Private Sector Sends Powerful Market Signal to Commercialize Zero-Carbon Tech, as Key Coalition Tops 50 Members

Published
25 May 2022
2022
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Katherine Docampo, Head of Impact Communications, kpav@weforum.org, +41 79 593 6211

  • More than 50 companies have now joined the First Movers Coalition, launched by President Biden of the US and the World Economic Forum at COP26 to decarbonize the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors responsible for 30% of global emissions.
  • The companies – whose market cap represents about $8.5 trillion across five continents – have sent the largest market signal in history to commercialize emerging clean technologies by making unprecedented advance purchase commitments by 2030 for near-zero carbon steel, aluminium, shipping, trucking and aviation, as well as advanced carbon dioxide removal solutions.
  • Two new sectors have launched – aluminium and carbon dioxide removal:
    - For aluminium, companies commit to purchasing aluminium produced with lower emissions than any facility in the world is currently capable of.
    - For carbon dioxide removal, companies make financial or volume commitments. Alphabet, Microsoft and Salesforce are collectively committing $500 million in carbon removal by 2030 and Boston Consulting Group is committing to remove 100,000 tonnes of carbon by 2030.
  • Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom have joined the US as government partners to create early markets for clean technologies through policy measures and private sector engagement.
  • US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry is at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 this week to maximize momentum for this flagship initiative. Read more here.

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 25 May 2022 – The First Movers Coalition, a flagship public-private partnership to clean up the most carbon-intensive industry sectors, from heavy industry to long-distance transport, announced today a major expansion to more than 50 corporate members worth about $8.5 trillion and a total of nine leading governments, including the US, covering over 40% of global GDP.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry made the announcement alongside Bill Gates, founder of Breakthrough Energy, at a press briefing hosted by the World Economic Forum.

Led by the World Economic Forum and the US Government, the First Movers Coalition targets sectors including aluminium, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, steel, and trucking, which are responsible for 30% of global emissions – a proportion expected to rise to over 50% by mid-century without urgent progress on clean technology innovation.

For these sectors to decarbonize at the speed needed to keep the planet on a 1.5-degree pathway, they require low-carbon technologies that are not yet competitive with current carbon-intensive solutions but must reach commercial scale by 2030 to achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050. To jump-start the market, the coalition’s members commit to purchasing – out of their total industrial materials and long-distance transport spending – a percentage from suppliers using near-zero or zero-carbon solutions, despite the premium cost. If enough global companies commit a certain percentage of their future purchasing to clean technologies in this decade, this will create a market tipping point that will accelerate their affordability and drive long-term, net-zero transformation across industrial value chains.

Today, the First Movers Coalition launched a major expansion across three dimensions:

1. New corporate members

Global technology giants Alphabet and Microsoft, along with AES, Aveva, Ball Corporation, BHP, Consolidated Contractors Company, Ecolab, Enel, EY, FedEx, Ford Motor Company, HeidelbergCement, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, National Grid, Novelis, PwC, Schneider Electric, Swiss Re and Vestas are new members. With this expansion, coalition membership exceeds 50 companies, with a collective market value of about $8.5 trillion – or more than 10% of the Fortune Global 2000.

2. New government members

In addition to the US Government, the coalition welcomes India, Japan and Sweden to the Steering Board, as well as Denmark, Italy, Norway, Singapore and the United Kingdom as government partners. These government partners will invite companies from their countries to join the coalition and will pursue public policies to commercialize the green technologies corporate members commit to purchasing.

3. New sector commitments

The coalition is launching two new sectors: carbon dioxide removal and aluminium, which join the four existing sectoral pledges (aviation, shipping, steel and trucking) launched at COP26.

Carbon dioxide removal

  • Alphabet, Microsoft and Salesforce have collectively committed $500 million to carbon dioxide removal (CDR). Microsoft will further serve as an expert partner by sharing lessons from its carbon removal auctions.
  • Boston Consulting Group (also the First Movers Coalition Knowledge Partner) commits to removing 100,000 tonnes of carbon.
  • >- Three additional companies have each committed to 50,000 tonnes or $25 million of carbon removal: AES, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Swiss Re.
  • All members must deliver on their commitments by 2030 and demonstrate that the carbon can be stored for more than 1,000 years.
  • Members’ carbon removal purchases will be supported by implementation partners, including Breakthrough Catalyst, Carbon Direct, Frontier and South Pole.
  • Why CDR? Carbon dioxide removal is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and locking it away. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report emphasizes that due to a lack of progress on emissions mitigation to date, limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5⁰C will now be impossible without carbon removal solutions.

Aluminium

  • Ball Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Novelis, Trafigura and Volvo Group are founding members of the coalition’s new aluminium sector, committing to have near-zero carbon emission from 10% of their primary aluminium purchases by 2030. This can only be achieved by producers who use advanced technologies that are not yet commercially available.
  • Why aluminium? Aluminium represents 2% of global emissions.

Quotes

  • US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said: “The purchasing commitments made by the First Movers Coalition represent the highest-leverage climate action that companies can take because creating the early markets to scale advanced technologies materially reduces the whole world’s emissions – not just any company’s own footprint. With today’s expansion, the coalition has achieved scale across the world’s leading companies and support from committed governments around the world to tackle the hardest challenge of the climate crisis: reducing the emissions from the sectors where we don’t yet have the toolkit to replace unabated fossil fuels and swiftly reach net-zero emissions.”
  • Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, said: “The coalition’s members are truly the ‘First Movers’ who are focused on scaling disruptive innovations that pave the way for long-term transformation rather than the lower-hanging fruit of short-term process efficiency gains. Once the tipping point is reached in the market, the First Movers Coalition will demonstrate that a net- or near-zero transformation across the value chain is not only possible but that it will be no more expensive than the high-emitting alternative.”
  • Mikael Damberg, Swedish Minister for Finance, said: “Sweden is proud to be joining the First Movers Coalition as a government partner. With a number of Swedish business actors already members of the coalition, we look forward to encouraging more actors to join as well as supporting the development of innovative solutions to facilitate the transition to net-zero globally. The Swedish experience shows that the transition paves the way for new jobs and strengthened competitiveness. The First Movers Coalition will accelerate this global movement.”
  • Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles of India, said: “India has been at the forefront of climate change actions. The idea of LIFE – “Lifestyle For Environment” – as highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the call for a global mass movement on sustainable lifestyles, is very critical for combating climate change. India has also taken global leadership with initiatives like the International Solar Alliance, One Sun One World One Grid, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. We believe that the need of the hour is to strengthen technological innovation so as to have cost-effective climate technologies on a larger scale. The First Movers Coalition has a huge role to play in this and to achieve our climate goals".
  • Koichi Hagiuda, Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, said, "Japan will be a ‘First Mover’ country to become a strategic partner country of the First Mover Coalition. Japan will contribute to the creation of initial demand for the critical technologies needed for the green transformation. Japan will also actively promote the supply of critical technologies in which it has strengths and work on the development of the necessary standards."

Explainer: Harnessing value chains to reduce the green premium of innovative technologies

The majority of decarbonization required across the seven so-called “hard-to-abate sectors” (aluminium, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, trucking and steel) – as well as the negative emissions needed for net-zero through carbon dioxide removal – cannot be achieved by the incremental efficiency gains offered by existing materials and technology solutions.

Today’s most commercially competitive clean energy technologies, such as renewable wind and solar energy, are decarbonizing the electric power system; but on their own they cannot clean up steelmaking, shipping, aviation and other hard-to-abate sectors. The necessary technological solutions – including green hydrogen produced using renewable energy, clean ammonia and near-zero carbon aviation fuels and technologies – are not yet commercially competitive. Yet, it is essential to bring them to market by 2030 to achieve global net-zero emissions by 2050.

The First Movers Coalition was inspired by the success of advance market commitments in driving innovation in other fields, from life-saving vaccines to commercial spaceflight. The coalition’s technical commitments were developed in close consultation with the sector Champions, the Design Committee and Expert Members, the Mission Possible Partnership, the Boston Consulting Group (First Movers Coalition Knowledge Partner), and Breakthrough Energy (First Movers Coalition Primary Implementation Partner).

Additional information on the First Movers Coalition can be found here.

List of First Movers Coalition members – New members are in bold

1. AES (CDR)

2. Agility (Shipping, Trucking)

3. Airbus (Aviation)

4. Alphabet (CDR)

5. Aker ASA (Shipping, Steel)

6. Amazon (Shipping)

7. Apple (Aviation)

8. AVEVA (Aviation)

9. Bain (Aviation)

10. Ball Corporation (Aluminium)

11. Bank of America (Aviation)

12. BHP (Shipping)

13. Boston Consulting Group (Aviation, CDR)

14. Boeing (Aviation)

15. Cemex (Trucking)

16. Consolidated Contractors Group S.A.L. (Steel)

17. Dalmia Cement (Trucking)

18. Deloitte (Aviation)

19. Delta Airlines (Aviation)

20. Deutsche Post DHL Group (Aviation)

21. Ecolab (Steel)

22. Enel (Steel)

23. Engie (Steel)

24. EY (Aviation)

25. FedEx (Aviation)

26. Ford Motor Company (Aluminium, Steel)

27. Fortescue Metals Group (Aviation, Shipping, Steel, Trucking)

28. HeidelbergCement (Trucking)

29. Holcim (Trucking)

30. Invenergy (Steel)

31. Johnson Controls (Steel)

32. A.P. Møller Maersk (Shipping)

33. Mahindra (Steel)

34. Microsoft (CDR)

35. Mitsui OSK (CDR)

36. National Grid (Trucking)

37. Nokia (Aviation)

38. Novelis (Aluminium)

39. Orsted (Steel)

40. PwC (Aviation)

41. ReNew Power (Steel)

42. Salesforce (Aviation, CDR)

43. Scania (Steel, Trucking)

44. Schneider Electric (Aviation, Shipping)

45. SSAB (Trucking)

46. Swiss Re (CDR)

47. Trafigura (Aluminium, Shipping)

48. Trane Technologies (Steel)

49. United Airlines (Aviation)

50. Vattenfall (Aviation, Steel, Trucking)

51. Vestas (Steel)

52. Volvo Group (Aluminium, Steel, Trucking)

53. Western Digital Corp (Shipping)

54. Yara International (Shipping)

55. ZF Friedrichshafen (Steel)

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