Boost to heavy industry's net-zero transition

Monday, 26 July, 2021

Boost to heavy industry's net-zero transition

Key industry and finance companies are coming together to accelerate the shift to net-zero emissions in supply chains across ‘hard-to-abate’ sectors by 2050.

The Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative (Australian Industry ETI) focuses on reducing supply chain emissions across five sectors: iron and steel; aluminium; LNG; other metals, including copper, nickel and lithium; and chemicals, such as fertilisers and explosives. It aims to support Australian industry to realise the opportunities of a decarbonised global economy, through identifying the timing, scale and sequencing of actions required across manufacturers and energy generators to begin transitioning to net-zero emissions supply chains.

Rio Tinto and HSBC have joined 14 other major companies already part of the Australian Industry ETI, with other partners including BHP, Woodside, BlueScope Steel, BP Australia, Fortescue Metals Group, Orica, APA Group, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers, Aurecon, AustralianSuper, Cbus, National Australia Bank and Schneider Electric.

The initiative is run by independent not-for-profits ClimateWorks and Climate-KIC, in collaboration with the global Energy Transitions Commission. BloombergNEF has joined as a knowledge partner, alongside CSIRO and the Rocky Mountain Institute. It is funded by philanthropy, company contributions and the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Advancing Renewables Program.

ARENA has provided a $2 million funding boost, which will enable the initiative to develop credible pathways for these sectors to transition to net-zero emissions and pilot emissions reductions projects across different supply chains.

“The Australian Industry ETI is working to set Australian industry up to take up the opportunities in a decarbonised global economy,” ClimateWorks CEO Anna Skarbek said.

“Getting to net zero in the complex supply chains within these hard-to-abate sectors involves transformational solutions that are more than a single organisation can achieve alone as it requires simultaneous shifts of finance, investment and service providers.

“The Australian Industry ETI recognises getting to net zero requires collective action. With Rio Tinto and HSBC Australia signing on, its partners now make up approximately a quarter of the total value of the Australian stock market.”

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Kellie Parker added, “To decarbonise our operations and supply chains, and meet our climate goals, we will need to continue to partner with a wide range of stakeholders, including industry, finance and government.

“With large operations on both sides of the country, we support the aims of the Australian Industry ETI and hope the collaboration and sharing of ideas can help accelerate the reduction of industry emissions.”

HSBC Head of Global Banking Hamish Kelly said, “For years, HSBC has played an active role in helping our corporate customers achieve their sustainability goals. And with our partnership with the Australian Industry ETI, we now have an even stronger platform to progressively decarbonise heavy-emitting industries and help build a more sustainable, resilient and prosperous future.

“As a leading international bank in Australia, we have an important role to play in financing the low-carbon transition and accelerating the pace at which more sustainable solutions are developed.”

Initial research and analysis work focused on mapping technologies and key actors across the supply chains. Early findings revealed that existing and emerging technology solutions can address almost all emissions in the supply chains, and that Australian industry has much to gain from being leaders in the net-zero transition. For example, investment in green steel, green hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) will be important to reducing emissions in some of these hard-to-abate sectors. Industry partners will pursue these opportunities and other solutions in early action projects through the next phase of the initiative.

The Australian Industry ETI has also identified a ‘hub’ approach for supplying energy for manufacturing in existing industrial precincts as a key opportunity, and has secured industry partners with operations in major centres including the Pilbara and Kwinana in WA, the Hunter Valley and Port Kembla in NSW and Gladstone in Queensland.

The Australian Industry ETI highlights and technical reports are available at

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