New York, USA, 24 September 2019—The World Economic Forum and the Energy Transitions Commission have launched the Mission Possible Platform to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century from a group of traditionally “hard-to-abate” industry sectors. The platform will host a series of climate initiatives, bringing together business leaders from heavy industry and heavy-duty transport sectors to work on concrete actions to set these carbon-intensive sectors on a path to climate neutrality, in collaboration with a network of experts and policy partners.
Responsible for about a third of global CO2 energy emissions today, heavy industry and heavy-duty transport have a vital role to play in limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and as close to possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Mission Possible Platform focuses on driving down emissions from the following heavy industry sectors: aviation, heavy-duty road transport, shipping, aluminium, cement and concrete, chemicals, and iron and steel.
Globally, CO2 emissions have gone up by 2% since the Paris Agreement. Emissions from the seven sectors covered by the Mission Possible Platform are projected to reach 15.7Gt by 2050, far from the net-zero target that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends. However, the Mission Possible Report, published by the Energy Transitions Commission in 2018, has raised hope by demonstrating that it is technically and economically possible for hard-to-abate sectors to reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century at a cost to the economy of less than 0.5% of global GDP, and with a minor impact on consumer prices.
Building on the conclusions from the Mission Possible Report, the Mission Possible Platform seeks to align the industry and transport sectors’ decarbonization pathways with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C (3.6°F), and as close to possible to 1.5°C (2.7°F). It aims to put the hard-to-abate sectors of the economy on path to net-zero emissions to avoid the dangerous consequences of not doing so outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2018 Special Report.
The Mission Possible Platform focuses on seven carbon-intensive value chains. Each sectoral initiative seeks to commit companies to ambitious emission reduction targets and to foster collaboration to scale innovative solutions and create a favourable environment for low-carbon investment. The platform brings together a variety of actors from business, finance, civil society and policy who will jointly work on establishing enabling policies, attracting sustainable finance, creating demand signals for low-carbon materials and services, as well accelerating the development of new technologies for the low-carbon transition of heavy industry and heavy-duty transport sectors.
The Mission Possible Platform will also collaborate with the Leadership Group for Industry Transition that Sweden and India, together with several other countries and industry leaders, launched at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit. The Leadership Group will work to accelerate the transition of the hard-to-abate industry sectors towards low-carbon industrial development while pursuing efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions and is the outcome of the Summit Industry track.
These are the initial Mission Possible initiatives, to be completed by new workstreams in the future:
Clean Skies for Tomorrow: An
initiative of high ambition CEO champions convened by the Forum and Rocky
Mountain Institute to accelerate the energy transition to sustainable
aviation fuels towards carbon-neutral flying.
Clean Road Freight Coalition: A
platform for multistakeholder collaboration along the trucking value chain
for advancing a net-zero CO2 emissions goal.
Getting to Zero Shipping
Coalition: A coalition across the maritime, fuels and infrastructure value
chains committed to getting commercially viable zero-emissions vessels
into operation by 2030.
Circular Cars Initiative: A
cross-industry alliance to advance shared, electric and automated
Aluminium for Climate: An
initiative of high-ambition CEOs to develop low-carbon smelting and
refining processes, increase renewable energy sourcing and recycling
Clean Cement and Concrete
Coalition: A coalition aimed at convening a business leadership group for
a net-zero future in a sector where half the emissions stem from the
production process itself rather than energy consumption.
Collaborative Innovation for
Low-Carbon Emitting Technologies in Chemicals: A coalition focused on
chemical industry emissions reduction led by the Chemistry and Advanced
Materials Governors Community at the Forum.
Net-Zero Steel Initiative: An
initiative mobilising corporate leadership to shape a favourable policy,
market and finance environment for low carbon investment and unlock
pathways to zero-emissions steel.
“The ETC’s Mission Possible Report
showed that it is possible for the hard-to-abate sectors of the economy to
reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at a low economic cost. What we need
now are the policies and investments which will drive a rapid transition. The
Mission Possible Platform will work with leading companies in each sector
to accelerate that transition,” said Lord Adair Turner, Chair, Energy
Quotes from our partners:
“Aviation has to get to net-zero emissions. Sustainable fuels are critical to
achieving this and we are delighted to join airlines, other airports and fuel
companies through the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition
to drive the development and uptake of these fuels. This is an important step
towards making sustainable fuels commercially viable for the future,” said John
Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport Holdings.
“A healthy ocean is key to achieving the UN 2030 Sustainable Development
Agenda, and the Getting to Zero Coalition is an important move in the right
direction. Business as usual will not get us where we need to be to achieve
sustainability – so it is very encouraging to see hard-to-abate sectors like
global seaborne trade boldly stepping up to chart this new course. We look
forward to working with associated sectors like aviation and trucking to help
them follow in the wake of this inspiring initiative. Let us all support the
continued development of cleaner technologies and new fuel solutions,” said
Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean and Co-Chair, Friends of Ocean
“Aluminium will be a central material to the low-carbon economy. It is
imperative for the industry to set targets in line with 1.5°C pathways,” said
Lord Gregory Barker, Executive Chairman of the EN+ Group.
“To meet the Paris goals, we all have to contribute. There is a lot of untapped
potential for GHG emission reduction by industries, which collaborative
platforms such as Mission Possible can help accelerate. We need to work
together, as an industry, to help propel the most promising innovations in
areas such as biomass use, carbon utilization or process improvements. They
will enable us, together with our customers, stakeholders and communities, to
deliver a 1.5-degree world,” said Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM.
“The chemical industry contributes to climate protection and resource
efficiency with its many sustainable products, but also with low-carbon
production processes in areas such as alternative raw materials from waste,
plants and CO2 or with regard to process electrification. In order
to scale up such technologies, the companies need to collaborate and co-invest
through platforms like Mission Possible,” said Markus Steilemann, CEO of
“As part of our ongoing collaboration with the World Economic Forum, Mission
Innovation looks forward to exploring opportunities for interested members to
work with the Mission Possible Platform to facilitate public-private
collaboration in harder-to-abate sectors,” said John Loughhead, Chair of the
Mission Innovation Steering Committee.
List of initiatives under the
Mission Possible Platform:
Aviation: Clean Skies for
With air travel predicted to double by 2035, the aviation sector could
represent a significantly higher share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
by mid-century compared to its 2%-3% share today.
The Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition provides a crucial mechanism for top
executives and public leaders, across and beyond the aviation value chain, to
align on a transition to sustainable aviation fuels as part of a meaningful and
proactive pathway for the industry to achieve carbon-neutral flying.
Stakeholders will work together to address the chicken-and-egg scenario whereby
producers and consumers are both either unwilling or unable to carry the
initial cost burden of investing in new technologies to reach a scale where
they are competitive with existing fossil fuel-derived options.
Champions of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition will advance co-developed
initiatives to break this impasse, to advance the commercial scale of viable
production of sustainable low-carbon aviation fuels (bio and synthetic) for
broad adoption in the industry by 2030. Initiatives include a mechanism for
aggregating demand for carbon-neutral flying, a co-investment vehicle and
geographically specific value-chain pilots.
The Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition is led by the World Economic Forum in
collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Energy Transitions
Commission. It is advanced through close consultation with advisory partner,
the Air Transport Action Group.
Founding champions include: Heathrow Airport, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Royal
Schiphol Group, Shell, SkyNRG, SpiceJet and The Boeing Company.
Heavy-duty road transport:
Clean Road Freight Coalition
On its current trajectory, emissions from heavy road transport are set to grow
from ~2.5 Gt to 4.6 Gt CO2e and the trucking industry could represent well
above 10% of GHG by mid-century. While new technologies from batteries to
e-highways and hydrogen are under way, the sector is not on track to meet the
The Clean Road Freight Coalition will provide a platform for multistakeholder
collaboration on topics ranging from standard setting to infrastructure
development, produce consistent policy asks, develop fact-based technology
roadmaps for the industry and precipitate company commitments towards net-zero
and science-based targets.
It is an initiative of the World Economic Forum, with technical support by
Key partners include: Scania and Volvo.
Shipping: Getting to Zero
International shipping emits 2%-3% of global GHG emissions, transporting close
to 90% of global trade by volume. Decarbonizing the shipping industry will
require that commercially viable zero-emission vessels (ZEVs) enter the global
fleet by 2030 with their numbers scaled through the 2030s and 2040s.
The ambition of the Getting to Zero Coalition is to have commercially viable
ZEVs operating along deepsea trade routes by 2030, supported by the necessary
infrastructure for scalable zero-carbon energy sources including production,
distribution, storage and bunkering.
The Getting to Zero Coalition is an initiative led by the Global Maritime Forum
and the Friends of Ocean Action. Technical support is provided by the Energy
Transitions Commission, the University of College London, and the Environmental
Key partners include Citi, Cargill, Euronav, Lloyds Register, Maersk, Shell and
Aluminium: Aluminium for
Reaching net-zero carbon emissions in the aluminium industry requires
low-carbon smelting and refining processes, renewable energy sourcing and
increased recycling. This would have significant climate benefits: Globally, CO2
emissions could be reduced by 300 Mt a year in 2050, and in Europe by close to
Aluminium for Climate will show how the industry can become a positive
contributor to a net-zero GHG economy, increase stakeholder knowledge of
technology pathways, create demand mechanisms for low-carbon aluminium and
present common policy asks when engaging policy-makers and regulators.
Chemicals:Collaborative Innovation for Low-Carbon
Due to global population growth and expansion of the middle class, it is
expected that demand for chemicals and materials will quadruple by 2050. At the
same time, achievement of the Paris Agreement goals requires the chemical
industry to significantly reduce their emissions (45% reduction compared to
2017 by 2050, despite a 40% increase in primary chemical output).
The objective of the initiative is to accelerate the development and upscaling
of low-carbon emitting technologies for chemical production through
collaboration for a marked reduction in GHG emissions in the chemical industry.
A series of low-carbon emitting technologies will be identified and
prioritized, and parallel project teams will address technology, regulatory,
funding, market and collaboration challenges to accelerate their deployment.
The outcome of the initiative is the consolidation of alliances for the
collaborative implementation of the prioritized technologies, potentially
structured as joint ventures, start-ups, alliances and others.
The initiative is led by the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Governors
Community at the World Economic Forum.
Leading partners include BASF, Covestro, DSM and SABIC.
Cement and concrete: Clean
Cement and Concrete Coalition
Concrete production accounts for about 8% of annual global CO2
emissions. Up to 95% of that stems from cement production. These emissions are
difficult to cut: 60% are an unavoidable result of chemical processes, the
remaining 40% arise from heat generation. The rising global population and
urbanization patterns, coupled with infrastructure development needs, drive up
the demand. Global cement production is set to grow by 12%-23% by 2050 from the
The coalition will focus its work on areas that require cross-industry and
multistakeholder collaboration, such as standard-setting and demand creation.
The work plan includes the development of unified policy asks, an industry
roadmap to net-zero carbon emissions and enlarging the circle of
progressive companies committing to targets based on
a net-zero vision.
Steel: Net-Zero Steel
Global carbon emissions from iron and steel production are currently around
2.3Gt a year, or about 7% of global energy system emissions. Business-as-usual
scenarios suggest that this could rise to 3.3Gt a year by 2050. Multiple
technology pathways to decarbonize steel production are already being developed
but, in a highly competitive sector, market signals are lacking to unlock
The net-zero steel initiative will mobilise steel industry leaders who want to
work together to shape the favourable policy, market and finance environment
required to underpin the transition to zero carbon emissions in steel. It will
focus in particular on presenting an ambitious, unified front when engaging
policy-makers and stimulating demand for low-CO2 steel products.
The Net-Zero Steel Initiative is led by the Energy Transitions Commission, in
collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
Circular Cars Initiative
Cars are responsible for 90% of air pollution in cities and contain, on
average, 1.4 tons of material, little of which is recovered at the end of life.
Individual mobility is currently undergoing a fundamental transformation,
driven by technological advancements on the one hand and environmental concerns
on the other.
The Circular Cars Initiative (CCI) is committed to highlighting the impact of
circular cars on the cost development and footprint of automotive mobility. The
initiative works towards transforming the industry through the lens of the
circular economy and mobility as a service. This will be delivered through
three focus areas: design for longevity through sharing and pooling concepts;
improved materials management; and advanced remanufacturing.
The CCI engages stakeholders along the automotive value chain, including
material suppliers, fleet operators, re-manufacturers, recyclers, data
platforms and regulators to capitalize on this transformation.
The CCI is a collaborative initiative between the World Economic Forum and the
World Business Council for Sustainable Development, with technical support by
Key partners include EIT Climate-KIC and LeasePlan.
The Sustainable Development Impact Summit takes place in New York, 23-24
September. This year’s meeting will convene more than 800 regional and global
leaders from government, business, civil society and academia. The meeting will
explore four themes: transforming markets, accelerating climate action,
financing sustainable development and mobilizing action for inclusive
The Co-Chairs of the Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2019 are Jesper
Brodin, CEO and President, Ingka Group (IKEA Retail, Ingka Centres, Ingka
Investments); Sebastián Piñera Echenique, President of Chile; Mark Rutte, Prime
Minister of the Netherlands; and Melati Wijsen, Co-Founder, Bye Bye Plastic Bags.
The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. (www.weforum.org).