Decarbonization: The Key to Sustainable Corporate Strategy and Long-term Value Creation
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August 29, 2023
min read

Decarbonization: The Key to Sustainable Corporate Strategy and Long-term Value Creation

Transition plans and understanding pathways are required to deeply understand climate pathways

Corporates have a critical role to play in the face of climate change. Decarbonization has emerged as an important strategy for not only combating the environmental crisis, but also managing financial risks and creating long-term value. The Abatement Capacity Assessment Framework β€” a game-changing tool for corporate decarbonization β€” is examined in this article.

The Need for Corporate Decarbonization

Climate change is a pressing issue. Corporate decarbonization action isn't just about saving the planet; it's also about business survival and transformation. Companies face financial and regulatory risks as climate policies and market preferences change. Rising carbon prices and the possibility of stranded assets have demonstrated that the status quo is no longer viable.

Furthermore, the transition to a low-carbon economy provides an opportunity to innovate, manage these risks, and unlock new growth opportunities. Businesses that proactively address their carbon footprint stand to gain a competitive advantage, as consumers increasingly prefer sustainable brands and investors prefer companies with a clear decarbonization strategy.

Introducing the Framework for Assessing Abatement Capacity

Corporates can use the Abatement Capacity Assessment Framework to effectively navigate this transition. This powerful tool aids in the development of transparent and credible plans for achieving net-zero goals. It offers a systematic approach to assessing a company's capacity for abatement, taking into account factors such as current and potential future carbon footprints, sector-specific challenges, and potential mitigation strategies.

The framework, in addition to guiding internal decision-making, serves as a clear communication tool for external stakeholders. The framework provides a practical roadmap for corporate decarbonization that investors, regulators, and the general public can understand and support by emphasizing the importance of active ownership and the role of green bonds.

Unraveling the Benefits of a Decarbonization Strategy

Adopting the Abatement Capacity Assessment Framework can provide numerous advantages. It encourages businesses to rethink their operations, invest in sustainable practices, and plan for a low-carbon future. Companies can develop targeted strategies to reduce emissions and increase efficiency as they identify high-emitting sectors in their portfolio.

Furthermore, this comprehensive assessment assists businesses in identifying and addressing stranded assets, reducing financial risks and ensuring long-term value creation. Companies can ensure that their assets remain valuable and productive in a low-carbon economy by incorporating climate change into their business planning and investment decisions.

The Role of Stakeholders in Decarbonization

The framework's utility is not limited to corporations. Its application can also benefit investors, corporate boards, and policymakers. Investors can use the framework to assess climate risk and opportunity in their portfolios, allowing them to make more informed investment decisions. It can be used by corporate boards to guide strategic planning and risk management, ensuring that their companies are resilient and competitive in a low-carbon economy.

Furthermore, by promoting transparency and credibility in sustainability reporting and aligning with Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, the framework gives stakeholders a better understanding of a company's decarbonization journey and potential impact. This increased transparency can foster trust and collaboration among businesses and their stakeholders, driving collective action toward a more sustainable future.

Making Decarbonization a Reality

The path to decarbonization is complicated, but tools like the Abatement Capacity Assessment Framework can help. We encourage businesses, investors, and policymakers to use this framework to evaluate their organizations or investments. Consider incorporating it into your decarbonization and risk management plans.

Implementing the framework necessitates commitment and collaboration at all organizational levels. It could also necessitate the purchase of new technologies and capabilities. This investment, however, has the potential to yield significant returns in terms of risk management, value creation, and stakeholder trust.

Example of how to achieve this

Here's a hypothetical outline of what this framework might involve:

  1. Emissions Inventory
    The first step would involve creating a comprehensive inventory of the company's current greenhouse gas emissions. This would include direct emissions from owned or controlled sources (Scope 1), indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity (Scope 2), and other indirect emissions that occur in the company's value chain (Scope 3).‍
  2. Sector-Specific Challenges
    The next step would involve a detailed analysis of the specific challenges and opportunities related to greenhouse gas abatement in the company's sector. This could involve regulatory restrictions, technological limitations, customer expectations, and competitive dynamics.‍
  3. Abatement Potential
    After understanding the current emissions and sector-specific challenges, the company would identify potential areas for emission reduction or "abatement". This could involve changes in business processes, adoption of new technologies, or shifts in strategy.‍
  4. Abatement Cost
    The framework would likely also involve an assessment of the costs associated with each abatement opportunity. This would include both the direct costs of implementing changes and the potential indirect costs such as disruption to operations or customer relationships.‍
  5. Prioritization
    Based on the potential and cost of each abatement opportunity, the company would then prioritize its decarbonization efforts. This may involve a focus on low-cost, high-impact opportunities in the short term, with a plan for addressing more challenging areas over the longer term.‍
  6. Strategy Formulation
    The company would then formulate a clear decarbonization strategy based on this analysis. This strategy would outline the specific steps the company will take to reduce its emissions, the timeline for these steps, and the expected impact on the company's overall greenhouse gas emissions.‍
  7. Implementation
    With the strategy in place, the final step would involve implementation. This could involve changes in business processes, investments in new technologies, and engagement with stakeholders such as customers, employees, and investors.‍
  8. Review and Improvement
    The last step would involve regular reviews of the company's progress against its decarbonization strategy, with adjustments made as necessary. This would ensure that the company remains on track towards its decarbonization goals and can respond to changes in technology, regulation, or market conditions.

Example of the framework to understand the abatement capacity of a utility firm

  1. Emissions Inventory: The company identifies its largest emissions source as coal-fired power plants, contributing to significant Scope 1 emissions. Its offices and logistical operations contribute to Scope 2 emissions, while their suppliers, involved in mining coal and manufacturing equipment, contribute to Scope 3 emissions.
  2. Sector-Specific Challenges: As a utility company, it faces stringent regulatory controls on emissions and an industry-wide push towards renewable energy. However, renewable infrastructure can be capital-intensive, and there is substantial consumer demand for uninterrupted power that requires reliable grid infrastructure.
  3. Abatement Potential: The company identifies potential areas for emission reduction, such as transitioning from coal-fired plants to natural gas and increasing investments in renewable energy like solar and wind power plants. They also plan to invest in energy-efficiency measures in their offices and work towards mitigating emissions in their supply chain.
  4. Abatement Cost: Transitioning power sources comes with significant costs. However, the company calculates that the long-term savings from renewable energy, coupled with increased regulatory penalties for high carbon emissions, make the transition financially feasible. Furthermore, scenario analyses provided by 15Rock aids in evaluating the costs and returns in different climate scenarios.
  5. Prioritization: The company decides to first tackle its highest emission source - the coal plants, by gradually transitioning to natural gas systems and setting mid-term goals for renewable energy adoption.
  6. Strategy Formulation: Using insights from Athena's in-depth data analysis, the company establishes detailed timelines, milestones, and monitoring systems to ensure they stay on track with their decarbonization plans. They account for different risks identified through the 15Rock’s AI scenario analysis.
  7. Implementation: The company begins transitioning its power sources and working with suppliers to reduce their emissions. They monitor progress through regular reporting and review of key performance indicators.
  8. Review and Improvement: Through regular Athena-driven report analysis, the company reviews strategy effectiveness and adjusts based on changing market factors, regulatory frameworks and customer demand.

This hypothetical example demonstrates how a company can adopt a methodological strategy towards decarbonization, maximising the significant potential for risk management, value creation, and increasing investor and stakeholder trust. They can leverage data-powered climate risk solutions like Athena for precise strategy planning, monitoring and revising, ensuring success in this complex yet rewarding journey.


Corporate decarbonization has progressed from an option to a requirement in today's world. The Abatement Capacity Assessment Framework offers a practical and effective solution for not only mitigating the risks of climate change but also capitalizing on the opportunities of a low-carbon economy.

In conclusion, the shift towards corporate decarbonization has evolved from an optional strategy to a crucial requirement in today's business landscape. The Abatement Capacity Assessment Framework provides a practical solution to not only mitigate climate risks but also seize the opportunities presented by a low-carbon economy. It's clear that the path to decarbonization, while challenging, can be rewarding.

This journey requires a shift in mindset, innovative strategies, and collaboration across sectors and stakeholders. With the right tools and commitment, businesses can contribute significantly to combating climate change and ensuring their long-term success. 15Rock is here to assist you on this journey. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business navigate the path towards decarbonization.