Blog post

What business can do for the European Green Deal

Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, Director of the Jacques Delors Energy, Jacques Delors Institute and Peter Sweatman, CEO of Climate Strategy & Partners, propose 9 climate, innovation and social actions for CEOS in a climate emergency.

Last month, the European Union launched its most significant endeavour since the creation of the Single Market: The European Green Deal. The European Green Deal and its 47 related actions will shape the energy, transport, industry, finance, construction, food, tourism, and digital industries and markets for decades to come. This offers an opportunity for businesses leaders to engage their directors, employees and stakeholders in transformative climate and innovation actions that deliver key social and economic impacts and meet the urgency of the climate crisis in this decade. Global average temperatures have already risen by more than 1°C[1]. Extreme weather events are more frequent and more intense, most clearly visible in Australia at the time of writing. Yet amid loud calls for climate action, we are not collectively moving fast enough to avoid irreversible climate devastation[2]. The 2020s can be different. At the end of 2019, the European Parliament declared a climate emergency[3], the European Commission proposed the ‘European Green Deal’[4] and the European Council endorsed “the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050”[5]. This means that the world’s largest market for goods and services decided to align its entire economy with the goals of the Paris Agreement. No business will be left behind, unless it wilfully ignores the climate and social reality of this new decade. At the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, the world’s leading CEOs will have their first opportunity to engage with the ambition of the European Green Deal. This briefing unwraps this new political reality and its impact on businesses, and proposes nine concrete actions CEOs can undertake to engage in a decade of climate emergency.

[1] Alan Buis, A degree of concern : why global temperatures matter, NASA, 19 June 2019.

[2] International Panel on Climate Change, 1,5°C Report, 2018.

[3] European Parliament, Resolution on the climate and environment emergency, 28 November 2019.

[4] European Commission, The European Green Deal, Communication, 11 December 2019.

[5] European Council, Conclusions, 12 December 2019.