March 25, 2021

The need for decarbonization in the industrial sector

By Andre Andrade

Smoking chimneys against the sky

The need to reduce carbon emissions has been generating a major long-term transformation within industries. There are a lot of discussions about how digital transformation has been the escape valve for these many companies that adopt new strategies, and generate value through the use of technology aimed at decarbonization.


Certainly, the digital transformation makes it possible for these industries to operate in a cleaner and more sustainable way, in line with the countless changes that occur in the world, and which demand efforts so that the business models remain viable.


In the midst of so many changes, it is necessary for industries to look to the future and have the reduction of pollutant emissions as a priority objective to maintain their functioning.




The need for a sustainable economy is a topic of discussion in various spheres of society around the world. There is a social pressure that has been changing consumption habits and making the subject more discussed among important characters within the industries.

In addition to this popular demand, governments and leaders have also been tightening carbon legislation in the industrial sector. Among them is the “Green Deal”, an agreement signed by the countries of the European bloc, which seeks to completely zero carbon emissions in industrial facilities by 2050.



With the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, reduced mobility, and sudden changes in consumption habits, the environmental impacts have become much more noticeable. In China, for example, cities where pollution levels were so high that the horizon could not be seen, had a clear sky after dozens of years.


The need for change is real, but it is a long process.


For a decarbonization strategy to be efficient, collaborations between stakeholders, governments, and industry are necessary. Many investment funds and stakeholders have positioned themselves favorably in the total reduction of pollutant emissions and debating the role of the industry in this important issue. Many of them have been directing their investments to industries that have the objective of decarbonization in their scope.


The government, on the other hand, has been pursuing roadmaps and facilitation of fees and taxes in order to make reducing emissions a priority objective for large corporations.


It becomes impracticable for the planet to maintain operations and processes without awareness. However, changing an operating model that has been in place for years can be an impossible task without the necessary investments and transformational DNA that the challenge requires.




Despite the difficulties encountered in the decarbonization process, the trend towards a greener future is becoming something more inherent in the industries. And these, by the way, begin to direct their efforts towards change.

clean energy with pollution

It is very important that the industrial sector understands its participation in the long journey to a sustainable model of production. These are the first steps in a long process that has been going on in many large companies and that tends to be increasingly present within the industry.


In the midst of this need, digital transformation may be the path to decarbonization.



It is worth noting that this is not a simple task. But certainly knowledge of the sector aligned with technology can generate surprising results in the future and trigger the disruption that the future demands.


 Net-zero strategies

For the oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical sectors, sudden changes in operation are necessary :


  • Improvement of the use of resources and energies.
  • Optimizing asset management
  • Digital tools like Digital Twin and IoT sensors 
  • Reduced logistics costs
  • Emissions control and asset integrity for greater continuity of operation without the need for energy costs to resume.


In addition, the sector can benefit from the application of large-scale Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics algorithms that can favor the extraction of high-value knowledge about the many scenarios of an operation. With the use of these tools, goals can be stipulated, and from there, understand how the journey towards decarbonization is being carried out.

There is still much to be done in relation to carbon reduction and sustainable models for industries, but we can be confident that with the help of digital transformation, industrial disciplines and processes will be improved through the use of technology, resulting in greater performance and lower emissions.


About the Author: Andre Andrade
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