Businesses call on EU to get tough on climate change

A coterie of leading UK businesses is calling on the EU to do more to combat climate change by clarifying its targets on reducing emissions, outline what the corporate world can do to help meet them and provide more support for innovative low-carbon technologies.

In an open letter to EU President Jose Manuel Barroso members of the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry (CPI) call for decisive leadership on the issue.

The CPI uses some of the university’s top minds to educate business executives about the complex issues surrounding sustainability and so far 25 leading companies have signed up to the programme, including Asda, Tesco, John Lewis, B&Q, Shelland Vodafone.

The shifting sands of climate politics mean the corporates are now pushing politicians to use legislation and revenue to bring down emissions.

Since companies want to prosper in perpetuity, rather than for an electoral cycle or two, many are now waking up to the fact that this can be better achieved in a stable climate.

The best hope for this, they believe, is if politicians face up to the issues and tackle them head on. They can also help by providing a clear framework which provides the certainty businesses crave in order to plan ahead, as well as funding to support innovative technologies which will bring both economic and environmental benefits.

Aled Jones, Development Director with the Cambridge Programme for Industry, said: “The letter is a clear message to President Barroso that there is growing support from business for stronger EU action on climate change. We want him to show personal leadership on the climate change issue.

“It is important that these leaders and leaders from other companies with major European operations now work in partnership with the President to help support progress on climate change within the EU.”

Within the letter, the signatories each offer support for advancing climate change policy. “As business leaders, our concern is with how we can help bridge the gap between today’s economy and the lower-carbon future that will be needed to reach these goals,” it states.

The signatories also called for a clear policy framework that creates a long-term value for emission reductions, clarification on the EU’s targets for reducing emissions and guidance on how businesses can work to fulfil them. The letter also requested heavier EU involvement in supporting the development of low-carbon technology.

Sam Bond

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