Stakeholder engagement is a key enabler for the industry transition

Reading time: 5 minutes
10 October 2019

As part of the Under2 Coalition’s Industry Transition Platform project, state and regional governments have come together to develop strategies to cut industry emissions while supporting growth, job creation and prosperity.

In the second project webinar, The Climate Group welcomed key industry stakeholders to address the importance of collaborative government-business relationships and discuss the ways in which successful engagement can help to overcome barriers and develop solutions in line with the transition to low carbon industry.

Presentations were given by Jonas Loholm Hamann, Communication and Public Affairs Advisor at Danfoss A/S and Chris Williams, Energy Research Manager at Tata Steel.

The importance of public-private engagement

State and regional governments are often responsible for the development and implementation of policies that have the most impact on climate change, as well as providing a critical link in the integration of climate policies between national and local governments.

A close dialogue between subnational governments and businesses allows innovative technologies to grow and insight to be given into how they might fit into the pathway towards clean industry. By engaging with businesses operating in the industrial sector, subnational governments can address challenges that may hinder progress towards their climate action targets. 

Jonas Loholm Hamann, Communication and Public Affairs Advisor at Danfoss A/S, commented: 

“At Danfoss, we have close working relationships at a regional and national government level, which allows us to share our innovative technologies and collaborate on how best they could be introduced to meet ambitious emission reduction goals.

“In my eyes, a strong private-public partnership is key to seeing the most significant changes; governments input on legislative requirements, and we offer technical expertise and innovation that drive the industry transition.” 

Consulting different stakeholders

When developing a strategy to cut emissions from industry, strong consideration must be taken for the stakeholders involved and the risk of any potential negative impacts.

Through the Industry Transition Platform, a strong focus of our work is on supporting governments from highly-industrialized regions to develop strategies to cut industry emissions, while supporting growth, job creation and prosperity. We also encourage states and regions to work directly with industry in their jurisdiction to ensure that the transition benefits everyone.  

During the webinar, it was highlighted that a struggle often faced by governments is gaining the trust of all stakeholders and ensuring that they understand why their industry should participate in the transition.

Chris Williams, Energy Research Manager at Tata Steel, commented: 

“Tata Steel employs around 6,000 people in South Wales and, in line with the government’s net-zero emissions targets, we are working with them to develop an integrated net-zero circular economy for the region’s industry.

“When working with stakeholders, the differing views of each must be considered. South Wales, for example, is home to a large number of diverse industries – including, oil, steel, cement, paper, glass and biomass – and so we have had to develop a strategy that outlines the route to cutting emissions within more challenging industries as well as supporting government targets.”

Aligning with ambitious targets

As state and regional governments continue to drive forwards their ambition to become climate leaders, the alignment of the industrial sector’s transition is key. As a 2050 vision starts to become clearer, governments should be supportive of businesses and collaborate to outline the options that exist to reduce emissions in the region, with the best interests of all stakeholders in mind.  

Example Q&A scenario (by Chris Williams):

1) Can this furnace be electrified?

2) If not, can it transition to hydrogen?

3) If both of the above are not feasible, what carbon capture & storage methods can be discussed?

4) How does this fit into the regional and national emission reduction strategies?

“South Wales’ ongoing Industrial Clusters Mission involves a number of different industries. To move the mission forwards, all stakeholders were required to come together to map out a net-zero vision that benefits the societal needs of 2030, 2040, 2050 and beyond; as well as being a strategy that others can learn from and replicate.”

“The Welsh Government have committed to achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2050 and so it’s crucial that plans for an industry transition should align with this.

“The framework we use splits the 2050 deadline down into decades from 2030 onwards and by doing this we hope to bring the urgency of the transition to the forefront and take suitable steps to keep the targets within reach.”  -  Chris Williams, Energy Research Manager at Tata Steel.

Concluding remarks

Industrialized states and regions are in a unique position to be at the forefront of bold climate action. At the subnational level, governments have the power and ability to experiment and stimulate industry innovation in a way that isn’t an option for national governments.

By participating in the Industry Transition Platform, state and regional governments are demonstrating that they are ready to take on some of the most difficult climate challenges.

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