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First Movers Coalition launched to drive demand for zero carbon tech

Roughly half of the emission reductions needed to reach the 2050 climate goals rely on technologies in early development, demonstration, or prototype phases. Accelerating innovation in this decade is critical to bringing these technologies to market and making them cost-competitive. To jumpstart this effort, the World Economic Forum (WEF), in partnership with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, announced the First Movers Coalition during COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

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The World Economic Forum (WEF), in partnership with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, has announced the First Movers Coalition – a new platform for companies to make purchasing commitments that create new market demand for low carbon technologies – during COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland (photo courtesy First Movers Coalition).

The First Movers Coalition is a new platform for companies to make purchasing commitments that create new market demand for low carbon technologies. The commitments aim to be collectively significant enough to commercialize decarbonization technologies.

The First Movers Coalition is a platform for the world’s leading global companies to make purchasing commitments to create early markets for critical technologies needed to achieve net-zero by 2050. In this critical decade, we not only need to deploy as rapidly as possible existing clean energy technologies, such as wind turbines, solar panels, and battery storage but also drive innovation for our long-term decarbonization goals, said John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

The First Movers Coalition will create a long-term impact by driving milestones this decade through investment into these technological solutions and will work across eight key sectors.

Seven of these sectors — steel, cement, aluminum, chemicals, shipping, aviation, and trucking—account for more than a third of global carbon emissions, but do not have cost-competitive clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels.

The eighth, direct air capture (DAC), could reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels to help achieve net-zero global emissions but also requires technological innovation to reach commercial viability.

The First Movers Coalition provides opportunities for a wide range of companies to make commitments, take action and build the clean and profitable supply chains of the future. It also brings together a range of civil society and expert organizations to build momentum, complement ongoing efforts, and input into the design of the initiative.

Technology has given us the tools to reduce our emissions and build a stronger and more inclusive economy of the future. For innovators and investors to play their part in tackling the climate crisis, they need clear market demand. 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, said Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum.

Phase 1 commitments launched

These commitments target new technologies and aim to create a market by 2030 that can be ramped up to achieve decarbonization in 2050.

Founding members include A.P. Møller–Mærsk, Aker ASA, Agility, Airbus, Amazon, Apple, Bain & Company, Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group, Boeing, Cemex, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd, Delta Air Lines, Deutsche Post DHL Group, ENGIE, Fortescue Metals Group, Holcim, Invenergy, Johnson Controls, Mahindra Group, Nokia, Ørsted, ReNew Power, Scania, SSAB Swedish Steel, Trafigura Group, Trane Technologies, United Airlines, Vattenfall, Volvo Group, Yara International, Western Digital, and ZF Friedrichshafen AG have made commitments in at least one of these sectors.

Aviation: Members commit to using emerging technologies including sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with significant emissions reductions, electric, and hydrogen propulsion for air travel by 2030. Airlines and air transport companies set a target of replacing at least 5 percent of conventional jet fuel demand with SAF that reduces life-cycle GHG emissions by 85 percent or more when compared with conventional jet fuel, and/or using zero-carbon emitting propulsion technologies by 2030. Airfare and air freight purchasers set a target of replacing at least 5 percent of conventional jet fuel demand for air transport with SAF that reduce life-cycle GHG emissions by 85 percent or more when compared with conventional jet fuel, and/or zero-carbon emitting propulsion technologies by 2030 – in partnership with air transport operators.

Shipping: Members commit to using zero-emission fuels in new and in retrofitted zero-emission vessels by 2030. Carriers set a target that at least 5 percent of their deep-sea shipping will be powered by zero-emission fuels by 2030, enabled by ships capable of using zero-emission fuels. Cargo owners set a target that at least 10 percent of the volume of their goods shipped internationally will be on ships using zero-emission fuels by 2030, on the way to 100 percent by 2040.

Trucking: Members commit to purchase or contract zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) by 2030. These can include battery or fuel-cell electric vehicles and also incorporate renewable sources of electricity and hydrogen for charging. Trucking owners and operators also set a target that at least 30 percent of their heavy-duty and 100 percent of their medium-duty truck purchases will be zero-emission trucks by 2030. Retailers & manufacturers set a target that they will require all of their trucking service providers to meet the trucking owners and operators’ commitment by 2030.

Steel: Members commit to purchasing volumes of near-zero-emissions steel by 2030. The deployment of breakthrough iron and steelmaking technology is needed to deliver a net-zero steel sector with minimal residual emissions. These technologies include hydrogen direct reduction, carbon capture use and storage (CCUS), and electrolysis-based production processes. Steel purchasers set a target that at least 10 percent of their annual steel procurement volumes by 2030 meet or exceed the First Movers Coalition definition for near-zero emissions steel.

The remaining sectoral commitments will launch in early 2022.

If we across industries can create a strong demand for new technologies that need to be developed in order to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in some of the most difficult sectors, that can speed up the commercialization of these products and thereby be essential to reach the 1.5-degree target. This is fully in line with Vattenfall’s strategy to make fossil-free living possible within one generation and I am very optimistic about the future of this initiative, said Anna Borg, President, and CEO, Vattenfall, one of the founding companies.

Vattenfall has already committed to reducing CO2 emissions from its business travel by air by 50 percent 2019-2022 and to make Vattenfall’s car fleet fossil-free primarily via electrification.

At the same time as we commit on increasing the share of low-carbon products and services that we buy, we are actively working in partnerships to develop these technologies, like for example with SSAB and LKAB in the Hybrit initiative for fossil-free steel, and as we announced yesterday with SAS, Shell, and LanzaTech to investigate large scale production of sustainable aviation fuel. Altogether we see big business opportunities in driving the transition towards a fossil-free future, said Anna Borg.

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