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Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

4 October 2021 - The new CLG Europe policy briefing identifies gaps to be addressed by policymakers and how business can support the implementation of an ambitious package. 

Read the policy briefing

Visit CLG Europe’s Fit for 55 Knowledge Hub to read more thought leadership on the package. 

About the policy briefing

CLG Europe carried out an in-depth analysis of the Fit for 55 Package, which is a comprehensive and far-reaching review of the EU’s energy and climate related legislation, by assessing how well the key policy proposals in the Fit for 55 Package respond to CLG Europe’s previous policy asks for energy, transport, buildings, industry and nature and land use and the overall economic ambition. 

The purpose of this briefing is to provide a progressive business perspective on the Fit for 55 Package and what needs to be done to achieve the EU’s climate targets. 

Key findings of the policy briefing: 

The analysis finds that “there remains much work to do but, overall, the package provides a framework to deliver a strategy to achieve a robust future EU and global economy and create new industries and markets in the transition to a net zero economy.” 

"Key gaps to be taken into account by policymakers include:

  • links between the circular economy and climate action that are not yet being fully deployed in the EU’s climate policy;
  • a need for further impact assessment of the proposals in a way that allows policy synergies to be identified and acted upon;
  • ambitions to deliver more energy-efficient buildings and electric road transport, and policy measures that would make adopting these solutions more affordable and attractive.” 

“Businesses have a role to play in supporting policymakers on climate ambition by ensuring that: 

  • the package is implemented as a whole and is not undermined by being treated as a set of unconnected elements;
  • the benefits are seen as key to future growth and global competitiveness, and are championed within their own markets;
  • there is transparency over how, alongside new employment opportunities, disrupted industries will require support for upskilling, training and redeployment.” 

Read the briefing for further details on the key findings across the analysed sectors. 

Eliot Whittington, Director, CLG Europe said:

“The ground-breaking European Fit for 55 Package of climate policies provides a unique framework to enable businesses to help deliver a robust and climate neutral economy by 2050. But while the package provides clear signals to business on the direction of travel, it also has to ensure the economic transformation creates opportunities for growth and job creation, while improving the health, wellbeing and prosperity for EU citizens. This means greater clarity is needed on how future disruptions across economic sectors will be addressed, in particular in relation to skills and measures to ensure the just transition.” 

María Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition said:

“The EU Fit for 55 package is the first policy framework of its kind to outline how a developed economy can decarbonize sector by sector to be net zero by 2050. Removing coal from EU operations, going all in on electric vehicles, mandatory climate disclosure and meaningful carbon pricing need to become the new norm. This can be done best through an ambition loop of strong policy ambition enabling businesses to drive further emissions reductions, which in turn allows the further raising of policy ambition. This is what the Fit for 55 package must deliver in the EU and along with action from other major economies can help keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC.”  

Harry Verhaar, Chair of CLG Europe said:

“With the Fit for 55 Package, the EU has the opportunity to set the right framework to meet ambitious climate targets, tap into the economic benefits of increased climate action and create jobs in the process. To achieve this, policymakers must maintain the highest level of ambition and create a cohesive package fit to accelerate the decarbonisation of all sectors, sending the right signals to encourage businesses and investors to step up their efforts to play a key role in this process and supporting people who will be affected by the transition.” 

Helen Clarkson, CEO, Climate Group said:

“The ‘Fit for 55’ package is the sort of ambition we’ve been waiting to see from the EU. We need to halve emissions by 2030, and the proposals to bring forward the date to end sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles in the EU by no later than 2035 is a positive step.  

Members of the EV100 initiative have committed to adopting zero emission fleets by 2030, and positive action from the EU like this ensures they can invest with confidence in zero emission vehicles.” 

Andreas Regnell, Chairman of HYBRIT Development AB and Senior Vice President, Strategic Development, Vattenfall said:

“We need a Fit for 55% policy framework that acknowledges technological shifts, and rewards companies that are frontrunners and make investments to achieve the transition to a fossil-free society.” 

Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman & CEO, Iberdrola said: 

“Europe´s leadership on climate action will be enhanced with a robust and coherent “Fit for 55%” policy package, which can create optimism for the whole world. The correct policy signals will give investors the certainty needed to accelerate the transition towards a net zero economy, by unlocking significant investment in renewable energy, networks, storage and forward looking industries, such as green hydrogen. Ambitious climate policies will also drive the economic recovery.” 

Jesper Brodin, CEO, INGKA Group | IKEA said:

“At IKEA we believe in taking climate action to reach our ambition to become climate positive by 2030. Together, let’s ensure we deliver to the new EU targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 and the Fit for 55Package. That is the only way we can turn commitments into action and make a real difference in the transition to a net-zero future. Only by working together, between companies, sectors, governments and across borders, can we create a better future for the many.” 

Jon Khoo, Head of Sustainability (EAAA), Interface said:

“As the built environment contributes to around 35% of EU GHG emissions, tackling both operational and embodied carbon needs to remain a central pillar of the Fit For 55 package. It will be crucial that carbon pricing is supported by regulation and accompanied by incentives for circular economy and low carbon technologies. Progress on decarbonisation is not advancing fast enough – we must turn pledges action. 

At Interface, all our products are carbon neutral, we have a Science Based Target and we pledged to be a carbon negative business by 2040.  We call on all stakeholders to take a similar approach - go beyond mitigation and act with speed, scale and ambition to foster climate resilience.” 

Stephen Rouatt, CEO, Signify UK & Ireland said:

As leaders in the lighting sector, we have a firm commitment to transformative climate action. We realise the urgency and offer innovative solutions and services that help the agenda. To accelerate the pace of action in the EU, increasing energy efficiency, including by switching to smart LED lighting can offer huge energy savings and support climate targets. This move could play a key role in ensuring the success of COP 26 goals and the Fit for 55 package, as it provides an opportunity to reduce emissions, create jobs and stimulate economies.” 

Mirella Vitale, Senior Vice President, ROCKWOOL Group said:

“The Fit for 55 Package will succeed or fail depending on our collective capacity to deliver real-world change. Ambitious energy efficiency legislation is essential - and the Commission is moving in the right direction. But more and more, this is a delivery challenge: matching up the billions of euros which are becoming available for renovation with millions of buildings across the EU.

Melissa Miners, Sustainability Manager, Unilever said:

“Our success as a business depends on having a stable climate and an abundant and regenerative natural world – we need decisive global action on both, at the same time. By integrating climate, land use and biodiversity goals, the Fit for 55 Package will see businesses and policymakers work together to reverse nature loss and halve emissions by 2030, protecting nature and helping to ensure a global temperate rise stays under 1.5°C.”

Read more thought leadership from the Corporate Leaders Groups here

Learn more about CLG Europe’s engagement with policymakers here

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Published: October 2021



This policy briefing was authored by Sanna Markkanen, David Cembrero, Eliot Whittington, Ursula Woodburn, Kevin Le Merle and Romain Pardo, with support from Janaina Topley Lira, Krisztina Zálnoky and Nikolas Westfield.


Citing this report

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). (2021). Fit for 55? A progressive business perspective on the EU’s transformative climate package. Cambridge, UK: CLG Europe



The authors would like to acknowledge the many helpful comments received from CLG Europe members, E3G and the We Mean Business Coalition partners. Special thanks for their review and feedback to Adeline Rochet, Alison Thompson, Dominic Gogol, Hannah Hunt, Hannes Böttcher, Luke Pritchard, Martin Porter, Michaela Holl, Oliver Sartor, Pieter de Pous, Ralph Palmer, Roland Hunziker and Sophie Punte. We also would like to thank Robin Clegg for his contribution.



© 2021 University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). Some rights reserved.



The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of the Corporate Leaders Groups, CISL, the wider University of Cambridge, or clients.