skip to content

Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

For immediate release: 22 January 2014 


Business leaders urge Europe to keep up ambition on climate 

A group of leading businesses including Unilever, Skanska, BT, Acciona, EDF Energy, Shell, Philips, Lloyds, and Kingfisher today welcomed the European Commission's White Paper on its 2030 Climate and Energy package, which proposes a target of 40% domestic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but warned that current proposals must not be watered down any further. 

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said that a 40% reduction in European emissions by 2030 was the minimum necessary to ensure the region maintained its climate leadership role in the run up to the critical UN climate meeting in Paris in 2015. The Commission’s Low Carbon Roadmap, published in 2011, indicates that EU countries need to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. 

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever said: “A 40% target is a minimum level of ambition if we are to tackle climate change and deliver sustainable growth in the long term. We hope that other countries will follow Europe’s lead in developing their own ambitious targets.” 

The companies also welcomed ETS reform and the binding EU-wide renewables target of 27%, which will support and encourage business investment while allowing member states flexibility on how to deliver. 

Carmen Becerril, Chief International Officer at Acciona said: “Only by setting a clear direction on GHG emissions reductions and renewables can Europe attempt to keep its share of the global low carbon and environmental business market. We do however need to be even more ambitious if Europe is to trigger a clean energy revolution.” 

The Corporate Leaders Group members regretted the absence of a stronger policy framework around energy efficiency

Noel Morrin, Senior Vice President, Sustainability & Green Support at Swedish construction and project developer Skanska said: “We are concerned that without binding energy efficiency targets the 2030 package will not provide the long term signal needed for continued investments. The emissions reduction target should be complemented by a clear signal on energy efficiency to ensure markets get to where we need to be in 2050.” 

The Commission White Paper released today is the beginning of an EU process that will see Member States and Parliament review the targets ahead of final agreement in March. 



The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) brings together business leaders who believe there is an urgent need for new and longer‐term policies for tackling climate change. Members include AECOM, Acciona, Anglian Water Group, Aviva, BT Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc, Doosan, EDF Energy, Glaxo Smith Kline, Heathrow, Johnson Matthey, Kingfisher, Lloyds Banking Group, Philips Lighting, Shell, Skanska, British Sky Broadcasting, Tesco, Thames Water, Unilever, United Technologies Corporation, Virgin Group and Vodafone. The group is managed by The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL).

The Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) builds strategic leadership capacity to tackle critical global challenges. CPSL contributes to the University’s mission and leadership position in the field of sustainability via a mix of executive programmes, business platforms and strategic engagements, informed by world‐class thinking and research. HRH The Prince of Wales is the patron of CPSL, which is a member of The Prince’s Charities, a group of not-for‐profit organisations of which His Royal Highness is President.

Additional quotes from members:

Feike Sijbesma, CEO of DSM said: "Solutions are there to make a meaningful impact on combating global warming. It is vital that we now reach scale in order to make the necessary transition from a fossil resources-based economy to a renewable, alternative energy sources based economy."

Walter van Kuijen, Senior Vice President at Philips said: "Philips is disappointed that the European Commission has not included a clear energy efficiency policy framework in its new 2030 package. We urge the European Commission to show leadership in setting an ambitious energy efficiency agenda very soon. Unless Europe adopts a climate and energy package inclusive of an ambitious GHG emissions target and energy demand side measures we will not succeed in leveraging a strong EU internal market acting as an accelerator for innovative European companies competing globally."

Thomas Reynaert, President UTIO, United Technologies Corporation: "We call on the Commission to follow the economic reasoning of its own Impact Assessment and come forward with an ambitious target for energy efficiency after its review this year. As the European Parliament has stated, sectoral energy efficiency targets