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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

10 March 2020 – The European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe) welcomes the huge opportunity offered by the new Industrial Strategy to set the Green Deal in motion but urges the new Commission to deliver a plan that keeps net zero as its core focus.

CLG Europe's Head of EU Relations Ursula Woodburn said:

"The new Industrial Strategy is a significant step in the direction needed to tackle the present climate and environment crisis, and we welcome the huge opportunities it offers. We continue to urge the EU to ensure that the delivery plan is constructed around the goal of a net zero economy – it is this substance that will be key to kickstarting the massive structural transformation required over the next 10 years.

“The scale and complexity of the challenge is immense, but carbon neutral industry is feasible and offers major investment opportunities. Businesses and industry sectors need the kind of support and signals that indicate the transition to net zero is happening with political support and policy alignment. If the EU can refine and build on this strategy with its sights squarely set on the decarbonisation of industry, this central pillar of the Green Deal has the chance to make Europe a world leader in climate-neutral and circular technologies, products and services.”

Mirella Vitale, Senior Vice President of ROCKWOOL Group said:

“We have pushed hard for the EU to commit to climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. Now it’s time to deliver. The new industrial pillar of the European Green Deal needs to genuinely promote high-quality, recyclable products and help companies accelerate their decarbonisation actions. Industry is looking for a strategy that recognises and rewards frontrunners.”  

Martin Pei, Chairman, HYBRIT, an initiative by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, said:

“We are committed to the EU’s transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050 at the latest and are in the process of delivering the world’s first large scale pilot plant for fossil free steel. We welcome a new Industrial Strategy with a clear pathway to decarbonise all sectors, which begins to lay the ground for Europe to become a world leader in climate-neutral technologies, products and services.” 

Annica Bresky, President and CEO, Stora Enso Oyj said:

“If done right, this new Industrial Strategy can be the start of making Europe a world leader in climate-neutral and circular technologies, products, and services. As a renewable materials company, Stora Enso is committed to leading in the circular bioeconomy. We recognise that direction at the European level is needed if the full potential of European industry to combat global warming is to be unleashed.”

CLG Europe rapid analysis of the EU Industrial Strategy

CLG Europe welcomes:

  • recognition in the strategy of the need to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and the importance of the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle;
  • recognition that industry needs support to decarbonise and the special attention given to the ‘hard-to-abate’ heavy industry sectors of chemicals, steel and cement;
  • recognition of the need to develop markets for low carbon products and materials;
  • setting out an approach to further develop the production of green hydrogen;
  • commitment to developing measures that will help finance the transition to low carbon industrial processes;
  • highlighting the need to support a just transition by investing in jobs and skills;
  • the proposal to set up an industrial policy forum by September – with the caveat that this must be a transparent process that brings in the industries of tomorrow - not just the industries of today - alongside civil society stakeholders.

Key missing elements:

  • The Strategy now needs to be fleshed out in terms of actual measures to be taken at the European level;
  • Tomorrow’s (March 11) publication of a new Circular Economy Action Plan will be another test of the Commission to put decarbonisation and material efficiency at the forefront of its activities;
  • A clear timeline is needed to ensure that measures are taken in line with the demands of cutting emissions significantly over the coming years;
  • It remains unclear how measures will be work to effectively ensure competitiveness whilst incentivising decarbonisation.

Tomorrow’s Circular Economy Action Plan is expected to include proposals targeting both waste prevention and absolute resource use reduction across different sectors.  It should highlight areas where existing EU legislation related to the sustainability, reparability and recyclability of products could be improved. EU sources have reportedly said that the new circular economy action plan will make up “half” of the carbon cuts expected under the Green Deal.

Learn more about CLG Europe's engagement with EU industrial strategy, and access the net zero knowledge hub for EU decision-makers.