Published:
Last updated:
April 11, 2024

Marginal Abatement Cost Curve

What is Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC)?

The Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) is a strategic tool for businesses starting their net zero journey. It graphically represents various emissions reduction measures and the subsequent cost associated with each strategy. Understanding the MACC helps identify projects that could lead to cost savings or even profit in the long run. This competitive edge is crucial in today's market, where companies are increasingly held accountable for their environmental impact.

What is Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC)?

The Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) is a strategic tool for businesses starting their net zero journey. It graphically represents various emissions reduction measures and the subsequent cost associated with each strategy. Understanding the MACC helps identify projects that could lead to cost savings or even profit in the long run. This competitive edge is crucial in today's market, where companies are increasingly held accountable for their environmental impact.

Marginal abatement cost curve (macc) example

How to Read a MACC

A MACC is displayed as a series of bars, each representing a different abatement measure. The width of each path indicates the potential emission reduction of a given strategy, while the height reflects the cost or savings per unit of emissions reduced. This data empowers you to:

  • Prioritise: Focus on cost-effective strategies (closer to the bottom of the curve) for early financial gains.
  • Budget: Allocate resources effectively by understanding the financial implications of different options.
  • Make informed decisions: Choose strategies that align with your budget, emission reduction goals, and compliance requirements.

How to Incorporate a MACC into your Sustainability Strategy

Think of an MACC as a map with various paths to your net-zero destination. Each path represents a decarbonisation strategy, such as:

  • Energy efficiency upgrades: Lower your energy consumption through improvements in lighting, machinery, and insulation.
  • Renewable energy adoption: Shift to solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal power for your operations.
  • Electric vehicle integration: Electrify your fleet or switch to green electricity for charging stations.
  • Process optimisation: Streamline production to minimise waste and energy demands.

It is important to evaluate a MACC holistically and assess factors such as upfront cost vs long-term savings, as well as any combinations of strategies that can work well together.

Considerations for Sustainability Managers

For sustainability managers, the MACC is a dynamic tool, not a one-off chart. It evolves as new technologies emerge, prices change, and regulations adapt. Regularly revisiting and updating the MACC is crucial to staying on top of the most cost-effective and impactful sustainability strategies. It also helps in communicating complex information to stakeholders and aligning environmental objectives with business goals. Managers should leverage MACC as a living document that guides the sustainability journey towards a net-positive future.

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