First Movers Coalition: Corporates in high-emitting sectors convene to drive demand for cleantech
Boeing, Amazon and Volvo Group are among the members of a new coalition of businesses pledging to support the development of low-carbon technologies for hard-to-abate sectors like aviation and heavy industry, launched at COP26.
Called the First Movers Coalition, the initiative is being led by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the US Envoy for Climate, John Kerry. On the day of its launch (4 November) here in Glasgow, the Coalition has garnered the support of 29 founding member corporates across sectors including aviation, shipping, trucking, steel, cement, chemicals and aluminium.
Also represented is the direct air capture sector. Globally, the collective capacity of all operational CCS and carbon capture and usage (CCU) plants, including direct air capture, is estimated to be 38.5 million metric tonnes. These arrays are addressing less than one-thousandth of global emissions annually, which now exceed 50 billion tonnes. Proponents of CCS and CCU claim the market and installed capacity is growing rapidly, but that support from businesses needing the service is now crucial.
“For innovators and investors to play their part in tackling the climate crisis, they need clear market demand,” said WEF president Borge Brende.
“The First Movers Coalition will leverage the collective purchasing power of leading companies and drive the need for these technologies. I call on business leaders to work with us and be the role models keeping our climate goals alive.”
The Coalition will run through to at least 2030. Its launch comes shortly after more than 40 national governments joined a new ‘Breakthrough Agenda’, set up to help make clean technologies affordable and attractive in all geographies this decade. Wealthy and developing nations representing more than 70% of the global economy have supported this initiative, which aims to unlock 20 million new jobs and a $16trn economic boost.
The Coalition and the Breakthrough Agenda are working off the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) net-zero by 2050 scenario. The Agency has claimed that delivering around half of the global emissions reductions needed by 2050 will require technologies that are in early development, demonstration or prototype phases.
Here at COP26, developing nations including Barbados have implored wealthy countries not to view these technologies as a silver bullet, arguing that they should invest in existing solutions in the short-term as part of a holistic approach.
WEF executive fellow Anthony Hobley said: “I am more hopeful now than I was at the beginning of the week. This COP is the first truly public-private COP with agreements for industry and government coming together. This bodes well for COP action and implementation.”
Sector-specific focus areas
All founding members of the new Coalition have made a specific commitment regarding cleantech in at least one sector. The ambition is to create a rapidly-scaling market for specific technologies by 2030 – and a market that will continue expanding through to 2050.
The founding members are A.P. Møller – Mærsk; Aker ASA; Agility; Amazon; Apple; Bain & Company; Bank of America; Boston Consulting Group; Boeing; Cemex; Dalmia Cement; Deutsche Post DHL Group; Fortescue Metals Group; Holcim; Invenergy; Johnson Controls; Mahindra Group; Nokia; Ørsted; Scania; SSAB Swedish Steel; Trafigura Group; Trane Technologies; United Airlines; Vattenfall; Volvo Group; Yara International; Western Digital and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
Companies in the aviation sector are committing to using electric and hydrogen aircraft by 2030, as well as procuring lower-carbon options in the sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) space. Specifically, airfare and air fright purchasers, as well as airlines and air transport companies, set a target of replacing at least 5% of conventional jet fuel demand with SAF that reduces life-cycle emissions by 85% or more compared with kerosene.
Shipping carrier sector members commit to use zero-emission fuels in new and in retrofitted zero-emission vessels by 2030, with these furls accounting for at least 5% of their distance travelled by the end of the decade. Cargo owners set a target that at least 10% of the volume of their goods shipped internationally will be on ships using zero-emission fuels by 2030, on the way to 100% by 2040.
In the trucking sector, companies have committed to ensuring that at least 30% of their heavy-duty and 100% of their medium-duty truck purchases will be zero-emission trucks by 2030. Only zero-emission vehicles should be contracted or purchased going forward. Retailers and manufacturers will also set these requirements for trucking service providers.
Steel is the final sector for which the first phase of shared commitments has been launched. Steel users commit to ensuring that at least 10% of their annual steel procurement volumes by 2030 is met with net-zero or near-zero materials. The aim is to help producers adopt technologies including hydrogen direct reduction, carbon capture use and storage, and electrolysis-based production processes. Steel accounts for around 7% of global annual emissions and, outside of the First Movers Coalitions, purchasers are already putting pressure on manufacturers through forums such as The Climate Group’s SteelZero.
The remaining sectoral commitments will launch in early 2022.
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