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Partnerships drive global decarbonization of heavy industry

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Partnerships drive global decarbonization of heavy industry

LeadIT is establishing win-win alliances between countries and companies that can break ground for major emissions cuts in the steel and cement sectors – and boost innovation and trade.

Published on 30 April 2024

The steel and cement industries between them currently produce around 15% of global CO2 emissions.
If the world is to meet its climate targets, these and other heavy industries must make rapid progress on low-carbon pathways. Achieving net zero in these sectors would also have major benefits for public health, drive technological innovation, and contribute to resilient, sustainable economies. LeadIT – the Leadership Group for Industry Transition – is a group of 18 countries and 20 major companies that are committed to action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. LeadIT was launched in 2019 by the governments of Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit. SEI hosts the LeadIT secretariat, helping to build partnerships and dialogue and providing tools and data to help countries and companies make progress on their net-zero targets.

Early leadership on decarbonizing heavy industry

When LeadIT was established back in 2019 by India and Sweden, many considered low-carbon transitions in emission-intensive industries to be unrealistic, but they are now happening apace through new partnerships between companies and governments, combined with shifts in global industrial policy.

LeadIT has helped to accelerate this shift by offering guidance and political impetus for many sectoral, demand-side, and innovation initiatives, specifically emphasizing the need for equitable transitions. LeadIT also serves as a bridge between industry, governments, and civil society and between richer and lower-income countries. These efforts are now coming to fruition through new partnerships as LeadIT enters its second phase.

India and Sweden launch partnership for industry transition

At a LeadIT event at the UN climate negotiations (COP28), the Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched a new industry partnership, supported by LeadIT.

The India-Sweden Industry Transition Partnership is based on a joint commitment to spearhead a more ambitious global industry transition. It is designed as a partnership for implementation, which will help deliver on India’s priorities for industry transition through tailored bilateral and multilateral technical and financial support. The partnership is committed to delivering concrete results by COP30 in 2025.

At the launch event, Kristersson emphasized each country’s shared commitment to LeadIT and the India-Sweden partnership. “We have decided to collaborate to strengthen relevant institutions and policy frameworks, co-develop technology, collaborate on research and innovation, and mobilize investments in the transition,” he said.

Modi also expressed optimism about the collaboration: “A new chapter is beginning with the launch of LeadIT 2.0. I believe that together we will be successful in writing a new green growth story for the next generation.”

Win-win opportunities for climate, innovation, trade, and industry

In 2023, LeadIT also helped develop plans for the UK-Brazil Industrial Decarbonization Hub, which aims to match international finance to activities that support decarbonization of Brazil’s industrial sector, in particular by promoting new clean technologies.

More major companies are seeking to join LeadIT because of the opportunities it provides to work with other companies to jointly achieve sustainable growth and reduce climate emissions.

A new chapter is beginning with the launch of LeadIT 2.0. I believe that together we will be successful in writing a new green growth story for the next generation.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

It has become a crucial platform for countries and companies to connect with each other to drive progress on decarbonization. Two new companies joined LeadIT in 2023: India’s Tata Steel, one of the world’s leading steel producers, and SaltX, a Swedish green-tech company that has developed an innovative technology for electrification and carbon separation that can be used to produce zero-emission quicklime and cement.

SaltX is collaborating with the leading Indian cement manufacturer Dalmia Cement Bharat, a founding and active member of LeadIT, which is making substantial investments in green growth and ambitious net-zero targets.

LeadIT 2.0 – pioneering the next phase of industry decarbonization

At COP28, LeadIT launched its second phase for 2024–26. This marks an important commitment from member countries and companies to drive inclusive industrial transition.

India’s Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, credited LeadIT with playing a pioneering role in fostering global partnerships and stated at the COP28 summit that, “LeadIT has emerged as a beacon of leadership, uniting industry pioneers, experts, and stakeholders to foster collaboration and drive meaningful change.”

The launch kicked off with a comprehensive review of LeadIT’s future direction. This review culminated in a three-year mission statement for LeadIT 2.0, adopted by LeadIT members at COP28.

Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition, expressed his support for LeadIT 2.0. “LeadIT is delivering on several fronts. The industry transition must be just and equitable, with particular attention paid to the needs and interests of the developing world,” he said.

LeadIT’s strategic direction for the next three years, along with the industry partnerships between India and Sweden and the UK and Brazil, sets a pioneering example for how countries can collaborate to drive green industry practices globally.

This change story is part of broader efforts detailed in our annual report 2023, highlighting SEI’s strategic commitments and impact over the past year.

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