Climate change is an existential threat facing humanity, demanding unprecedented cooperation and innovative solutions. Rising to the challenge, 65 leading global companies have combined forces to form the First Movers Coalition, a ground-breaking initiative that aims to decarbonize heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors. These sectors are currently responsible for a staggering 30% of global emissions, demonstrating the urgency and significance of this venture.
An Unprecedented Collaboration
The Coalition consists of multinational corporations spanning five continents, collectively valued at over $8 trillion. These organizations range from consumer goods companies shipping products globally, to renewable energy companies that use steel to build wind turbines. Each member company has made a solemn pledge to commit towards the purchase of green technologies, resulting in a total commitment of $12 billion.
The goal of these commitments is to encourage and finance the development of innovative technologies to reduce emissions in particularly challenging sectors such as cement and concrete production, shipping, aviation, and trucking. The initiative also encompasses a commitment to exploring and implementing advanced carbon dioxide removal technologies, a critical component in the global race towards net-zero emissions.
Governmental Backing and Support
The initiative has garnered international support from a range of nations, including Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries, realizing the significance of the cause, have agreed to help create early markets for clean technologies. This support will be facilitated through policy measures and active private sector engagement, aiding in the transition towards greener industries.
Fuelling the Green Tech Revolution
The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, is playing a pivotal role in this initiative. Together, they are encouraging global businesses to invest in innovative green technologies. These financial commitments are projected to fast-track the scale-up of new technologies by 2030 and will be a crucial step towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
To this end, notable members of the Coalition such as Alphabet, Microsoft, and Salesforce have already made a collective commitment of $500 million towards carbon dioxide removal (CDR). Similarly, the Boston Consulting Group has pledged to remove 100,000 tonnes of carbon by 2030. These commitments symbolize a tangible shift in corporate responsibility and signal a growing consensus that decisive action is needed to counter the escalating threat of climate change.
The Climate Challenge and the Role of Technology
The stakes in our global fight against climate change are high. A rise of 2ºC in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels could lead to drastic changes in the Earth’s climate, making life unbearable for millions of people. To mitigate this risk and to reach the critical climate target of 1.5ºC, it is essential to rapidly develop and deploy new decarbonizing technologies.
Yet, it’s important to note the challenges. The technologies required to reduce emissions in the most polluting sectors are not yet commercially viable or readily available. Solutions such as hydrogen for reducing iron ore, green ammonia for fuelling ships, or carbon capture and storage remain either too costly or in the early stages of development.
Driving the Adoption of Clean Energy Technologies
To address these challenges, the First Movers Coalition is engaging with leading organizations and companies supplying clean energy technologies. By committing to purchasing a significant proportion of their industrial materials and long-distance transportation from suppliers using near-zero or zero-carbon solutions, despite the higher cost, the coalition aims to create a market for these technologies.
The Coalition firmly believes that if a significant number of global companies commit to forward purchasing of green technologies, it will create a tipping point. This could then accelerate the affordability and widespread adoption of these technologies, driving a long-term, net-zero transformation across entire industrial value chains.
A Roadmap to a Cleaner Future
The Coalition’s vision extends to six key sectors, namely carbon dioxide removal, aluminium, aviation, shipping, trucking, and steel, all earmarked for significant impact by 2030. As an example, companies such as Ball Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Novelis, Trafigura, and Volvo Group have committed that 10% of primary aluminium purchases by 2030 will have near-zero carbon emissions. This ambitious target can only be achieved by leveraging advanced technologies not yet commercially available.
To facilitate these changes, the Coalition aims to connect supply and demand players, leveraging the networks of companies and investors involved in initiatives like the Mission Possible Partnership. These networks include suppliers capable of demonstrating and scaling the technologies needed for Coalition members to meet their purchase commitments, as well as investors with the resources to fund demonstration projects and new facilities.
In summary, the First Movers Coalition represents a bold commitment from leading global companies to combat climate change. With the backing of governments worldwide and a strong focus on long-term transformative strategies rather than just short-term efficiency gains, the Coalition is charting a sustainable path towards a future with net-zero emissions. By creating a strong market demand for green technologies and facilitating the development of new solutions, this initiative offers hope in our collective battle against climate change.
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