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Corporate Climate Stocktake 2023

The Corporate Climate Stocktake offers a unique snapshot of corporate climate action today and examines what this means for delivering emissions reductions tomorrow.

At COP21 in 2015, with the negotiation of the landmark Paris Agreement, world leaders agreed that in 2023 they would take stock of their collective efforts to meet its goals. As nearly 200 nations prepare to meet in Dubai this year for COP28, the culmination of the first UNFCCC Global Stocktake represents a critical moment to course correct and to accelerate climate action where it is most needed. And as nation states are taking stock, so is business.

The Corporate Climate Stocktake (CCST) led by the We Mean Business Coalition and supported by the Climate Champions Team team and Bain & Company, represents the most ambitious, forward-looking review to date of private sector progress, obstacles and opportunities for achieving net zero. Looking in detail at eight sectors – power, road transport, concrete & cement, steel, shipping, hydrogen, aviation and agriculture – the research presents progress against international or national targets, and identifies the barriers faced by businesses that are rapidly decarbonizing to meet their climate targets. 

The private sector has a fundamental role to play in implementing the solutions that will get the world to net zero. This means it is vital to understand business views on decarbonisation. Based on surveys of 250 business leaders and detailed interviews with sector leading companies, industry experts, as well as an assessment of forward-looking indicators and corporate commitments, the Stocktake has captured evidence from business leaders at the forefront of driving the change in their industries. This allows us to better understand the pace of change in each sector, the barriers they are facing, and what our most ambitious companies need from governments to go faster.  

DOWNLOAD: Corporate Climate Stocktake 2023 (pdf)

Sector-specific findings

In the run up to COP28, we will release the full series of in-depth, sector-specific findings

Road transport

Our analysis finds rapid progress in scaling passenger vehicle uptake in both the established markets of Europe, the US and China, as well as emerging markets, where electric cars are not common. However, financing, grid capacity and consumer interest pose challenges in developing economies, while strategic policy support and investment will be needed to overcome high costs in the road freight sector. 



Our research examines a range of barriers and opportunities in the power sector, including how China and South-East Asia can move beyond legacy coal for electricity production, and how regions like Latin America and Africa, with less legacy coal capacity, can meet rising power demand with renewables. Clean energy growth must be coupled with investment in transmission infrastructure to prevent energy bottlenecks. We see this in the US, a country on track to decarbonize its power sector by 2030, where planned transmission infrastructure will only be able to handle 20% of the energy needed to reach net zero. Supportive regulation is needed which drives investment in grid technology and improves flexibility.  

Infographic showing power sector findings from the Corporate Climate Stocktake Report


Concrete and Cement

We examined opportunities for reducing emissions from the concrete and cement sectors – which currently account for ~7% of total GHG emissions. 88% of lifecycle emissions coming from one ingredient: clinker. Alternatives to clinker are already being developed by businesses but these are not yet at cost parity. As procurers of ~1/3 of the world’s cement, governments have a role to play in supporting and mainstreaming low-carbon alternatives. 

Concrete and cement infographic with statistics about how to make the cement industry low carbon.



Globally, we are entering a period of high steel plant turnover. Construction decisions made today will have an impact years into the future. Now is the time to replace polluting blast furnaces with low emissions technology. Our analysis looks at how the industry can produce near zero-emission steel. But to do this at scale the inputs (green hydrogen, recycled scrap steel and renewable energy) must also be ready to scale. System-wide action to hit national targets on renewable energy, clean hydrogen and recycling are critical to steel system decarbonization.  


Hydrogen plays a crucial role in the decarbonization of key industries such as steel, shipping, and freight. However, over 50% of surveyed leaders identify the commercial viability of green hydrogen and supporting infrastructure as major hurdles. Sustained government intervention is going to be essential for overcoming these barriers. Policies across shipping, aviation, and other industries are catalyzing global demand for green hydrogen, even as the more polluting alternatives remain cheaper to produce. Without these policies, companies may not be willing to invest in low-carbon hydrogen. 

Download the full analysis: Global Corporate Stocktake -_Hydrogen (pdf)


Aviation as a sector represents 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and demand for air travel is growing. The research looks at the development of low-carbon Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as the only near-term solution to decarbonize aviation. Huge investment is needed to scale SAF if the industry is to meet its target to reach net zero by 2050. To ramp up SAF adoption, internationally coordinated fuel mandates are needed alongside supply side policies and optimized production.  

Download the full analysis: Global Corporate Stocktake – Aviation (pdf)


Our research looks at the infrastructure development needed to allow the shipping industry to meet its goal to decarbonize by 2050. Shipping companies want to invest in new ships today but want to be assured that major ports have the infrastructure in place to support alternative fuels. Strong regulation is needed to ensure the 15 ports which handle 80% of the world’s shipping are equipped to drive the transition to zero-emission fuels.

Download the full analysis: Global Corporate Stocktake – Shipping (pdf)


Today the food system makes up a striking 25-35% of global emissions, and this percentage is rising. The food system produces 50% of all methane emissions, primarily from livestock. While land use change like deforestation is driving most of the sector’s CO2 emissions. Regulation such as the Global Methane Pledge and the Declaration on Forest and Land Use is helping, but farmers need financial support to transition to lower-carbon practices such as regenerative farming.  

Download the full analysis: Global Corporate Stocktake – Agriculture (pdf)

Accelerating pace

The transition to clean technologies is accelerating. In some sectors the rates of investment are small scale, and there are only hints of early adoption of clean technologies. But in other sectors, where technologies are more mature, and market incentives and societal needs align, change is happening at an unprecedented pace and the rates of clean technology adoption have confounded expectations.

Across all 8 sectors of the included in the Corporate Climate Stocktake, the evidence from business leaders and industry experts is striking. The rates of adoption of clean technologies are increasing, while costs are falling, as businesses invest in bringing new technologies down learning curves and up deployment curves.

DOWNLOAD: Corporate Climate Stocktake 2023 (pdf)



System constraints and commercial realities

While signs of progress are everywhere, action to cut emissions is not happening fast enough. Global energy-related CO2 emissions are still growing, driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. Despite the numerous success stories, we are not getting fossil fuels out of the economy at the pace science says is required. Overall, business leaders remain concerned about the progress of the transition. Under current conditions, over 30% of those surveyed conclude that their company will still be reliant on fossil fuels into the 2050s. This is despite many having set net zero targets well ahead of this date.

In every sector, business leaders point to a range of transition barriers which are holding them back – from the availability of infrastructure to the realities of commercial incentives. While we can be cautiously optimistic about the pace of transition in some sectors, even ambitious companies at the forefront of innovation are struggling to meet science-based targets. For many, accelerating clean energy investment runs up against market fundamentals – there is a limit to the scale and size of the green premium available for low carbon steel, cement, and sustainable aviation fuel. For others, they simply cannot transition absent wider changes to their market or policy environments.

DOWNLOAD: Corporate Climate Stocktake 2023 (pdf)


Taking the pulse of business

As part of the Corporate Climate Stocktake 2023, we surveyed 250 business leaders across sectors. These findings were first shared for the launch of the Fossil to Clean campaign in September 2023.

  • Almost half (48%) of power companies expect to be fossil fuel-free by 2040
  • 60% of road transport respondents don’t expect to be using fossil fuels by 2040
  • Half of steel company respondents expect their sector to have decarbonized by 2040


Barriers to the clean energy transition 

Stocktake Survey Barrier Graphic

  • Half of respondents across all six sectors identified enabling infrastructure as a top-three barrier to the clean energy transition  
  • The cement and steel sectors are concerned about the availability of zero-carbon inputs, according to more than half of their respondents  
  • Regulatory approval is a stand-out issue for the power sector, according to 55% of its respondents    


  • Nearly three-fifths (57%) of power companies are seeking out countries with stringent energy laws and regulations.
  • 60% of cement executives consider stringent energy rules a positive when it comes to investing.


  • Almost half (41%) of respondents see investor pressure as a top driver for accelerating action  
  • More than one-third (37%) of those polled cited consumer pressure as the first or second most important driver of their clean energy transition effort  


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