Sustainable Development

Helping critical industry and transport reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

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The Mission Possible Partnership works with seven core sectors

The Mission Possible Partnership works with seven core sectors


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The impact.

To achieve the Paris Agreement's goal of keeping global warming to 1.5˚C, it’s imperative that the critical industry and transport sectors play their part.

Seven core sectors together currently emit an estimated 11.2 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases a year, representing about 20% of total global emissions. They are: aluminium, cement and concrete, chemicals, steel, aviation, trucking and shipping.

The World Economic Forum is a founding member of the Mission Possible Partnership working with the Energy Transitions Commission, RMI, We Mean Business Coalition and their industry partners to ensure heavy industry and heavy-duty transport sectors reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


What’s the challenge?

These seven critical industry and transport sectors are on course to account for 15.7 gigatonnes of carbon emissions by 2050 if left unabated. This is more than the entire carbon budget the world can emit in 2050 if we want to limit global warming and deliver on the Paris Agreement.

Certain heavy industry sectors – including aluminium, cement, chemicals, steel, aviation, trucking and shipping – are referred to as ‘hard to abate’ because the solutions for reaching net-zero carbon emissions for these industries are significantly complicated.

In some cases, the sheer quantity of power needed makes switching to renewable energy sources a slow process, especially in countries with limited resources. For cement, the chemistry involved in the process is the issue, while aviation and shipping are heavily reliant on fossil fuels.


Our approach.

Building on the Mission Possible Report, the Mission Possible Partnership aligns the decarbonization pathways of heavy industry and transport with the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to well below 2°C (3.6°F), and as close as possible to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

The Mission Possible Partnership convenes ambitious business leaders and the finance sector with governments to design and implement supportive policies. New alliances between hard-to-abate actors are being forged. Some examples include:

The Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition (CST) provides a global mechanism for top executives and public leaders, across the aviation value chain, to align on a proactive pathway for the industry to achieve carbon-neutral flying. 60 companies have signed the 2030 Ambition Statement, accelerating the supply and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to reach 10% of global jet aviation fuel supply by 2030. Signatory companies include airlines, airports, fuel suppliers and other aviation innovators from around the world. They also include non-aviation companies that rely on corporate air travel for their business operations, demonstrating that the responsibility of decarbonizing the industry lies with all those who depend on the aviation sector.

The shipping industry has mobilised together to get zero-emission vessels running along deep-sea trade routes by 2030. The Getting to Zero Coalition brings together over 150 members that account for more than a quarter of the shipping industry’s market share by revenue, along with 14 supporting governments. Its recent report on how to develop green shipping corridors, informed the Clydebank Declaration from 22 governments at COP26. At the same time its Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization Signatories urge world leaders to align shipping with the Paris Agreement temperature goal.

In Europe, we need 120,000 more zero-emission trucks every year by 2030 to achieve the 1.5°C target. Road Freight Zero: Pathways to faster adoption of zero-emission trucks, identifies three ways for faster adoption of zero-emission cargo vehicles.

Chemical companies are working together to accelerate the development of clean production technologies through collaborative innovation led by the Low Carbon Emitting Technologies (LCET) initiative at the World Economic Forum. Tangible collaborations in the chemical sector, include:

  • BASF, SABIC and Linde have launched a collaboration to pilot the electrification of a steam cracker furnace at BASF’s Ludwigshafen site in Germany
  • SABIC and Plastic Energy have started construction of a commercial unit in the Netherlands that will produce certified recycled polymers made from mixed and used plastics

Pioneer projects like Hybrit are showing the way forward in the steel industry. This is a joint project between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall to create zero-carbon steel by using hydrogen rather than coal during coking.

Businesses in the aluminium sector are developing low-carbon smelting and refining processes, increasing renewable energy sourcing and recycling rates. EN+, along with other industry partners, is leading the charge in a new initiative called Aluminium for Climate. The Aluminium for Climate initiative’s recent publication Closing the Gap for Aluminium Emissions: Technologies to Accelerate Deep Decarbonization of Direct Emissions highlights the need for breakthrough technology to mitigate direct emissions in aluminium production, but also recyclability rates. Ball Corporation, in collaboration with Novelis, Tomra and others, published a vision to achieve a 90% recycling rate and 85% recycled content for aluminium cans by 2030.

In July 2021, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) and World Economic Forum launched ‘Concrete Action for Climate’ (CAC), a collaborative platform that will help drive the industry’s journey to carbon neutral concrete by 2050 as part of the Mission Possible Partnership.

How can you get involved in the Mission Possible Partnership?

Reaching net-zero carbon emissions across these seven critical industry and transport sectors is technically and financially possible by mid-century – 2050 in developed countries and 2060 in developing countries.

Transformational change across sectors requires strong support from government, finance and the entire value chain across industry and transport. In just under a year the Mission Possible Partnership has engaged more than 300 partner organisations who are working together across sectors to deliver on the Paris Agreement and secure a more sustainable future for all.

The Mission Possible initiative is managed by the Forum’s Centre for Nature and Climate in collaboration with the MPP partners and Forum industry communities. Companies across the heavy industry and transport sectors are encouraged take part in the fight against climate change.

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Related topics:
Sustainable DevelopmentIndustries in DepthClimate ActionNature and BiodiversityStakeholder CapitalismEmerging TechnologiesGlobal CooperationEconomic Growth
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