Decarbonisation: definition, challenges and solutions

Decarbonisation: definition, challenges and solutions

Decarbonisation, meaning the overall lowering of greenhouse gas emissions, is now one of the top international energy and ecological targets. It is a growing requirement for industry, where demonstrating a responsible attitude toward the issue has become a choice criterion for customers. There are a number of solutions available to make decarbonisation a catalyst for performance.

Why decarbonise?

Everyone is aware of it these days: the worsening of the greenhouse effect is largely responsible for the climate crisis we are currently going through. CO 2 and methane, the main greenhouse gases whose emissions need to be reduced, are largely generated by the production and consumption of fossil fuels. That is why decarbonising the energy we consume is a priority. It is written into France’s National Low Carbon Strategy (SNBC), which plans to achieve carbon neutrality, meaning zero net CO 2 emissions, by 2050.

Industry: a major catalyst for decarbonisation

The industrial sector has a crucial role to play in the collective challenge of decarbonisation.
It actually generates 1/5 of France’s greenhouse gas emissions, just by itself1. 36%2 of fuel consumed is also lost in the form of “fatal heat”, whereas a significant portion of that could potentially be reused.

The decarbonisation of energy is therefore a requirement for industry in particular, both to
improve competitiveness and to meet the environmental challenges. For this sector the
SNBC has set a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% by 2030 and by 81% by 2050, compared with 2015 levels.

Industries who opt now for investments and processes that support decarbonisation will
derive numerous benefits:

  • They will maintain greater competitiveness, particularly by limiting the impact of CO2emissions on the price of their products.

  • They will avoid the environmental obsolescence of their production tools.

  • They will gain the confidence of new customers, by providing concrete proof of their
    actions to help reduce CO2 emissions.


How do you decarbonise?

There are many levers for decarbonisation, each presenting opportunities for development
and optimisation in industry. This means you can reduce your carbon footprint:

  • By saving energy, particularly through energy frugality measures, where you reduce
    your energy consumption through appropriate usage, without excess, and by pooling
    equipment that uses it.

  • By improving energy efficiency, by using better performing equipment and
    processes, helping reduce energy consumption but still providing an identical level of

  • By using low carbon energy, such as renewables, biomethane or cogeneration
    systems, capable of recovering the heat emitted by certain industrial processes to
    produce electricity for self-consumption.

  • By using less raw materials or using recycled materials instead, to reduce the
    CO2 emissions associated with the production and transport of new materials.

  • By capturing and re-using carbon, such as in the Power-to-Gas process, which
    produces hydrogen by the electrolysis of water powered by renewable electricity.
    That hydrogen can then be combined with captured CO2 in an industrial process to generate synthetic methane.

A tool for industry: the “Je décarbone” (“I decarbonise”) platform

We make better progress when we work together, so the “Je décarbone” platform aims to
bring together all stakeholders in decarbonisation and energy efficiency. It includes a
networking tool you can use to identify partners and gauge opportunities for decarbonising
industry. It also includes listings of national and regional gatherings and workshops, targeted
and adapted to each individual’s needs, with B2B meetings.

Plateforme Je décarbone

National and European decarbonisation targets

Major collective initiatives have come about to support the transition to a sustainable and
decarbonised energy model:

The France Relance plan

Intended to accelerate the country’s ecological, industrial and social transformation, the
France Relance plan has a budget of 100 billion euros and hinges around three main

  • ecological and energy transition,

  • business competitiveness,

  • social cohesion in the territories.

The first component has a budget of 30 billion euros, and its aims include making France the
Europe’s foremost large decarbonised economy.

The RepowerEU plan

Rapidly reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and accelerating the
ecological transition: that is the ambition of the REPowerEU plan, launched in the Spring of
2022 by the European Commission. Its aim: to fully shut down all supplies of gas coming
from Russia by 2030, relying in particular on the rise of renewable and decarbonised energy.