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Business leadership for a climate neutral economy
Report cover text

28 April 2020 – This CLG Europe report looks at the implications of the transition to a climate neutral economy for jobs and skills in the context of broader megatrends such as globalisation, technological change, resource scarcity and demographic changes.

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Although their exact impacts are highly uncertain, these megatrends are likely to impact the global economy, business and society, causing major transformations in the labour market over the next 30 years. The report shows that climate action can help ensure that the EU labour market is more resilient to these major changes.

Through country case studies, concrete business examples and policy recommendations, the report findings provide essential reading on how to shape policy and business actions in response to these megatrends and how to align action in support of climate neutrality. The case studies featured in the report look at changes in the automotive sector in Germany, the steel industry in Sweden, agriculture and digitalisation in Spain, the coal industry in Romania and the wind power sector in the UK.

The research was carried out before the impacts of Covid-19 became apparent, but many of the recommendations now seem even more urgent and significant. The need to develop firm foundations for future employment, and to develop a skilled and competitive workforce, has grown, not diminished, and must be a core topic for future policy action.

Citing this report

Please refer to this publication as: University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). (2020). Working towards a climate neutral Europe: Jobs and skills in a changing world, UK: CLG Europe.


Working towards a climate neutral Europe

Report cover textFind out how climate action can create a resilient EU labour market.

Executive summary

Future of workReport overview; impact of mega trends and interaction with low carbon transition.

Access the technical report

Tech reportRead the full report analysis on the long-term factors affecting jobs and skills in Europe.

Policy recommendations

EU flagsHow can policies be designed to deliver a thriving and resilient labour market in a climate neutral economy?

Case studies

Orange groveFive case studies show impact of megatrends in core sectors.

Watch the webinar

laptopClick here to watch the Working towards a climate neutral Europe: Jobs and skills in a changing world webinar.




Why are CLG companies working towards a climate neutral future?

"This report is a great help in enabling us to respond to current job challenges as well as anticipate and act upon future work and skills challenges. Let us collectively follow-up on the report’s recommendations so we timely create the jobs that are needed for the future health of our citizens and economy." 

 Harry Verhaar, Head Global Public and Government Affairs Signify

"The climate neutrality goal by 2050 is the cornerstone of a more sustainable, competitive and resilient economy. This transition will involve huge investments in digitalization and climate solutions, such as renewable energy and smart grids, plus significant changes in the labour market. To deliver the transition, it is vital to continue developing a skilled and competitive workforce." 

Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera, Director of Climate Change, Iberdrola

"Recovery plans have to be both in line with the Green Deal and lead to positive consequences for European citizens: Europe is able to become more independent by building a carbon neutral industry based on its own resources. After the covid crisis it is more important than ever that we meet the net zero target by creating technological sovereignty and mobilizing local workforce." 

 Erkki Maillard, Senior Vice President, European Affairs, EDF



This report was prepared by Sanna Markkanen, Romain Pardo, Martin Porter, Andy Raingold, Annabelle Roblin, Eliot Whittington and Ursula Woodburn.

The content of this report is drawn from a longer technical working paper delivered by Cambridge Econometrics (CE). We would like to thank CISL colleagues, Sara Baiocco, Researcher, Jobs and Skills Unit, Centre for European Policy Studies; Martin Kaul, Head of Office, Foundation 2° - German CEOs for Climate Protection; Julian Popov, Fellow, European Climate Foundation; Rannveig van Iterson, Senior Associate, Industry and Innovation, European Climate Foundation, and Dimitri Zenghelis, Senior Visiting Fellow, Grantham Research Institute, LSE, for their valuable comments and input on the technical report.

We would also like to thank CISL colleagues, the We Mean Business secretariat and CLG Europe members for their constructive comments and feedback on this summary report.


Copyright © 2020 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 its clients.


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Who we are

CISL’s Corporate Leaders Groups bring together business leaders committed to supporting the transformation to competitive, sustainable, inclusive economies that will deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Corporate Leaders Groups are convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), a globally influential Institute developing leadership and solutions for a sustainable economy.

CLG Europe works closely with policymakers and our business peers to achieve this globally and in the EU. We are a founding partner of the We Mean Business coalition, which works with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change. Here is a summary of business action across the EU

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