Transitioning Industrial Clusters towards Net Zero

Countries representing approximately 70% of the global economy have committed to net-zero emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. To deliver on these ambitious commitments, ecosystems such as industrial clusters, will play a key role. Industrial clusters (or industrial parks or zones) are geographical regions where energy supply and demand companies are co-located. Additionally, clusters often include a mix of both heavy and light industries. 

Clusters are considered economic growth engines and historically companies have co-located to take advantage of resource and logistic sharing, as well as access to infrastructure. This physical co-location can be leveraged to significantly reduce the emissions in industrial clusters, even enabling a transformation towards net zero emissions.

There are many approaches to reducing industrial emissions, most focus on specific sectors (such as the decarbonisation of steel, shipping or cement) or specific technological approaches (such as electrification or hydrogen substitution). These efforts are critical. However, there is also a need to focus on how industries can leverage the synergies of co-location and take an integrated approach to transitioning toward net zero. Industrial clusters are where sector specific decarbonisation efforts and clean energy technology deployment efforts converge to enable a systemic approach towards net zero emissions. This has been laid out in an initial report on Industrial Clusters – Working Together to Achieve Net Zero, developed by Accenture, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and multiple global energy companies.

Transitioning Industrial Clusters towards Net Zero

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Accenture and EPRI, launched the initiative 'Transitioning Industrial Clusters towards Net Zero' at COP26 in Scotland, to accelerate the transition of industrial clusters globally toward net zero emissions. FOUR global clusters have signed on to this initiative (from Australia, UK and Spain), through our ‘Statement of Ambition’ with a total emission reduction commitment equivalent to almost that of a country such as Denmark (approximately 30MT CO2). Through the initiative, a structured approach to financing, policy, technology and partnerships, combined with best practises from committed clusters, will enable other global clusters to accelerate their alignment on net zero targets. By 2024, the initiative aims for 100 industrial clusters to be signed up. 

For more information, please contact:

Louise Anderson - louise.anderson@weforum.org

Joanna Kolomanska-van Iperen - Joanna.Kolomanska@weforum.org

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