Net-zero economy in process industry: A.SPIRE at COP26

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The COP26 in Glasgow happened 1-12 November 2021 has represented a pivotal moment in the fight to tackle climate change. A.SPIRE, with its Processes4Planet Partnershio co-programmed with the European Commission, took part in it with a side event organized in collaboration with Planet Tracker, the European Commission DG RTD and DG GROW and Zero Waste Europe.

The session "Towards a net-zero economy: dialogue of industry, capital markets and civil society", moderated by Ludo Diels, Chair of the A.SPIRE/Processes4Planet Advocacy and Programming Group, revolved around the European Process Industry aim to lead the transition to climate neutrality and circularity in line with the EU Green Deal, Fit for 55 and the Paris Agreement’s goals. Representatives from industry, civil society, policy makers and capital markets have debated how to accelerate this transition by prioritizing the right innovations, providing access to funding and setting out an agenda for change and a real impact.

Ludo Diels covered on process industries main and urgent challenges (high level of CO2 emissions, waste and reduced competitiveness) and elaborated on A.SPIRE goals: how can process industries deliver the materials needed to produce the goods consumers want in a more sustainable way? Processes4Planet Strategic Reseach and Innovation Agenda offers an overview of the Partnership ambitions for A.SPIRE 10 sectors.

John Willis, Director of Research at Planet Tracker presented the case study: "Plastics, The circularity Challenge" and Catherine Tubb, leader of Textile Programme at Planet Tracker reported on "Textile: a market in transition?". 

Pitches from Janek Vähk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution programme Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe, and Małgosia Rybak, A.SPIRE BoD member, Climate Change and Energy Director from Cepi highly contributed to the common discussion revolving around industry, capital markets and civil society vision on a net-zero economy. Words were spent around the role of istitutions with ad-hoc legislations in promoting easy solutions that still can have huge impact. Relevance has been given to the actions ignited from consumers requests under the transition happening in the civil society priorities. 

Lastly Doris Schroecker,Head of Unit at European Commission DG RTD, offered a Keynote on “Sustainable investments for a sustainable future”. The EU framework programme Horizon Europe for R&I will offer more than 95 billion euros in 7 years of investment, 30% dedicated to climate issues. Public investment and industrial commitment are both essential: we cannot reach climate and energy goals of the European Green Deal with just one of the two.

A system change is needed; the tools are in place and ready to be used.

A recording of the session is available here.