. VAT is paid in addition to the fee. If we do not receive any information, the fee is the gross amount. The budget available for the overall study, including taxes and ancillary costs, amounts to 25,000 USD. This budget must not be exceeded.

Please send strong applications by April 28th, 2024 to David Williams, Head of the International Climate Justice Program, New York City ( and Anastasia Blinzov, Education Coordinator for Urban and Housing Policy, and Organizing, Berlin (

The receipt of applications will not be confirmed. Selected applicants will be invited to interviews via Zoom in the week between May 5th and May 10th. The contract will be awarded on May 17th.

By submitting your application to us, you consent to the processing of your data for the purposes of the application process in accordance with our privacy policy.