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Pathways to decarbonization

High-emitting and hard-to-abate industries are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes them priority industries for decarbonization. This collection of insights, developed by Deloitte’s leading global industry specialists, provides possible pathways to decarbonization for high-impact sectors. 

High-impact sectors and the road to net-zero

Decarbonization has become an urgent priority for governments, investors, regulators, businesses, and society at large. With the world at risk of failing to meet its Paris Agreement commitments—and surpassing the two-degree Celsius warming threshold—many businesses have set aggressive net-zero commitments. Companies from high-emitting and hard-to-abate sectors play a crucial role in this effort—from their own value chains to helping reduce Scope 3 emissions of other industries.

These high-emitting and hard-to-abate industries—which include power, steel, chemicals, automotive, food, and heavy road transport—account for approximately 82% of total global C0eq emissions (figure 1). While their decarbonization efforts are pivotal to hitting Paris Agreement targets, these companies are also burdened with long asset lifespans, high energy dependency, and complex electrification requirements. As a result, possible pathways to decarbonization may involve massive technology investments, business model evolutions, cross-collaboration—and the adoption of an entirely new business mindset. 

Building on feedback from clients, public sector teams, and the scientific community, these perspectives are designed to help leaders explore new modes of thinking, spark important conversations, and identify viable decarbonization pathways for their organizations.

Each of the sector perspectives offers a foundational starting point for leaders who would like to better understand the challenges, levers, policy and regulatory landscape across regions, success factors, stakeholders, and the enormous potential of clean hydrogen—and includes links to in-depth reports to explore more.