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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

30 June 2021 - In an open letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and further key EU policymakers, CLG Europe members and business network partners, are calling on the EU to seize this opportunity and demonstrate leadership in the run up to the COP26 summit.

Read the letter here

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Ahead of the release of the Fit for 55 legislative package of the European Commission on July 14, CLG Europe organised a letter signed by 70 leading businesses and business networks across Europe. The letter states: “As business leaders with a stake in the EU, we see a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver the transition to a net zero economy, as the world invests in the post- covid-19 recovery and as the world’s biggest economies, corporations and investors themselves commit to a race to zero.

The letter underlines that “it is clear that the Green Deal and the EU’s growth strategy are one and the same, and that the upcoming ‘Fit for 55%’ package of climate legislation can provide the engine for that strategy.

Signatories set out 10 principles for EU leaders to deliver an effective package of climate and energy laws that can act as the beating heart of the Green Deal:

  1. Provide policy certainty for business
  2. Send a strong signal that Europe’s economic recovery will be achieved through climate action
  3. Plan for potential ambition increases beyond 55%
  4. Ensure coherence across European policy - from finance to industrial, circular, digital, employment and nature
  5. Accelerate the transition of our energy systems
  6. Deliver on energy efficiency and the decarbonization of sectors such as the built environment
  7. Balance increasing carbon pricing signals with focussed regulatory action
  8. Align fiscal levers to support the net zero transition
  9. Develop and deliver an effective strategy to ensure competitiveness for current and future industries in a net zero world
  10. Support demand as well as supply, by stimulating and enlarging markets for climate neutral goods and services

Eliot Whittington, Director, CLG Europe said: “This letter shows the deep support from major European businesses for a “Fit for 55 package” that lives up to its name. To win the race to a zero carbon economy and safeguard a stable climate for EU citizens we need to be fit for 55 per cent reductions or more, modernising our economy and seizing the opportunities that come with new industries and markets. The letter sets out ten critical elements that can deliver effective change and allow the EU to set the mould that shapes global progress.”

The business letter follows the success of the 2030 CEO letter coordinated by CLG Europe that was signed by over 220 business, business and investment networks and urged the EU to raise EU 2030 GHG emissions targets to at least 55 per cent in September 2020.

Quotes from the signatories

Roland Rutten, CEO, 2R Enterprises said: “As a forward-looking company that focuses on innovation, we are committed to work for a climate neutral future for the next generations. An ambitious Fit for 55 package is the only way to achieve climate neutrality in Europe. We call on European leaders to keep their climate ambitions high and deliver good policies for the businesses and citizens of Europe." 

Jean-Marc Ollagnier, CEO, Europe, Accenture said: “Accenture last year announced that it will become a zero emission company by 2025 by powering offices with 100 per cent renewable energy, engaging key suppliers to reduce their emissions and equipping our people to make climate-smart travel decisions. We will infuse sustainability into every aspect of what we do and design from the start with sustainability in mind.”

Aiman Ezzat, CEO, Capgemini said: “Now is the time to act to deliver the transition to the net zero economy. We urgently need to support global efforts to hold temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Together with the other companies signing this letter, we call on the EU to demonstrate its leadership on climate change in the run up to COP26.”

Miguel Stilwell d'Andrade, CEO, EDP - Energias de Portugal, SA said: “We have seen unprecedent growth in the renewables sector, but there is still a lot to be done if we want the world to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The global challenge presented by climate change requires a different mindset, ambition and, above all, measurable action. As business leaders, with a strategy fully committed to the energy transition, EDP is part of this collective effort to accelerate climate ambition – and will support the policy and regulatory decisions made with this same ambition.”

James Brueton, CEO, EnviroBuild Materials Ltd said: "There has never been a more important time, nor great an opportunity to change the fate of billions of people. We hope that global long-term benefit is not squandered further by short term self-interest. We need bold proposals from the Commission and a long-term perspective from both Parliament and COuncil to create the right context in which European business can thrive and reduce emissions at the same time."

Niina Hopper, Founder and CEO, EVA Global said: “EVA Global wholly and fully supports this call to ensure the Fit for 55 legislative packages have a real and far-reaching result in delivering a net zero economy for Europe. An ambitious framework is needed to revolutionize outdated and polluting systems through a bold support of the already existing sustainable solutions available in Europe today.
We at EVA, as the leading Managed Services and Customer Experience provider in eMobility, are dedicated to assisting the transition to cleaner and more sustainable modes of transport. Fit for 55 must act strongly in assisting the European emobility ecosystem to achieve faster expansion, which is key to reducing CO2 emissions and protecting the health of generations to come.”

Gilbert Ghostine, CEO, Firmenich said: “Companies that commit today to address vital climate and social challenges will be the trusted winners of tomorrow. By accelerating the pace of our climate transition to be carbon neutral by 2025, we also encourage businesses to join us to create large-scale change.”

Jamie Reigle, CEO, Formula E said: “Decarbonising of the global economy needs bold targets and action by both the public and private sectors. As the first and only sport to have achieved Net Zero Carbon status from inception, Formula E strongly supports science-based, ambitious climate legislation. 'Fit for 55% package' will support the critical sense of urgency required to accelerate investments in clean technologies that will protect future generations and our planet. This package will strengthen Europe’s leadership position in the global transition to Net Zero Carbon.”

Helena Helmersson, CEO, H&M Group said: “We have the chance to truly reconstruct a better future, and while doing it, we need to ensure that the recovery measures taken today are not at the cost of our planet. It is now more important than ever that companies and governments show leadership standing by their commitments in climate action, and that we take responsibility together.”

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: “It is encouraging to see the EU take the next step in making the EU Green Deal work for both people and planet. The upcoming “Fit for 55%” package of climate legislation can turn commitments into action and make a real difference in the transition to a net-zero future.”

James Thornton, CEO, Intrepid Travel said: “European leaders have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership on decarbonisation, which a ‘Fit for 55’ package would help support. While COVID-19 has been devastating for the travel industry, climate change will be far worse. Intrepid has been carbon neutral since 2010, and in 2020, we became the first and only global tour operator with verified science-based carbon emissions targets.” 

Luis Goncalves, CEO, Iskraemeco, d.d. said: “As a society, we are at a tipping point where technology must meet the demands of nature. There are so many untapped opportunities in existing and developing technologies to meet climate goals. With Iskraemeco, we are at the heart of the green and digital energy transition and are committed to ensuring that the "energy efficiency first" rule is integrated into legislation and enforced down and up the energy management value chain. We welcome the EU's ambitions and the Fit for 55 package.”

Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO, L’Oréal Groupe said: “The unprecedented events of the past year have highlighted the fragility of our ecosystems and the necessity to operate within the planetary boundaries. At L’Oréal, we’ve committed to a total business transformation, already underway, to align our activities with the 1.5°C scenario. But real change will require to accelerate efforts and strong leadership from the European institutions. If we are to achieve our goal of halving our carbon emissions by 2030, we must all go further and faster within a clear framework.”

Ilkay Özkisaoglu, CEO, IMBEO Passionate B2B Partnerships said: "My company and related undertakings remain committed to the EU’s 2030 climate target. European industry has a lot to gain from a coherent and effective Fit for 55 package. Businesses need a clear and ambitious framework to invest in innovative solutions and drive the continent's decarbonisation towards the goal of climate neutrality by 2050."

Arturo Revenga Shanklin, CEO, REVENGA Smart Solutions said: "We have aligned our interests with the scientific demand not to raise the average temperature of the planet above 1.5 ºC, and we have been committed since 2019 through adherence to the Business Ambition for 1.5 ºC initiative promoted by the United Nations. Business is already contributing to the European climate goals, but can do more with the right regulatory framework. We call on the European Commission to deliver ambitious proposals to unleash the true decarbonisation potential of the European economy and put the 2030 climate target within reach." 

Gavin Patterson, President & Chief Revenue Officer, Salesforce said: “Salesforce welcomes climate legislation that is science-based and facilitates a just transition to a 1.5°C future. The Fit for 55 package must bring together Europe’s climate ambition and growth strategy to enable economic resilience and create a more equal society, while putting us on the necessary pathway to net zero.”

Eric Rondolat, CEO, Signify said: “Climate action and economic prosperity go hand-in-hand. Europe’s recovery needs to be underpinned by investment in clean technologies. This is why the “Fit for 55%” by 2030 package is so important. It will accelerate the deployment of innovative technologies – like connected LED lighting – that reduce carbon emissions, create jobs and create a cleaner healthier environment for people.”

Maarten van Dijk, CEO, SkyNRG said: “The Fit for 55% package is a step forward in the right direction towards encouraging ambitious and long term EU policy that supports net-zero targets. Ambitious policies are needed to bolster industries in reducing their emissions by the 1.5°C trajectories. It’s clear that by working together, we can achieve a successful net-zero transition. It will be a challenging task, but it can be done.” 

Dave Regnery, CEO, Trane Technologies plc said: “Accelerating progress towards decarbonization is critical. The EU Fit for 55% Package will support regulatory certainty and transparency to successfully transition industries to a more sustainable future. Trane Technologies is committed to leading by example by becoming carbon neutral in our own footprint and reducing customer emissions by a gigaton by 2030. To achieve this, we are transforming how the world heats and cools buildings and transports food, medicine and vaccines.”

Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever said: “Together, we have committed to build a growing, inclusive, net-zero economy. This can only be delivered in partnership - with ambitious climate action from business matched by ambitious public policy frameworks.”

David Ducarme, Group COO, Knauf Insulation said: "In Europe buildings are responsible for 36% of Europe’s CO2 emissions. To achieve the EU’s zero carbon ambition by 2050 it is essential that we triple annual rates of renovation to 3% and ensure that audited ‘deep renovation’ initiatives demonstrate genuine savings in terms of reduced emissions and energy use."

Mirella Vitale, Senior Vice President, ROCKWOOL Group said: “This is a big step forwards. Buildings are both the EU’s biggest source of emissions and our most valuable financial asset – and the Commission’s Fit for 55 package can do a lot towards making them fit for a climate neutral economy.”

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group said: “The Fit for 55% package must include the concrete policy action that will set Europe on course for 55% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and have the flexibility for increased ambition as new technologies are added to our climate toolkit. The Commission has the opportunity to show that climate action is our route back from the pandemic, creating a strong signal for the necessary investments into decarbonisation and climate adaptation. This will be vital to achieving net zero by 2050 and delivering a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for Europe.”

Ana Struna Bregar, CEO, CER - Sustainable Business Network Slovenia said: “Slovenian businesses recognise the economic benefits of increased climate action. They are already developing solutions and stand ready to increase investments to make the Fit for 55 Package a success. To fully tap into this potential, the package itself must provide a predictable and future proof framework fit to scale up clean economy markets and innovation at EU and national level. The Slovenian Presidency will be a crucial period to lay the ground for this framework for the benefit of economy, citizens and the environment.”

Alberto Mazzola, Executive Director, CER - the Community of European Railway & Infrastructure companies said:EU’s Fit for 55 package will be another step in the right direction. However, to be effective it will require a robust carbon pricing able to modify people and business behaviors. Revenues coming from the Package application shall be allocated to investments to reduce CO2 emissions: as transport Ministers concluded, 'a modal shift from carbon intensive modes to rail is likely the most effective way to decarbonize transport in large parts of the union's territory'." 

Jan Peter Balkenende, Chairman, Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition said: “It is clear that the Green Deal and the EU’s growth strategy are one and the same, and that the upcoming ‘Fit for 55%’- package of climate legislation can provide the engine for that strategy. This afternoon I endorsed this message together with more than 30 other business leaders in the EU. Action now will boost a green and inclusive economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Commission's new climate plans will help accelerate Europe's climate neutrality and ensure a fairer playing field in the EU.”

Mirjam Wolfrum, Director Policy Engagement, CDP Europe said: “CDP Europe welcomes the EU’s Fit-For-55 package of policy revisions needed to deliver the EU’s net target of at least 55% emissions reductions by 2030. To make European industry and business ‘trailblazers’, the European Commission must devise a clear and harmonised set of policies which drive European companies to reduce their emissions line with the 1.5°C pathway using science-based targets.”

Thomas Nowak, Secretary General, European Heat Pump Association said: “Heat pump technologies are key to deliver the 55% target by 2030. They introduce more renewables in the energy mix, reduce CO2 emissions, increase air quality, increase energy efficiency and demand response potential. The heat pump industry is fully committed and ready to deliver 50 million heat pumps by 2030. A successful fit for 55 package should set the right framework conditions by triggering end-user demand.”

Peter Hoedemaker, President, European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF) said: “EiiF supports the call for an ambitious and coherent “Fit for 55” package, setting out 10 principles to follow for an effective outcome. Improving insulation standards in industry can make a big contribution and also offers added value to the European economy.”

Sergio Andreis, Executive Director, Kyoto Club said: “Progressive companies, like all those which are Members of Kyoto Club and its international networks, are at the forefront of reaching ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets because they realize that a climate-friendly economy is also business-friendly. In spite of the many words spent on ‘sustainability’, global warming keeps increasing and 2020 global mean temperatures reached a new +1.25 record high. The Glasgow COP26 cannot be another wasted opportunity: we must act and we must act now!”

Paul Polman, Chair, Imagine said: “Decarbonisation is becoming one of the biggest opportunities for business and an imperative for humanity. The only real obstacle to overcome is human willpower. Never ever have we been so forewarned about consequences of climate change but also forearmed to do something about it.” 

Bjørn Haugland, CEO, Skift Business Climate Leaders said: “The ‘Fit for 55 Package’ provides a great opportunity for the European business sector to play a key role in the decarbonisation of the EU economy and in the development of zero emission solutions the world needs.”  

Drasko Veselinovic, President of the Management Board, Slovenian Business and Research Association, Brussels said: “Slovenian Business and Research Association (SBRA) from Brussels is helping many to achieve these ambitious goals using many EU financial instruments which are on disposal and for which there is huge interest and competition. SBRA just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019.”

Sabine Nallinger, Managing Director, Stiftung 2 Grad said: “The success of the EU Green Deal will depend on bold political leadership. If Germany wants to become carbon neutral by 2045, the next federal government needs to push for an ambitious EU implementation package allowing to finance the transformation of the real economy, also in the buildings and transport sector.”

Halla Tomasdottir, CEO & Chief Change Catalyst, The B Team said: “I welcome the ‘Fit for 55’ package as a stepping stone to aligning EU climate commitments with a 1.5 °C degree pathway. I now call upon the EU to show further bold leadership by putting just transition at the heart of the post pandemic economic recovery.”

Dragoș Tuță, Founder, The Sustainability Embassy in Romania said: “The Sustainability Embassy in Romania is excited to join leading businesses in calling on EU leaders to scale up transition efforts from now until 2050. The future is being rewritten, as we speak, through sustainability. And we, as citizens and business leaders, have the opportunity to be the authors of the story in which we fight together for a sustainable future.”

María Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition said: “We must go all in for halving emissions by 2030. Europe needs a clear and ambitious policy framework to deliver climate action at this speed and scale. Over 325 European businesses are committed to a 1.5ºC trajectory. Removing coal from EU operations, going all in on electric vehicles, mandatory climate disclosure and meaningful carbon pricing will help Europe be Fit for 55% and will also fit business plans.”


Read the 2030 CEO letter that called urged the EU to raise EU 2030 GHG emissions targets to at least 55 per cent.

Learn more about CLG Europe’s engagement with policymakers here.