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Sustainable and responsible business

Sectoral approaches

Sectoral approaches offer a promising avenue for climate progress in key industries. This concept was recognised in the Bali Action Plan as one of the approaches for mitigation actions specifically identified as "cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific actions." Some sectors have already begun to chart a possible path for consensus on international sectoral regulation through voluntary business -to-business arrangements.

Sectoral approaches

Sectoral approaches provide for an analytical and policy toolbox to help stabilise greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions globally.

Sectoral approaches have the potential to help managing the transition towards a global low carbon economy, reducing and stabilising emissions globally. They offer a bridge strategy for the period 2012-2020 to encourage further developing countries action.

Sectoral approaches, as part of a comprehensive international climate change agreement, complement other mechanisms and policies.

'Proof of Concept' study

This study's objective was to help move beyond voluntary actions and facilitate participation by emerging economies in international climate change actions. By exploring proof-of-concept and gaining experience in formulating and applying industry-based sectoral approaches, it enabled policy makers around the globe to better understand the implications for GHG emissions and international market competition. In addition, it enabled emerging economies to identify untapped opportunities and measures available for reducing energy use and GHG emissions in key sectors.

The study consists of three main elements:

  • a practical data gathering and awareness raising exercise in certain industry sectors;
  • an analytical component to model the benefits of sectoral approaches;
  • a policy element to determine what would be needed to make sectoral approaches operational as part of a post-2012 climate framework.

The work covered both a country specific dimension, with studies and/or workshops being carried out in China, India, Brazil and Mexico, with a focus on the electric power, aluminium, cement, and iron and steel sectors. It contained a multi-lateral dimension looking at industry sectors in a global context. The study’s results (see Final report pdf - 7 MB [7 MB] ) indicate that sectoral approaches provide a good basis to advance even further in mitigation action, at national and international level.


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