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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

4 March 2020 – Building on Europe’s aims to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 a significant milestone was unveiled today.

The EU Commission published its proposal for a European climate law that aims to provide a clear trajectory to climate neutrality.  

Marking the Commission’s biggest policy promise in its first 100 days in office, the proposal aims to legislate for the central goal of the European Green Deal – for Europe’s economy and society to become climate-neutral by 2050.

This means achieving net zero emissions for EU countries as a whole, by cutting emissions, investing in green technologies and protecting the natural environment.

Eliot Whittington, Director, CLG said:

“By introducing proposals for a stronger and clearer legal framework for climate action the EU has taken an essential step forward. Businesses, investors and society need confidence that efforts to modernise and decarbonise the EU economy will proceed in an accountable, evidence-based and reliable manner. By introducing a clear structure to further decision-making, the new climate law helps delivers that goal, showing that the ongoing transition to a zero emissions economy is irreversible.”

He continued: “As the details on this proposal are debated and elaborated, we need to see robust enforcement mechanisms, clear routes for science to inform future targets, and adequate ambition for 2030. This new climate law can help turn Europe from a gifted amateur at climate action to the professional leader it should be.”

Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs, Signify and CLG Europe Chair, said:

Signify applauds legislation that would see the EU achieve climate neutrality latest by 2050, putting Europe on a path to become the world’s first carbon neutral continent.”

Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever, said:

“We strongly support the EU becoming climate neutral by 2050 or sooner. Great for the planet and a level playing field will enable businesses across the continent to ramp up their efforts to decarbonise. Let’s take this ambition level to COP26 in Glasgow.”

Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group/IKEA Retail said: 

“It’s great to see true leadership on climate action. I am happy that the European Union is ready to act with the target of making Europe the first climate neutral continent. In the end, it’s action that will speak the loudest.” 

At the end of last year CLG Europe published a business position statement calling for an increased EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions target for 2030 to at least 55 per cent, along with the analysis of the business, scientific and economic case for action.

Further CLG recommendations in response to the climate law included:

  • ensuring the ambition of EU policies including funding, industry, agriculture, innovation, energy and trade is matched by concrete and impactful political action
  • incorporating regular review moments, in line with the Paris Agreement cycle, to ensure that the law remains up to date, reflects the latest economic, scientific and technological developments, and remains on track to achieve the agreed goals.
  • developing and implementing the law in an open and transparent way, with government working in partnership with all stakeholders including businesses, civil society, employers, investors, trade unions, sub-national, regional and local authorities.
  • ensuring the Climate law delivers a new framework that is more predictable, accountable and takes the scientific evidence base to set ambition, with review mechanisms that are independent, robust and transparent.


Access CLG Europe's net zero knowledge hub for EU decision-makers.