72 leading companies call for increase in EU climate ambition to boost EU economy and jobs | WWF
72 leading companies call for increase in EU climate ambition to boost EU economy and jobs

Posted on 15 June 2011

Brussels, Belgium – An ever-increasing list of top European companies, presently totalling 72, have signed up to a declaration calling on the European Union to increase its climate ambition ahead of the EU Environment Council (21 June) and the European Parliament’s vote on moving beyond 20% (23 June). They call on the EU to adopt a 30% emissions reduction target by 2020 below 1990 levels, to preserve the European Union’s competitiveness, and build a low-carbon economy.
Brussels, Belgium – An ever-increasing list of top European companies, presently totalling 72, have signed up to a declaration calling on the European Union to increase its climate ambition ahead of the EU Environment Council (21 June) and the European Parliament’s vote on moving beyond 20% (23 June). They call on the EU to adopt a 30% emissions reduction target by 2020 below 1990 levels, to preserve the European Union’s competitiveness, and build a low-carbon economy.
Together, the signatories of the call account for more than 3.8 million employees with an annual turnover of more than €1 trillion a sum superior to the combined GDPs of Poland, Sweden and Austria.
These market leaders represent a variety of companies, each facing different challenges in addressing climate change and international competition. They are proving their economic far-sightedness by committing to being a constructive part of the solution to climate change: they agree that the many benefits of a swift transition to the low-carbon economy outweigh the costs of emissions reductions.
They are calling for a European policy framework that will spur innovation and investment, e.g. in renewable and efficient energies to ensure European energy security. Imports of oil and gas could be reduced by €45.5 billion in 2020[1], and energy efficiency and renewable energy sources could decrease the economy’s import dependency and vulnerability to fossil fuel prices even further – the reduction in the oil and gas import bill could amount to €600 billion or more per annum by 2050[2].

Funding such investment could come from the instruments that are driven by Europe’s climate targets, like auctioning revenues from the European Union Emission Trading Scheme: it is estimated that stronger clean energy policies could help increase the EU’s cumulative investments by 20% between 2010 and 2020[3].
The 72 signatories have also understood that an increased climate ambition will contribute to the creation of new direct and indirect jobs. Overall, a stronger policy framework could result in a net increase of 6 million European jobs by 2020[4].

Luc Bas, Director European Programs, The Climate Group, says:
"Signatories to this declaration are part of a growing business community convinced that a 30% target can lead to the market transformation needed to ensure Europe's position as a global leader in a low carbon future. Now, more than ever, businesses realize that a clean industrial revolution is the only way forward for sustainable growth and job creation in Europe and the world."
Sandrine Dixson-Declève, EU Director, The Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, says:
"This declaration underscores what real business leaders have been saying repeatedly that low-carbon growth stimulated by greater climate policy ambition from the EU is not only feasible, but is a driver of economic recovery and the best foundation for future prosperity in Europe. Business leaders working with us are convinced that more ambitious short and medium term targets are essential to help drive up the carbon price and incentivize the low carbon investments needed to both reach the EU’s climate goals and exit the recession."
Tony Long, Director, WWF European Policy Office says:
"All of these companies demonstrate that business rationales on climate are evolving - a stronger policy framework is in their interest because of the investments and opportunities it can unlock. Retaining an EU 20% target would simply perpetuate a cycle of low ambition that will inevitably lead to dangerous climate change. Given the 30% target is a no-regrets position for Europe economically, it is logical to move to it now."

Corporate voices of support:

Jose Manuel Entrecanales Domecq, Chairman, Acciona, says:
"We need 21st century energies to build the 21st century economy. From our company's standpoint, to review the 20% GHG reduction target, even in the absence of a strong international agreement, makes economic sense because it will strengthen European leadership. Reaching a target beyond 20% will unlock innovation and financing potential, and will increase European industry's readiness for new growth and development opportunities as the markets for low-carbon, high-efficiency goods and services expand. Socially it will contribute to the European energy supply security, and will contribute with new direct and indirect jobs through Europe; lastly, environmentally, increasing the emission reduction target will help Europe to reach the 450ppm goal we need to keep global warming within the 2ºC limit by 2050."

Adolfo Dominguez, CEO at Adolfo Dominguez, says:
"In Adolfo Dominguez we believe that climate change is one of the greatest global threats we face and it is necessary to take urgent action to reduce emissions and to stop the "addiction" to carbon. Governments, acting in a coordinated manner should be the ones that lead this change by promoting low carbon economies and sustainable energy. By supporting initiatives such as the present one, we are encouraging Governments such as the European Union in establishing more ambitious objectives, and in the use of green technologies and creating new green jobs."

Dr. Kurt-Ludwig Gutberlet, CEO of BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeraete, says:
"Climate change, energy efficiency and resource conservation seem likely to top the agenda for the foreseeable future. We can make a valuable contribution to protecting our climate and our resources with our innovative super-efficient home appliances."

John Brock, Chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises, says:
"Climate change continues to be a critical challenge for industry, and Coca-Cola Enterprises is working diligently to grow our business while reducing our carbon emissions. We support the call for the EU to adopt a long-term 30% carbon reduction commitment and believe businesses like ours can partner with NGOs and policymakers to drive positive change.  This action would help us accelerate our own carbon reduction efforts, and encourage investment in renewable technology and low-carbon innovation."

Anders Eldrup, CEO, DONG Energy, says:
"Renewable energy at competitive prices is a prerequisite for a clean and reliable European energy supply. But the current framework does not properly incentivize renewable energy. While the energy sector strives to drive down the cost of renewable energy production through R&D, and while fossil fuel prices increase, we still need for European regulators and policy makers to ensure that the price of CO2 is properly reflected in the market. This calls for a move to 30% emissions reduction by 2020".

Alain Grisay, CEO of F&C Asset Management, says:
"Capital investment is vital to fund the transition to a low-carbon economy, and growing numbers of investors stand ready to play their part. But this capital will not flow at the scale and pace that is needed unless governments set clear, credible and stretching carbon emission targets. A 30 per cent GHG reduction target sends an unambiguous message that will mobilize capital and spur real growth in the low-carbon economy."

Giovanni Ferrero, CEO of Ferrero International says:
“A few years ago Ferrero started a program aimed at identifying and realizing specific actions towards the eco-sustainability of its industrial system, based upon energy savings activities, more efficient ways to produce energy, and the introduction of renewable energy. Following the implementation of this program, we have become aware on how a stronger attention to the environment can generate tangible results both for eco-sustainability and business. Stronger objectives towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 are a fundamental step to preserve the environment, to support the economic recovery and to gain technological leadership. However such important results can become reality only with an integrated and joint action of all the stake-holders, such as Consumers, Government, Business.”
Lindsey Parnell, CEO & President, InterfaceFLOR EMEAI, says:
"We are proud to support the call for an increase in the EU greenhouse gas reduction target. At InterfaceFLOR, we have seen firsthand how climate action can spur innovative thinking and benefit business. We have reduced our actual greenhouse gas emissions by 35% since 1996, by re-engineering our products and manufacturing processes and moving to renewable energy. Our goal is to eliminate our environmental footprint by 2020 and we urge other businesses to strive for equally ambitious targets to achieve real change."

Garrett A.G. Forde, CEO, Philips Lighting, says:
"Now is not the time for the EU to step on the brakes and give up its leadership position. Instead the EU should speed up the transition to a low carbon society, as we firmly believe there is a wide range of benefits for consumers, the environment and the economy. At Philips we have set the ambitious target to improve the energy efficiency of our entire portfolio by 50% by 2015. We believe we can set even more ambitious targets for beyond 2015 if the EU provides a clear, ambitious and long term commitment towards a low carbon economy."

Ian Marchant, CEO of SSE, says:
"SSE supports the call for a more ambitious EU target, as we believe that the benefits of early action far outweigh the costs of inertia or delayed action. Furthermore, it would support the ambition of the electricity industry to be fully decarbonised by 2050."

Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, says:
"We believe that a greater level of ambition for EU emissions reduction will provide incentives for innovation and investments, helping us maintain a competitive position in the low carbon economy and stimulating sustainable growth".

Dimitris Lois, COO at Coca-Cola Hellenic, says:
"Companies like ours are working hard to reduce carbon emissions by saving energy and investing in greener power sources. But our ability to deliver depends also on frameworks of energy production and usage in the countries where we operate. We therefore call on Governments to provide the right policies and incentives to promote greener energies, and in particular for the EU to commit to more ambitious CO2 reduction targets."

Ole Daugbjerg, Chief Reputation Officer, at Danfoss A/S, says:
"There is no reason to wait! Solutions are ready to be implemented in buildings and in industry so we support the appeal to the EU to strengthen the efforts and stretch targets."

Helena Helmersson, CSR Manager at H&M, says:
"Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time. H&M commit to acting climate smart and we strive to be as energy efficient as possible, to use more renewable energy and to inspire others to reduce total CO2 emissions. We want to raise awareness and that is why we fully support this declaration. By moving to a higher target the EU can lead by example in the international community and challenge other regions to gear up. European action on climate brings many advantages including new opportunities for businesses and an important stimulus for innovation."

Mikael Ohlsson, CEO and President, IKEA Group, says:
"At IKEA we are committed to a long term strategy where all IKEA Group stores and buildings will be supplied with 100% renewable energy and we will improve our overall energy efficiency by 25 percent compared with 2005. We drive renewable energy and energy efficiency in all aspects of our business and see opportunities together with our customers to be more energy efficient in every home. Clear and strong EU policies and goals are necessary to enable clean evolution and innovation together with businesses and citizens. The EU needs to play a leading role in tomorrow's society."

Hannah Jones, VP Sustainable Business and Innovation at Nike, says:
"Nike believes that progressive EU Climate Strategy will help forge the pathway to environmental progress, economic growth and will provide a healthy stimulus for innovation. We would like to see the EU being ambitious in its climate strategy because business needs certainty and a level playing field to help spur green jobs and unlock innovation essential to creating technology and infrastructure solutions for a sustainable future."

Agostino Renna, VP & GM, South & Central Europe, Energy Solutions, Johnson Controls Inc., says:
"There has never been a more compelling event than the phenomenon of climate change. With its formidable challenges will come unprecedented opportunities to drive innovation and economic growth in Europe. The time for action is now. Amplified, focused, ambitious and assertive policy and legislation aimed at stimulating demand for energy efficiency and low carbon technologies (especially in the buildings sector) in Europe, will bring clarity and certainty around the future of the new environmental economy and unlock investment and broad-based solutions of this truly global problem."

Paolo Fiorentino COO of UniCredit, says:
"We are proud to join WWF, the Climate Group and the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership in calling on European politicians and business leaders to establish significant, long-term targets to combat climate change.  Such targets, based on the introduction of specific policies for adoption by the banking sector, would be in line with our own climate change strategy, as well as our Environmental Sustainability Program.  This program advances three main objectives: the reduction of UniCredit’s internal emissions by 15 percent by 2012 and by 30 percent by 2020; the reduction of financed emissions related to our lending activities; and the implementation of specific initiatives designed to strengthen environmental awareness among all UniCredit employees."

Gavin Neath, Senior VP, Communications & Sustainability of Unilever, says:
"Sustainability and growth are not mutually exclusive. Some companies have strategies which seek to decouple their business growth from their environmental impacts. Unilever is one such company. Its recently launched Sustainable Living Plan has stretching goals to reduce its Greenhouse Gas emissions by halving the environmental footprint of its products and by sourcing 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably. To be successful Unilever needs governments to deliver their side of the bargain. For example Unilever will never be able to halve the Greenhouse Gas impacts of its shampoos and shower products unless governments decarbonise the energy markets such that the energy required to heat the shower water is massively less carbon intensive than it is today."

Notes to the Editor:

Click here to read the full text of the "Joint Business Declaration – Increasing Europe’s climate ambition will be good for the EU economy and jobs".

The following businesses have explicitly supported this Declaration so far:

Acciona, Adolfo Dominguez, Allianz, Alpro, Arjowiggins graphic, Arkadin, ASDA, Atkins, Aviva, Aviva Investors, Barilla, Better Place, BNP Paribas, Boralex, BSH Bosch Siemens Hausgeraete, British Telecom, BSkyB, Capgemini, Carrefour, Centrica, Climate Change Capital, Coca-Cola Enterprises, The Coca-Cola  Company, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Crédit Agricole, Danfoss, Danone, DHV Group, DONG Energy, Electrolux, Elopak, Eneco, Eurostar, F&C Asset Management, Ferrero, First Solar, Google, H&M, If P&C Insurance Company Ltd, IKEA, InterfaceFLOR, John Lewis Partnership, Johnson Controls Inc, Kingfisher, Lafuma, Mango, Marks and Spencer, National Grid, Nestlé, Nike, Nokia Siemens Networks, Novo Nordisk, Philips, PUMA, Rockwool, RSA, Scottish and Southern Energy, SKAI Group of Companies, Sony Europe, Standard Life, Sveaskog, Swiss Re, Thames Water, The Co-operative Group, Tryg, Unicredit, Unilever, United Biscuits, Velux, Vestas, Vodafone, WSP Group.

The joint business declaration was organised through the cooperation of The Climate Group, The Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and WWF/WWF Climate Savers. The Declaration does not necessarily reflect the position of all individual companies which are members/partners of these organisations.

The declaration is published and distributed ahead of the EU Environment Council on 21 June and the European Parliament vote on moving beyond 20% on 23 June.

For further information and interviews with the organisers or company representatives, please contact:
  • The Climate Group:
    Luc Bas, Director European Programs, The Climate Group – Brussels Office, Tel.: +32 (0)478 56 20 35, lbas@theclimategroup.org
  • The Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (Brussels Office):
    Sandrine Dixson-Declève, EU Director, Tel.: +32 (0)477 449 439, sandrine.dixson@cpsl.cam.ac.uk
  • WWF European Policy Office:
    Jason Anderson, head of EU climate and energy policy at WWF, Tel.: +32 (0)474 837 603, janderson@wwf.eu

About The Climate Group
The Climate Group (www.theclimategroup.org) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working internationally with government and business leaders to advance smart policies and technologies to cut global emissions and accelerate a low carbon economy.  Its global coalition of 78 leading companies, states, regions and cities around the world recognise the economic and environmental imperatives of taking decisive action now. The Climate Group was founded in 2004 and has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India and North America. 

The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL)
The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (www.cpsl.cam.ac.uk) works with business, government and civil society to build leaders' capacity to meet the needs of society and address critical global challenges. Its seminars, leadership groups (such as The Prince of Wales's  EU and UK Corporate Leaders Groups on Climate Change) and partnerships with those who make or influence decisions are designed to transform public and private sector policies and practices and build greater understanding of our interdependence with one another and the natural world. CPSL's network of alumni and leadership groups brings together the most influential leaders from across the world committed to creating a sustainable future. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is the patron of CPSL and its EU and UK Corporate Leaders Groups on Climate Change.

About WWF
WWF (wwf.panda.org) is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

[1]SEC(2010) 650, Commission staff working document accompanying the analysis of options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas  emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage, Part II, p60
[2]SEC(2011) 288 final, Impact assessment accompanying the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050, p59
[3]The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity”. December 2010.
[4]International consortium of researchers led by Professor Carlo C. Jaeger from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “A New Growth Path for Europe - Generating Growth and Jobs in the Low-Carbon Economy”. Commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. February 2011.
The number of signatories to the Joint Business Declaration has more than doubled in recent months, highlighting the urgent need for policy makers to commit to a 30% emissions reduction target by 2020.
© © Vasiliy Yakobchuk (istockphoto)