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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

11 December 2020 – On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement EU leaders have agreed a 2030 emissions cut of at least 55%, delivering a significant step forward on climate action. This welcome move comes after the European Corporate Leaders Group coordinated a letter of 200 signatories from the business and finance sectors calling for EU ambition on its near-term emissions pledge to be raised.

On 11 December, EU heads of state and government adopted Council Conclusions including on the EU 2030 climate target. In a significant step forward, EU leaders agreed on a ‘net domestic reduction of at least 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990,’ just in time for the five year Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on 12 December. The EU’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement will be updated according to the new binding target and submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat by the end of the year.

Eliot Whittington, Director, European Corporate Leaders Group said: 

“The agreement reached today is a significant step forward by the EU at a critical moment ahead of the anniversary of the Paris Agreement and the deadline to submit the EU’s updated NDC. It also signals that, despite a wider set of issues facing the EU, action to restrain climate change and its impacts rightly remains the bloc’s longer-term priority. This, in the broader context of recent net zero commitments by China, Japan and South Korea, encouraging statements by the incoming US Administration and a strong new NDC from the UK show that the world is accelerating the transition to a climate neutral economy.  

“The sustained climate leadership demonstrated by the EU has been supported by European business and finance leaders who have made their voices clear on the need for urgent progress on decarbonisation. However, work still needs to be done to ensure that the target is fit for purpose and delivers the necessary ambition. The inclusion of carbon removals in the EU’s target allows for a level of ambiguity that needs to be ironed out in negotiations around the implementation of the target. Research shows that investment in decarbonisation is good for the economy, society and the climate. Cutting emissions deeply and rapidly must be central to any credible target and the wider recovery package that holds the Green Deal at its core.”

To build momentum in support of the increased 2030 target, CLG Europe coordinated a CEO 2030 letter, gathering over 200 signatories from the business and investor community. The letter signatories showed crucial leadership in calling on EU leaders to step up climate action on the 2030 target. Ahead of the December European Council meeting, the letter had reached 200 signatories from businesses and investors, in addition to 22 supporting organisations.

In addition to the climate targets, the European Council reached an agreement on next steps to ensure the adoption of the long-term EU budget 2021-2027 and recovery package.

Eliot Whittington, Director, European Corporate Leaders Group said: 

“A green recovery has always been the only credible way out of the present crisis. The agreement of what is probably the biggest green stimulus package in history is a welcome step forward and a major milestone which now must be deployed effectively across the EU to deliver jobs, growth and economic recovery.”

Explore the Corporate Leaders Groups' Green recovery knowledge hub

Read the Business and investor CEO letter on EU 2030 GHG emissions targets