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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

In February 2022, Harry Verhaar, Vice President at Signify was re-elected as Chair of CLG Europe and Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera, Global Director of Climate Change and Alliances at Iberdrola was elected as Vice- Chair. In their role as Chair and Vice-Chair, Harry and Gonzalo will advise on the strategic development of CLG Europe and help to represent the interests and concerns of the group’s business leaders.

As they took up their Chair and Vice-Chair positions at CLG Europe, Harry Verhaar and Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera set out a joint vision: 

“It is a pleasure and an honor for both of us to be chosen as re-elected chair of CLG Europe and as vice-chair for the coming two years. The European Corporate Leaders Group plays a leading role in the fight against climate change in Europe through its strong cross-sectoral membership, intense advocacy activities and network with leading public and private sector stakeholders. Having contributed to the shaping of the European Green Deal and the Fit for 55 package, we have now embarked on the second year of this decisive decade in which we need to urgently step up climate action and bend the curve to put Europe (and the world) on the trajectory to climate neutrality latest by 2050, while at the same time, taking advantage of all the economic and social opportunities arising from this transition.

In our roles at CLG Europe, we will contribute, guide, and advocate our shared vision and priorities ahead, not the least being the full regulatory approval and adoption of the Fit for 55 package. It is crucial that this package is not watered down as it is the integrated toolbox that we need for urgent short-term action in to remain in 1.5 ⁰C pathway.

This is even more important in the current context of the invasion of Ukraine, where the EU is considering how best to ensure a decarbonized, resilient and secure energy system.  By combining an acceleration of energy efficiency measures with the upscaling of renewables we can catch three birds with one stone: decarbonizing Europe twice as fast and twice as cheap; reducing energy costs for Europe’s economy, businesses, and citizens, and reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuel imports.

The creation of a green and digital economy will be a triple win for Europe’s citizen’s, the quality of our living environment and our economy, the latter at every level from European to national, from businesses to household economies.

As European industries we will contribute to Europe’s competitiveness, the creation of sustainable green and digital jobs and improvement of people’s health and well-being.

As CLG Europe, we will jointly prepare to share our views and proposals at some of the upcoming international climate conferences with particular focus on COP27 in Sharm El Sheik and COP28 in the United Arab Emirates. The journey to climate neutrality is a journey that we should position as a race to the future and with more participants in this race around the world this will hopefully bring out the best in each of us and accelerate the pace of progress. Thus, we can make this a race with multiple winners.

The development of the policy frameworks will benefit from the close cooperation with the European Council, Commission and Parliament as well as the voice of the Green Growth Group. We applaud the outlines and elements of the European Green Deal and Fit for 55 package and each element, among others the Renovation Wave; Renewable Energy; Mobility; Biodiversity; ETS; CBAM; Circularity; Methane will receive adequate evaluation and input from the CLG Europe. And we will support an ambitious approach, based on a fair transition towards a decarbonized energy model, as a response to the current challenges faced by European energy markets, under severe pricing and security concerns. 

We strongly believe in the relevance of building collaborative platforms through cross sectoral approaches for buildings, heavy industry, the energy mix, transport and agriculture.

Going forward we will continue an interactive and mutually supportive way of working where the seasoned CLG staff guides the group’s work programme and the members contribute in an interactive way to the various workstreams.

We look forward to working with all of you in the next two years (and beyond)!”

On the election of Harry and Gonzalo, CLG Europe Director, Eliot Whittington, said:

“It is wonderful to have the support and leadership of Harry and Gonzalo as Chair and Vice-Chair of CLG Europe. Their expertise, experience and guidance will help CLG Europe grow and thrive, as well as to develop effective strategies to demonstrate business leadership in support of more ambitious climate action. We are looking forward to having their active support and working with them to ensure ambitious climate policies in Europe and beyond."

Harry Verhaar has over 20 years of experience in the lighting industry and currently responsible for the strategy, outreach and stakeholder management on energy & climate change, resource efficiency and sustainable development at Signify, with a key focus on the role of the LED lighting revolution. He is also the chairman of the Signify Foundation. Since the end of 2003, Harry has been the architect of the Signify strategy on energy and climate change, which has resulted in a global momentum on phasing out of old lighting technologies.

He is an active member of a number of partnership and stakeholder networks, among which The Climate Group; Regions20 and the World Green Building Council, and of the UN Environment Science Business Policy governing consortium. He is responsible for Signify’s relationship with the World Economic Forum, the UN and is a founding member of UN Environment’s en.lighten program. He is chairman of the European Alliance to Save Energy and is a former president and co-founder of the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association.

Harry is a recipient of the 2011 UN Leader of Change Award and has received the Carbon War Room’s Gigaton award on behalf of Philips at COP17 in Durban. In May 2015 he received the Energy Efficiency Visionary Award from the Alliance to Save Energy in Washington DC. He holds a MSc in Solid State Luminescence from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera holds a Ph.D in Applied Environmental Economics by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (with a doctoral thesis on water economics) and a Msc in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick (UK). He is Global Director of Climate Change and Alliances at the Chairman’s Area of Iberdrola, leading the team activities on global advocacy programs and campaigns on climate action, analysis and development of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, global Climate alliances and multi-stakeholder and institutional partnerships, as well as Iberdrola’s engagement in the UNFCCC process.

He is also member of the Birdlife international Advisory Board, Vice-president of the Spanish Green Growth Group, Vice-president of the Spanish Association of Energy Economic, member of the board of Energy Economics, Director of the MBA in Energy Business at Enerclub, and founder of the initiative Dialogues on Energy and Sustainability. 

Please see more information about CLG Europe here.


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