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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

For immediate release: 21 October 2014

Leading businesses urge Europe to agree ambitious climate and energy policies this week 

Leading businesses including Acciona, Coca-Cola Enterprises, DSM, Ferrovial, Philips, Skanska, Shell, and Unilever are urging EU ministers to agree an ambitious package on climate change at this week’s European Council meeting, and thereby sustain European leadership internationally. 

Philippe Joubert, Chair of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group* said: “We have systematically called for an ambitious 2030 Climate & Energy package that takes energy security into consideration and delivers EU emission-reduction targets. This is in businesses’ interests, and in the interests of all European citizens. Failure to agree a deal this week will delay much-needed low carbon investments in Europe and will impact innovation and low carbon competitiveness.” 

The group supports a target of at least a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, and 50% if other countries take comparable action. It also supports targets of at least 30% for renewables deployment and at least 30% for energy savings. This is the most progressive stance taken by a group representing such a wide variety of sectors - from retail to energy companies. 

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group argues that EU long-term energy security and climate policy must go hand in hand in order to give businesses the confidence they need to invest in low carbon technologies and other climate-friendly reforms. Reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and a strong carbon price to drive low carbon investments must be a priority alongside targets for low carbon and energy efficient technologies. 

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever said: “We know that the economic cost of inaction is now greater than action. For the UN Climate Change Conference to be a success next year in Paris, Europe needs to set itself bold targets on greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency that are an example to the rest of the world. The recent New Climate Economy Report clearly states that investing in energy efficiency and renewables makes sound business sense. Our politicians must show leadership. We need clarity, confidence and courage from them - without the right policy frameworks and political signals, even the most determined business action will not reach the scale we need to make a real difference.” 

Noel Morrin, CSO, Skanska said: “There is a business case for action that applies across the whole of Europe. We’re looking to our political leaders to agree a bold package that ensures European energy independence, drives down emissions and incentivizes much greater energy efficiency. This is what’s needed to deliver low carbon economic development, greater competitiveness, jobs, and growth.”