Place-Based Collaboration for Industrial Decarbonisation: Sharing International Experience

International Workshop

December 2023, Heriot-Watt Climate Hub, Dubai

In a growing number of countries, industrial decarbonisation policy is focusing on reducing emissions from large industrial clusters of energy intensive industries, often found in coastal locations and around ports. Industrial clusters, often representing multiple sectors, can be attractive starting points for decarbonisation as they allow aggregation of energy and resource demand, enable cost-effective sharing of low-carbon infrastructure, and benefit from economies of scale and reduced risk.

What are the key lessons learned from such place-based approaches so far, how can they provide effective routes for speeding up decarbonisation action?

During COP-28, IDRIC and Mission Innovation’s Net-Zero Industries Mission (MI NZI) co-hosted a joint event on International pathways to net zero industries day. In a series of workshops, we aimed to facilitate a dialogue between academic, industrial and policy stakeholders to address the most pressing global barriers to decarbonising industry to accelerate our collective transition to net zero.

Following a workshop on ‘Technology Innovation to and from Emerging Economies’ led by MI NZI, IDRIC led an interactive workshop on ‘Place-based Collaboration for Industrial Decarbonisation’ to share best practice and lessons learned from industrial clusters and hubs across the globe.


  • Imogen Rattle (University of Leeds/IDRIC): Industrial Cluster Decarbonisation: Sharing International Experience – Key findings
  • Steve Griffiths (Kalifa University/IDRIC): Lessons from Low-Carbon Industrial Clusters: A GCC and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Perspective
  • Noor Elshatlawy (GHD): Fuelling the Future: UAE National Hydrogen Strategy

Workshop discussion:

How can place-based approaches enable competitive decarbonisation while unlocking local benefits (local community, environment, wider economy)?

Some key findings:

  • A “champion”, a trusted private or public organisation, is generally key to precipitating and driving collaborative place-based decarbonisation. The nature of this champion will generally be unique to the specific industrial and locational context.
  • Data sharing amongst local actors is critical to enable effective coordination.
  • Government’s have a pivotal role to play, although the extent and nature of effective Government involvement in supporting a place-based approach to decarbonisation will vary greatly depending on specific national context.

Further information:

  • Research paper: Rattle, I. and Taylor, P.G. 2023. Factors driving the decarbonisation of industrial clusters: A rapid evidence assessment of international experience. Energy Research & Social Science. 105 , p103265
  • In June 2023, IDRIC and MI NZI, along with other partners, brought together representatives from industrial clusters across Europe, North America and Australia, as well as academics and governments, in a workshop in London to share best practice and lessons learned. Findings from this workshop can be found in a Briefing paper.