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WBA: Heavy Industries Should Lead Decarbonisation Efforts

The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) has published its first heavy industries benchmark, revealing that companies’ emissions intensity reductions are not currently aligned with the 1.5°C-by-2050 pathway. Sectors including aluminium, cement and steel are critical to the world’s decarbonisation journey, as they deliver the materials necessary for transitioning to a more sustainable future. Although good practice provides hope that robust transition planning is possible, there is not yet enough investment in market-ready technologies, the WBA suggested. “From electric vehicles to new homes, to wind turbines and solar panels, the demand for production from heavy industries will continue to grow in the next decade,” it said in a statement. “Yet, to meet decarbonisation goals, manufacturers and suppliers of these materials cannot maintain business as usual, as they are currently responsible for emissions representing 18% of global CO2.” The WBA assessed and ranked 91 influential companies globally – 12 in aluminium, 34 in cement and 45 in steel production, including the likes of Cemex, ArcelorMittal, Holcim, Chalco and Rio Tinto. Those 91 companies alone were responsible for 7% of global energy-related emissions in 2022. Only 24% of them disclosed expenditure in low-carbon technologies, while 50% scored 0 on ‘just transition’ indicators. As such, the WBA called for them to show leadership and take urgent action to support a low-carbon future – adding that policymakers, investors and other stakeholders should hold them accountable. “Heavy industries provide a massive opportunity to help us reach and cement a rapid, just transition – but if these sectors do not accelerate action, they will be a significant obstacle to global decarbonisation targets,” said Vicky Sins, Decarbonisation and Energy Transformation Lead at the WBA. The alliance also suggested that heavy industry companies should triple their emissions intensity reduction over the next five years to align with the 1.5°C trajectory. If this is not achieved by 2030, the need for more market-ready technologies will be even more critical, it added.

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