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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

7 March 2022 - As the crisis in Ukraine worsens, leading sustainability business groups are urging the EU to ‘double down’ on delivering the energy transition laid out in the Green Deal as the best way to manage current and increasing risks from energy insecurity.

In an open letter sent as Russian troops continue their offensive in Ukraine, the European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe) and We Mean Business Coalition urge European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to view the Green Deal not only as the de facto growth strategy for the EU, but also at the heart of energy security.

The Commission’s planned communication on energy prices will be released tomorrow (Tuesday March 8) and is expected to recommend scaling up renewables and energy efficiency as part of a pathway to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian gas.

The letter states: ‘For some time, people across the EU have been impacted with volatile fossil fuel prices that increase energy costs and add to inflation. Gas prices are five times higher than just a year ago and are set to remain high in the medium-term. We need to dramatically reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels by doubling down on the energy transition in the EU Green Deal.’

The letter is signed by Eliot Whittington, Director of CLG Europe, a group of European businesses made up of Microsoft, EDF, Iberdrola, Hybrit, Signify, Unilever and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners; and Maria Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, a coalition of 6,000 companies working to take action on climate change; and We Mean Business Coalition partners. They have written to President von der Leyen to call on the Commission to accelerate actions under the EU’s Green Deal, in the context of growing concerns over heightened energy insecurity due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

They state: ‘[…] we have been profoundly shocked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We share your abhorrence of the human suffering it has caused and of the abuse of principles of international law and human rights that we hold dear. As Europe faces this turning point, we share your determination to form a united approach across the EU to ensure that all necessary actions are taken to support Ukraine and its people.’

The letter comes just a week after the latest IPCC report indicated climate impacts are hitting harder and faster than predicted and the letter highlights that ‘by phasing out fossil fuels, we will not only increase energy security in Europe but limit catastrophic climate impacts on peoples’ lives, the natural world and the economy'. To accelerate actions under the European Green Deal and its flagship initiative of the Fit for 55 Package, the letter sets out four specific areas for Commission focus as it finalises delivery of its energy prices communication: 

  • A rapid transition away from fossil fuels, investments in fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies 
  • An acceleration of electrification across industry, transport, heat and buildings 
  • A renewed focus on energy efficiency, the circular economy and the renovation wave 
  • Support for EU citizens and the economy to cope with high energy prices and the energy transition 

Read the full letter here.

Ahead of the Informal European Council on 10 and 11 March, businesses shared a similar letter with President Macron.

Read the letter here (in French).

CLG Europe is an influential and diverse group of European businesses driving leadership on measures to deliver climate neutrality, members include Unilever, Microsoft, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners , Salesforce, ROCKWOOL, EDF, DSM, ACCIONA, Iberdrola, Signify, and affiliates include, Lloyds Banking Group, Anglian Water, IKEA, Hybrit and Tesco. CLG Europe is a founder member of the We Mean Business coalition.

Disclaimer: 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.

We Mean Business Coalition works with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change. The Coalition is a group of seven nonprofit organizations: BSR, CDP, Ceres, Climate Group, CLG Europe, The B Team and WBCSD. Together, we catalyze business and policy action to halve emissions by 2030 and accelerate an inclusive transition to a net-zero economy. Find out more at