Scientists assert that global warming must be kept below 2 degrees Celsius to avoid insurmountable global disruption. Getting there will require near total decarbonization of economic activity by 2060. Industrial manufacturing accounts for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and worldwide. Efforts to reduce energy consumption through more efficient operations have greatly reduced emissions, but more innovation and investment is needed to decarbonize this critical sector. What levers could be pulled to facilitate a more rapid transition to low-carbon manufacturing? 

We focus on the three largest emitters of CO2 – steel, cement and petrochemicals – and explore some of the ideas and technologies best positioned to decarbonize these industries, as well as the challenges faced for broader adoption. We then discuss the levers and opportunities in the industrial sector with Darden Professor Mike Lenox, who is co-author on the report titled Path to 2060: Decarbonizing the Industrial Sector.

This is the third in a series of podcasts on decarbonization. Please also see Decarbonizing the Automobile Industry and Decarbonizing the Electric Utility Industry

This podcast is hosted by Rebecca Duff, senior research associate for the Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative at Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

About the Expert

Michael Lenox

Senior Associate Dean and Chief Strategy Officer; Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration

Lenox’s expertise is in the domain of technology strategy and policy. He studies the role of innovation in helping a business succeed. In particular, he explores the sourcing of external knowledge by firms and this practice’s impact on a company’s innovation strategy. Lenox has a longstanding interest in the interface between business strategy and public policy as it relates to the natural environment; his work explores firm strategies and nontraditional public policies that have the potential to drive green innovation and entrepreneurship.

In 2013, Lenox co-authored The Strategist’s Toolkit with Darden Professor Jared Harris. His latest book, Can Business Save the Earth? Innovating Our Way to Sustainability, examines how innovation and action from multiple stakeholders may address the environmental crisis.

B.S., M.S., University of Virginia; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology