At the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the United States announced the launch of the First Movers Coalition, a new platform for companies to harness their purchasing power and supply chains to create early markets for innovative clean energy technologies that are key for tackling the climate crisis. Announced by President Biden at the COP26 World Leaders Summit, the First Movers Coalition was created through a partnership between the U.S. State Department’s U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and the Office of Global Partnerships, and the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Energy.
At the launch of the First Movers Coalition, more than 25 Founding Members—leading companies from a wide range of industries around the world—made commitments to spur the commercialization of emerging technologies in this decade. The First Movers Coalition’s unique approach assembles ambitious corporate purchasing pledges across sectors that represent more than a third of global carbon emissions and span heavy industry and long-distance transportation. The technologies needed to decarbonize these “hard-to-abate” sectors are not yet commercially available or competitive but are essential to bring to market by 2030 to enable their rapid scale-up to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said, “The First Movers Coalition is a platform for the world’s leading global companies to make purchasing commitments to create early markets for critical technologies needed to achieve net-zero by 2050. In this critical decade, we not only need to deploy as rapidly as possible existing clean energy technologies, such as wind turbines, solar panels, and battery storage, but also drive innovation for our long-term decarbonization goals.”
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said, “The private sector has a leading role to play in finding innovative solutions, bringing new and clean technologies to market, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The voluntary commitments made by First Movers Coalition members send clear demand signals that will help ensure the technologies we develop will meet our climate goals. That’s what the First Movers Coalition is all about. If we strengthen our collaboration on this critical issue while staying true to our values of equity, inclusivity, and science, we’ll lead our world toward a clean energy future.”
Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, said: “Technology has given us the tools to reduce our emissions and build a stronger and more inclusive economy of the future. For innovators and investors to play their part in tackling the climate crisis, they need clear market demand. The First Movers Coalition will leverage the collective purchasing power of leading companies and drive the need for these technologies. I call on business leaders to work with us and be the role models keeping our climate goals alive.”
Sectors and Commitments
The International Energy Agency forecasts that roughly half of the emissions reductions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 must come from technologies that are not currently ready for commercial markets. The First Movers Coalition focuses on accelerating innovation in eight sectors where these technology needs are concentrated: steel, trucking, shipping, aviation, cement, aluminum, chemicals, and direct air capture.
Today, the First Movers Coalition is launching a first phase of sectoral commitments in steel, trucking, shipping, and aviation. The remaining sectoral commitments will launch in early 2022. The purchasing commitments were developed in close consultation with public-, private-, and civil-sector technical experts. The First Movers Coalition purchasing commitments are technology-neutral, but they include ambitious performance standards to target the next generation of innovative solutions that can play a leading role in decarbonizing a sector.
The sectoral purchasing commitments were developed through a range of stakeholder consultations, including with civil society and expert organizations. Additional information on the purchasing commitments and on the First Movers Coalition can be found through the World Economic Forum here.
Founding Member companies have made commitments in at least one of these sectors:
- Steel: Members commit to purchasing volumes of near-zero emissions steel by 2030. The deployment of near-zero emissions iron and steelmaking technology is needed to deliver a net-zero steel sector with minimal residual emissions. These technologies include hydrogen direct reduction, carbon capture use and storage, and electrolysis-based production processes. Steel purchasers set a target that at least 10 percent of their annual steel procurement volumes by 2030 meet or exceed the First Movers Coalition definition for “breakthrough steel.”
- Trucking: Members commit to purchase or contract zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles by 2030. These can include battery or fuel-cell electric vehicles, which enable the use of clean sources of electricity, and hydrogen, for charging. Trucking owners and operators also set a target that at least 30 percent of their heavy-duty and 100 percent of their medium-duty truck purchases will be zero-emission trucks by 2030. Retailers and manufacturers set a target that they will require all of their trucking service providers to meet the trucking owners’ and operators’ commitment by 2030.
- Shipping: Members commit to use zero-emission fuels in new and in retrofitted zero-emission vessels by 2030. Carriers set a target that at least 5 percent of their deep-sea shipping will be powered by zero-emission fuels by 2030 and on ships capable of using zero-emission fuels. Cargo owners set a target that at least 10 percent of the volume of their goods shipped internationally will be on ships using zero-emission fuels by 2030, on the way to 100 percent by 2040.
- Aviation: Members commit to use emerging technologies including advanced sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with significant emissions reductions as well as electric and hydrogen propulsion for air travel by 2030. This commitment recognizes and builds on the Biden administration’s Sustainable Aviation Fuels Grand Challenge.
- Airlines and air transport companies set a target of replacing at least 5 percent of conventional jet fuel demand with SAF that reduces life-cycle GHG emissions by 85 or more when compared with conventional jet fuel, and/or using zero-carbon emitting propulsion technologies by 2030;
- Airfare and air freight purchasers set a target of replacing at least 5% of conventional jet fuel demand for air transport with SAF that reduces life-cycle GHG emissions by 85 percent or more when compared with conventional jet fuel, and/or using zero-carbon emitting propulsion technologies by 2030—in partnership with air transport operators.
A.P. Møller – Mærsk
Bain & Company
Bank of America
Boston Consulting Group
Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited
Delta Air Lines
Deutsche Post DHL Group
Fortescue Metals Group
ZF Friedrichshafen AG