Industry

Protecting the climate, reducing pollution, and strengthening economies.
The industrial sector, which includes cement, steel, and chemicals production, generates about one-third of all climate pollution, and this output is projected to grow at double the rate of overall greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
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However, the sector needs to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century to meet international climate goals. To catalyze this deep transformation, the ClimateWorks Industry program focuses on demand-side strategies, such as the application of circular economy principles and using public procurement to create demand for clean materials, as well as supply-side approaches to advance innovative industrial technologies and processes. Beyond climate impacts, many industrial processes rely heavily on burning fossil fuels, which releases harmful gases that are extremely detrimental to human health. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.6 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution. If we move industry on a path to cleaner, more efficient production and processes, we can breathe cleaner air, keep our water supply free of harmful chemicals, reduce hazardous waste, and protect our planet.

Our Industry Program

Creating and strengthening markets

Governments around the world are the biggest purchasers of industrial materials. In the U.S. alone, half of all cement is purchased using taxpayer dollars. By supporting advocacy efforts that push governments to procure clean materials in public construction projects, we aim to develop and strengthen demand for clean industrial materials. In California, ClimateWorks played an integral role in supporting the 2017 Buy Clean Act, which requires state agencies to consider the embedded carbon emissions of industrial products like steel and cement when contracting for state-funded infrastructure projects.

Efficient use of materials

Nearly half of all industrial emissions come from the production of building materials. To address this major source of greenhouse gases, we focus on coordinating efforts by governments, steel and cement manufacturers, architects, and construction companies to scale solutions such as substituting carbon-storing wood for carbon-emitting materials like steel, and designing buildings to use less of the most emissions-intensive materials. By also encouraging the recycling and reuse of building materials, we aim to make buildings more sustainable and aligned with a safe and stable global climate.

Clean industrial processes

Making meaningful reductions in emissions will require significant capital and technological improvements to existing factories. The incentive for creating new technologies and for industries to spend the capital needed to replace old ones will come from a sharp rise in demand for cleaner, more efficient industrial goods. We promote the benefits of clean materials production to generate consumer demand and help push the required technological innovations from infancy to maturity.

Related Resources

Portfolio Team

Rebecca Dell

Rebecca Dell

Program Director, Industry

Dan Fahey

Dan Fahey

Program Associate, Industry

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Climate change calls for coordinated global action. ClimateWorks empowers philanthropic donors with a range of strategies to help address the challenge.