Business and investor giants urge EU to raise 2030 emissions target

More than 150 businesses and a group of investors with €33trn in assets under management have today (15 September) called on the European Union (EU) to back the ambitions set out in its Green Deal by committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

The call to action comes as the EU is set to negotiate on the 2030 target, with the European Parliament's environment committee voting for a new EU-wide target of a 60% reduction by 2030

The call to action comes as the EU is set to negotiate on the 2030 target, with the European Parliament's environment committee voting for a new EU-wide target of a 60% reduction by 2030

Convened through the European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe), a cross-sectoral group of European businesses working towards delivering climate neutrality, 157 businesses and 21 business networks have issued the call to policymakers to back ambitious emissions reductions targets that would enable the EU to meet its climate neutrality target in the long run, while also aligning with the level of ambition required to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The chief executives from businesses including Ikea, Microsoft, Unilever, Google, Apple and H&M are publicly backing the EU to commit to a 55% emissions reduction target by 2030.

The call to action comes as the EU is set to negotiate on the 2030 target, with the European Parliament's environment committee voting for a new EU-wide target of a 60% reduction by 2030.

An open letter signed by the chief executives states: "What we urgently need to see next is an ambitious implementation of the recovery package focussed on achieving a green and digital transition, with the European Green Deal at its core and an elevated short-term emissions reduction target in its sights.

"The right decisions now can help create and protect healthy, thriving and fair communities and secure a roadmap for a prosperous economy. From a business and investor perspective, clarity on the net-zero transition pathway and timetables for each sector, as well as policy that enables substantial investments in carbon-neutral solutions is essential. This, in turn, would provide us with the confidence needed to invest decisively at the necessary pace and scale to reduce emissions, create decent green jobs, drive innovation, and accelerate the rebuilding of a resilient zero-carbon economy."

The call has also been backed by numerous corporate networks across Europe including BCSD Portugal, the Centre of Energy Efficiency Solutions (Slovenia), the European Alliance for Green Recovery, EU-ASE, EURIMA, EIIF, EHPA, The Aldersgate Group (UK), The Haga Initiative (Sweden), Skift Business Climate Leaders, the Solar Impulse Foundation, The Spanish Green Growth Group (Spain) and Wind Europe. The letter was delivered as part of the Business Ambition for 1.5C – a group of businesses committed to 1.5C science-based targets – and the We Mean Business coalition.

Specifically, the business leaders are agreeing to play their part in reaching net-zero emissions by mid-Century. The 157 businesses are pledging to submit resilient green recovery plans that will assist with the EU’s climate neutrality goal and will agree upon defined targets to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030, alongside associated objectives.

Investor calls

The calls for the 55% target have been echoed by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC). Representing more than 250 members with more than €33trn in assets under management, The IIGCC has called on the EU to back the 55% target alongside the European Commission’s investment strategy which seeks to mobilise €1trn in additional sustainable investment over the next decade through the Green Deal.

.“The EU has shown it understands climate action and economic growth go hand in hand, and has the full backing of investors in creating a more resilient economic future across member states,” Stephanie Pfeifer chief executive of the IIGCC said.

“Nonetheless, it’s imperative this vision is made real in the form of ambitious climate targets. The policy certainty this provides is critical to unlocking the increased private sector investment required to support clean growth and achieve a net-zero future, as the foundation of a truly sustainable long-term Covid-19 economic recovery across Europe.”

An IIGC report notes that a “well above” 55% target is required by the EU when taking into account the bloc’s global ‘effort sharing’ obligations in recognising historical emissions and economic capabilities to reduce emissions.

The investors want better clarity from policymakers in outlining pathways to reaching net-zero across specific sectors.

The report also highlights that the EU’s existing energy efficiency target of 32.5% and renewables target of 32% would both need to be increased to 40% by 2030 to help reach net-zero emissions.

Matt Mace



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