Below50: new peak organisation for low-carbon fuels

Below50: new peak organisation for low-carbon fuels

Biofuels Digest

In California, a new global initiative called below50 has debuted, backed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials and Sustainable Energy for All to promote the best-of-breed of sustainable fuels that can achieve significant carbon reductions, and scale up their development and use.

Any company that produces, uses and/or invests in fuels that are at least 50% less carbon intensive than conventional fossil fuels can join below50. Companies must publicly commit to the campaign, show evidence that supports their claim, and disclose their progress towards achieving this goal.

The players

The initiative was launched at the LCTPi5 global round table in San Francisco. The companies and organisations driving the initiative include ABBI, Arizona State University, Audi, CGEE, Copersucar, DSM, DuPont, GranBio, the International Energy Agency (IEA), SkyNRG, Joule Unlimited, LanzaTech, LCFC, Novozymes, Pannonia, Poet, Red Rock Biofuels, RSB, SE4ALL and Yale University.

The rationale

The collaboration is designed to increase the number of companies using below50 fuels and demonstrate that these fuels make both good business and environmental sense. The campaign will centralise resources and dialogue; produce a go-to resource for regulators and policy-makers; create a marketplace for companies across the supply chain; and host regional road shows to engage financiers, policy-makers and companies, as well as explore how to regionally scale sustainable fuel technology.

The companies that adapt and work to mitigate climate change will be the ones to thrive in the emerging low-carbon economy. A 2°C world requires deploying all the available technologies that substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and with only three per cent of current transportation fuels considered to be low-carbon, below50 offers an untapped market opportunity for businesses seeking to flourish in a low-carbon economy.

Reaction from the principals

“We’re on the cusp of a clean energy future,” states Peter Bakker, president and CEO of WBCSD. “Below50 is accelerating that shift by scaling up the global market for sustainable fuels – it’s a huge growth opportunity that is expected to reach $185 billion over the next five years. Below50 brings together companies and organisations from around the world to help realise the ambition set in Paris at COP21, and in doing so, to unlock the economic benefits of the new low-carbon economy.”

“The below50 campaign is a great example of a cross-sectoral business platform to drive growth and commercialisation of sustainable technologies for low-carbon transportation fuels, together with investors and policy-makers,” said Rob van Leen, chief innovation officer of Royal DSM. “DSM recognises that the complexity of the issues is too big for any one party to tackle alone. These types of partnerships are a necessity to drive societal change.”

“With the critical need to de-carbonise the transport sector immediately to meet global climate change mitigation goals, we need initiatives like below50 that engage breakthrough sustainable mobility technology companies and large public & private sector institutions to accelerate scale up and impact,” said Brian Baynes, CEO of Joule Unlimited.

“A 2 degree rise in temperature is closer than we think. We have to be smarter than the problem. below50 is a way we can aggressively move towards a low-carbon future. Together, we must act now and ignore all calls to inaction,” said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of Lanzatech.

The Digest’s take

No more significant organisation, in potential, has appeared on the horizon in the history of renewable fuels — owing to its global reach, low-carbon focus, and the reputation of the players involved. We’ll be fascinated to see how the organisation turns ambition to practical action over the coming months.

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