Material efficiency in clean energy transitions

Materials are the building blocks of society, making up the buildings, infrastructure, equipment and goods that enable businesses and people to carry out their daily activities. Economic development has historically coincided with increasing demand for materials, resulting in growing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from materials production. Clean energy transitions must decouple these trends. Despite being an often-overlooked emissions mitigation lever, material efficiency strategies can contribute to carbon dioxide emissions reduction throughout value chains. This analysis examines the potential for material efficiency and the resulting energy and emissions impact for key energy-intensive materials: steel, cement and aluminium. It includes deep dives on the buildings construction and vehicles value chains, and outlines key policy and stakeholder actions to improve material efficiency.

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