Belgian Impact Report

3 min read

The roadmap to a carbon neutral Flemish industry

Making an impact that matters

  • The European Union wants to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, which requires all countries and industries to explore how they can contribute to this ambitious target now.
  • Deloitte in collaboration with VUB-IES, Climact and AMS, with a contribution from the Wuppertal Institute, has developed a roadmap for VLAIO, the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an organisation of the Flemish government, to support the transition to a carbon neutral Flemish industry.

“We formed a consortium with a range of knowledge institutions and experts with extensive knowledge in the field to define which technology innovations, as well as government measures, can help the refineries, (petro) chemical and steel industries, in particular, move toward carbon neutrality, building on the key strengths of Flanders.”

Eline Brugman, Director Climate & Energy

Purpose-led organisation

The study provides insights into the context of the Flemish industries and value chains and identifies which technologies and pathways can be deployed by the industries to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions, while enabling them to continue to provide their services that will still be required in a greener world. It also identifies important blocking factors, as well as the policy measures and investment needs that this will entail.

While these industries are responsible for a third of CO2 emissions in Flanders, they are part of the solution, not the problem. They also play an important role in Belgium and Europe, delivering important economic value by providing base products for society, and need to remain internationally competitive, while transforming for the benefit of the environment.

As an organisation that is Purpose-led and believes that we have a responsibility in making a better world, taking part in this project has given us the opportunity to contribute to two important aspects, climate and energy. Our aim was to help identify opportunities that could boost innovation and contribute to the industrial transition in close collaboration with key stakeholders such as government, knowledge institutions, and the sector federations.

“Our Purpose is to make an impact that matters by giving society and our clients the confidence to grow responsibly and sustainably, in a rapidly changing environment. With this project we helped to create significant change in this respect. The roadmap we have developed with our project partners will support Flanders in its effort to become carbon neutral, contributing to the goal of the European Union to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050.”

Laurent Vandendooren, Managing Partner Risk Advisory

CO2 neutrality and value for industry

The study involved assessing different possible pathways and technologies to carbon neutrality based on the following pillars: transformation of processes through electrification or use of hydrogen, use of biomass, circular carbon in materials, and carbon capture and utilisation.

A model was developed to simulate the current and future CO2 emissions and energy consumption of these pathways, and to estimate the investments required to realise them. As a result, strategic decisions can be made to define which pathways have the most potential and how to support them with an underlying policy and investment framework to ensure that they can be realised.

Business models, plans, and the way in which organisations in the refineries, (petro) chemical and steel industries operate will need to be transformed. However, companies alone cannot achieve the radical change needed. Knowledge institutions and governments must play their part. The transition is a joint effort that will take both time and money, but with the help of the roadmap, value can be created for the Flemish industry through innovation and technologies that will support achieving carbon neutrality.

Involving a wide range of stakeholders, this project has been both challenging and complex, finalisation of the final report is expected mid-November. Deloitte applied a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on the expertise of several departments, including Legal, Risk, Tax, and Monitor, to successfully deliver the roadmap for VLAIO together with its partners.

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