Environment and Energy

European CEOs Join Forces to Fight Climate Change

Written by Tim Triplett

Corporate executives in Europe have combined forces to lobby for policies to address climate change and to lead by example through their own companies’ actions. The new European CEO Alliance believes that fighting climate change will require a collective effort by all EU member states and collaboration between the public sector and industry to achieve the EU’s goal to cut carbon emissions by 55% by 2030.

“Climate change will remain our greatest challenge over the next years and decades. The CEO Alliance fully supports the EU Commission’s climate goals, to which there is no alternative. Now it’s time to shift the political discussions towards getting it done,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess.

The European CEO Alliance has issued policy recommendations supporting a progressive and ambitious push to achieve climate neutrality. Notably, the alliance is calling for a carbon pricing signal covering all emissions across industries and countries. The alliance also supports continued enhancement of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (for power and heavy industry) and for the implementation of sector-specific cap-and-trade systems that would apply to mobility, transport and the buildings sector. Sector-specific systems could then converge beginning in 2030.

Decarbonizing mobility, transport and buildings will be the major challenges, the CEOs noted. Electrifying vehicles has proven to be the most efficient technology for reducing emissions. To foster the entire ecosystem around electric mobility, members of the CEO Alliance have initiated cross-sectoral projects to ramp up battery production and create a charging infrastructure across Europe.

Turning its attention to the EU Commission’s Buildings Renovation Wave, the alliance supports ambitious renovation targets (of at least 3% per year) to accelerate the transformation of the building stock. Buildings should meet higher standards regarding energy efficiency, renewables and sustainable materials. The alliance also calls for fossil-fuel heating systems to be rapidly replaced by rolling out electric heat pumps, district heating and digital solutions. The CEOs are committed to applying this recommendation to their companies’ own buildings.

The European climate targets require a rapid build-up of renewable power generation and the direct electrification of mobility, transport and heating/air conditioning for buildings. The CEO Alliance is working on a project to integrate power systems, in particular grids, to create a system based mainly on renewables and flexible solutions.

H2 Green Steel, a startup venture in Sweden that plans to build a hydrogen-based steel mill in the next few years, is a member of the alliance. “We are honored to have been invited to be part of this prestigious group of companies, sharing a conviction to support the EU Green Deal. We strongly believe that fighting climate change will require a collective effort by all EU member states. Collaboration between the public sector and industry is essential. With our expertise in hydrogen and CO2-free steel production, we can bring the latest knowledge to the table, to further enable and accelerate the transition of heavy industry towards sustainable operations,” said H2 Green Steel CEO Henrik Henriksson.

Latest in Environment and Energy