Industries • Reducing industrial emissions: a strategic and complex objective

What does the industrial sector contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions? What can be done to reduce these emissions? This paper analyses the different industrial sub-sectors and their evolution.

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Thibault Laconde • Consultant, Energy & Development


The industry is a very heterogeneous sector comprising many sub-sectors such as plastics, metallurgy, textiles and leather, agri-food, electronics, electrical equipment and machinery, wood and paper, chemistry and pharmacy, etc. Despite their diversity, these activities have in common the transformation of raw materials and energy – whose carbon footprint is relatively easy to evaluate – into much more complex finished or semi-finished products. They therefore have an important role to play, both in limiting their own emissions and in helping to decarbonise world consumption.


1 • Emissions trends for the sector
• Emissions in stabilisation
• Contrasted trends by sector and by country
2 • Political action
• Carbon pricing
• Regulatory tools
• Voluntary approaches
3 • Three very distinct issues
• Emissions related to energy and electricity consumption
• The industrial process issue
• Downstream and upstream emissions
4 • Transverse approaches
• Transparency and voluntary commitments
• Cooperation
• Internal or local carbon prices


Characterised by the diversity of products, processes and locations of installations, industry is not very accessible to general solutions to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The fight against climate change most often involves an approach using innovation at the scale of the site or activity. This specificity makes it essential to mobilise industrial players themselves and their stakeholders.