Report | 2023

Corporate Carbon Neutrality: Strategic Options, Action Framework, and Best Practices

The Case of Heavy Industry

By Ting LiShuyi LiWei LiPeishan WangYujun XueRong Yan
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Companies have played an active role in leading the net-zero transition both globally and in China. Globally, in the steel, cement, petrochemicals and chemicals, and aluminum industries, companies with carbon neutrality targets have covered 31%, 18%, 18%, and 21% of their respective industry’s emissions as of May 2023. In China, more than 30 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the above sectors have proposed carbon targets since the announcement of the national commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

This report provides an overview of the current practices of companies in the four heavy industry sectors in working towards a net-zero future both internationally and in China. To compare companies’ decarbonization actions, we have proposed the Performance-Target-Action-Management (PTAM) framework to assess companies’ current emissions performance, targets, carbon reduction actions, and management mechanisms. The report also examines the actions of Chinese SOEs and international companies in the above four sectors, highlighting current best practices to provide insights for future actions.

The report proposes six recommended actions for Chinese SOEs, including setting emissions targets and roadmaps, strengthening carbon accounting and databases, building synergies across the industrial value chain, enhancing cooperation and R&D, accelerating the carbon market, and building robust infrastructures for low-carbon development. These measures can further unleash the potential and accelerate the zero-carbon transition of Chinese SOEs.