State and regional governments collaborate on the industry transition

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15 November 2019

Last week, 12 government representatives from 9 highly-industrialized states and regions met in Lille, France, for the second three-day workshop of the Industry Transition Platform project.

Hosted by the regional government of Hauts-de-France, the workshop aimed to:

  • Consider industry stakeholder perspectives in relation to the project’s challenges
  • Allow governments to explore policy options available at the regional level that can support low carbon industry
  • Identify knowledge gaps and research needs

The project to date

Since the project’s commencement in April 2019, governments have split into teams based on the shared challenges they face in transitioning their industries to be low carbon and, following the kick-off workshop in Milan, have participated in a series of group calls and webinars.

The three project ‘Innovation Teams’ will focus on the following themes:

  • Sustainable Hydrogen
  • Fostering Disruptive Innovation
  • Leveraging Investment for an Efficient low carbon industry

Defining key priorities, challenges and opportunities

To make progress, it was important that the governments understood the regional context that each of their peers was operating in and, throughout the workshop, the focus on systems change enabled participants to support and challenge each other into new ways of visualizing the path to low carbon industry.

When collaborating on the challenges faced by each government, it was apparent that there were several knowledge gaps that, if filled, would allow for a more thorough understanding of the challenges and the creation of more innovative solutions.

Within the project, these knowledge gaps will be addressed through webinars, case studies, how-to-guides and a research paper that will be commissioned by each Innovation Team.

Industry insights: Dunkirk’s hydrogen roadmap

The workshop included a site visit to Project GRHYD - a trial that ENGIE Ineo is currently conducting that involves injecting hydrogen into the natural gas distribution network – as well as hearing insightful talks at Dunkirk’s Chamber of Commerce on the city’s green hydrogen strategies.

Launched in 2014, the first two years of the GRHYD project were devoted to a phase of technical and sociological studies, followed by a five-year demonstration phase of hydrogen injection.

With the aim of converting surplus energy from renewable sources into hydrogen, which is then blended with natural gas to power homes, the project aims to reduce natural gas consumption and increase the proportion of France’s energy from renewable sources.

Identifying policy actions and key corporate stakeholders

Governments shared their insights on engaging stakeholders to uncover industry needs, enablers and barriers to enacting the low carbon transition. Understanding the perspectives and priorities of corporate stakeholders was agreed to be instrumental in ensuring strong and productive public-private collaboration when designing policy.

From the discussions, it was highlighted that within governments there is a need to:

  • Understand the corporate culture you are working with i.e. top down or bottom up
  • Take into account the fact that, often, companies are able to work at a quicker pace than governments when it comes to change
  • Appreciate the need for corporates to remain relevant and competitive
  • Support corporate stakeholders with cross-industry collaboration in order to break down any silos that may affect a successful transition
  • Understand that industry transition requires collective change

Next steps

As the project continues, participants will take part in two further workshops and several webinars to share their experience and knowledge on overcoming the challenges associated with transitioning to low carbon industry. Learnings will be shared across the Under2 Coalition to inspire other governments to start their industry transition.


For more information on the Industry Transition Platform, see here.

The Industry Transition Platform is a joint initiative of The Climate Group, the Government of North Rhine-Westphalia, and funded by Stiftung Mercator. 

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