Skip to main content

Exploring the co-benefits of a successful low carbon industry transition

25 November 2020, 13:51 GMT 3 min read

Eleven state and regional governments participating in the Under2 Coalition’s Industry Transition Platform recently met for a series of virtual workshops to explore the co-benefits to reducing industry sector emissions.

The workshops supported participants to step back and reflect on their industry emissions reduction strategies in the wider context of current regional government priorities. Governments explored a range of co-benefits to industrial emissions reduction that are aligned with their regional priorities and identified key stakeholder groups and potential allies to contribute to the development of their industry transition strategies.

Industry Transition Platform virtual workshop

Co-benefits lens to stakeholder engagement

Subnational governments will play an important role in providing their communities and businesses with the tools necessary to achieve a just transition. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a just transition towards green economies is fair and includes “maximizing opportunities for economic prosperity, social justice, rights and social protection for all, leaving no one behind."

Subnational governments, and their respective stakeholders, should consider co-benefits as part of the decision-making process as they develop and implement strategies for industrial emissions reductions that will achieve a just transition.

A core part of the virtual workshop had the Industry Transition Platform governments looking at the link between low carbon industry strategy development and these other government priorities, or “co-benefits”. They worked together to identify stakeholders, such as intergovernmental departments or youth movements, to consider the stakeholders’ needs through the co-benefits lens and to explore joint working opportunities.

Some of the co-benefits considered were: 

  • Green recovery
  • Equity
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Economic development
  • Job growth and retention
  • Education / skills training
  • Air quality and public health

Over the three days, the Industry Transition Platform governments highlighted the importance of co-benefits to their ongoing activities.

While their stakeholder maps looked different based on the political or personal context, many had similar challenges. Co-benefits provide a way to address these challenges by working with and incentivising industry through positive opportunities, such as job retention and economic growth. Job retention is important for maintaining communities while lowering emissions from industry, and investing in energy productivity measures can lead to huge financial savings and job growth.

The co-benefits lens also assisted the governments in identifying a richer spectrum of stakeholders that could be allies in lowering industry emissions. For example, youth movements represent an opportunity to work with departments of education and potential skills development to help tomorrow’s workforce understand the opportunities available and to provide optimism.

Some of the key takeaways:

  • Looking through the lens of the co-benefits helps with reaching a wider audience within internal governments, e.g. beyond the energy or industrial teams. 
  • Because of the economic recovery packages being rolled out due to COVID-19, there is an opportunity to work with internal government colleagues on the challenge of lowering industrial emissions and get them to explore new areas (e.g. green industrial policies) faster.
  • With the COVID-19 health and economic crises, even though they may have unique circumstances, many governments are facing a similar predicament. While the past year has been difficult, they are all still driving towards the same goal and must be prepared to see the opportunity.

The project to date

The workshop was held as part of the Industry Transition Platform, a joint project of the Climate Group and the German state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, funded by Stiftung Mercator. The project works with governments from highly-industrialised regions to develop strategies to cut industry emissions, while supporting growth, job creation and prosperity.

Since the project’s commencement in April 2019, governments have been working together, and in teams, on the shared challenges they face in transitioning their industries to be low carbon. Following the kick-off workshop in Milan and another workshop in Lille, they have participated in a series of group calls and webinars, and have recently received tailored research recommendations on Fostering Disruptive Innovation and Sustainable Hydrogen as drivers of the low carbon industry transition.

Next steps

Over the coming months, the participants will take part in further workshops as well as several webinars where experts will share experience and knowledge on overcoming the challenges associated with transitioning to low carbon industry. The project will run until July 2021 and learnings will be shared across the Under2 Coalition to help inspire other governments in their industry transition.