It is 2050. Industries now look markedly different. Not only do they generate Net Zero emissions, but they also deliver tangible socio-economic and environmental benefits for the world at large. Think, dignified employment, social inclusion, regeneration of nature, to name but a few. No single factor explains this radical transformation. Rather, it is the outcome of a general convergence of positive trends, from new technologies and novel business models to progressive public policies, enlightened consumer choices and forward-thinking investment decisions.

Industrial production now follows a circular logic that sees resources reused again and again. Unnecessary waste is consequently a thing of the past. Furthermore, the volume of natural resources used by industry is now well within the planet’s capacity to replace. One of the most significant plus points of today’s industrial framework is the presence of positive feedback loops. Most notably, regulations, financial markets and consumer behaviours are all structured in such a way as to reward those businesses that act responsibly. Climate action has therefore become a source of competitive advantage. In a similar vein, data-driven transparency systems allow misaligned companies to be quickly identified. Consequently, these high-carbon legacy firms are fast disappearing.

Finally, placing our industrial system on a more socially responsible and environmentally sustainable footing is proving a boon for businesses’ competitiveness. Net Zero companies find they are far more resilient to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, for instance. (The same, incidentally, is true for the communities where they operate). Among other business benefits they report are considerable efficiency savings, lower costs, greater employee engagement, stronger brand loyalty, and early access to new markets.

Global Cement Breakthroughs

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ICT & Mobile Breakthroughs

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Pharmaceuticals Breakthroughs

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Join the Race

The global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery.


The Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign is a call to retailers everywhere to take ambitious climate action and set their plan to reach net zero by 2050 the latest.

Climate change remains one of the greatest and most complex challenges of our time and it is only by joining forces and collectively rethinking our industries that we will be able to tackle it.

“This campaign is a call to retailers everywhere to take ambitious climate action as they increasingly recognize the risks posed by climate change across their supply chains and operations. We need more retailers to join the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero and showcase leadership and commitment, like H&M Group, Ingka Group (IKEA), Kingfisher and Walmart,” Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Learn more about the retail campaign here.

How to Take Action
  • Introduce a carbon price for plastic and chemical industries by 2030, and fully implement targets set by national recycling bills by 2040.
  • Drive demand for green cement, aluminium and other key industrial commodities by setting a minimum percentage of zero-carbon materials used in all public construction projects.
  • Encourage circular production by strengthening Extended Producer Responsibility rules for the consumer goods industry and establish clear national standards for the re-use of recycled materials.
  • Implement regulations on disclosure of climate related information.
  • Apparel businesses to reduce emissions across all scopes by 30% by 2030, with clothing brands sourcing 100% renewable energy across their value chains by the same date.
  • Retailers to increase circular and plant-based product sales by 50% by 2030, with climate information appearing on all products and all problematic plastic packaging eliminated.
  • Cement and aluminium producers to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030, and chemical companies by 50% by the same date.
  • Introduce transition bonds for energy efficiency investments in the steel and mining sectors, and to divest from unsustainable mining projects.
  • Align portfolios with the Paris Agreement and net zero by 2050 goals.
  • Help scale nascent sustainability technologies across all industries through public-private research investments, with a particular focus on carbon-intensive sectors such as cement, aluminium and chemicals.
  • Stimulate the development of an incentivised secondary plastics market through support for measures such as Extended Producer Responsibility fees and appropriate carbon pricing.
  • Spur the decarbonisation of all industry sectors by helping advance breakthrough information and communications technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things.
  • Support efforts by chemical and mining companies to scale the use of renewable electricity throughout its value chain and propel low-carbon smelting technologies in the steel and aluminium sectors.
  • Accelerate plans for breakthrough technology deployment in the plastics industry and help retailers and consumer goods companies make better use of smart technologies.
  • Increase demand for apparel manufacturers and consumer goods companies to design products with high content of recycled materials, low/zero carbon footprint, strong durability and low levels of obsolescence.
  • Pressurise governments and businesses to provide comprehensive options for recycling and find innovative ways to repair, reuse and upcycle end-of-life goods.
  • Help make the world’s oceans become plastic-free by 2030 by reducing consumption of single-use plastic packaging and by encouraging retailers and consumer goods companies to develop sustainable alternatives.