Opinion - 15/June/2018

Why climate strategies make business sense

Clear and ambitious climate and energy plans are essential to reduce emissions and provide certainty for business, says Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at the WWF’s European Policy Office

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at the WWF’s European Policy Office in Brussels, underlines why long-term, ambitious energy transition planning is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create business opportunities

 

Planning could be called “the oldest tool in the book”. As far back as 500 BC, Confucius said: “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” Successful businesses are built around well thought out plans and strategies. It makes sense then, that when faced with one of the biggest potential threats ever seen, namely climate change, companies looking to the future are urging EU policy makers to be ambitious when drawing up long-term climate and energy plans.

EU member states must produce, by 2020 at the latest, national climate and energy strategies, and the EU agreed under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to draw up a regional strategy out to 2050.

Clear, transparent and ambitious emissions reductions strategies will provide certainty and guidance to business and investors now and in the future. Many companies already realise this and have offered their support for strong climate change strategies. The WWF’s MaxiMiseR project is working with representatives from governments, civil society and business, including industry leaders such as Rockwool, Philips and Schneider Electric to push for strong legislation on the EU 2050 climate strategies. They, plus civil society organisations also belonging to the project, recently signed a statement backing this call.

It makes sense that the business world is getting on board: good climate strategies will provide companies with new avenues. A tough emissions reduction goal can spur huge growth in green and sustainable sectors. A country intending a significant increase in solar power or a major boost for energy efficient buildings provides a clear indication of where opportunities lie.

 

 

Bad for business and bad for the climate

What’s more, a warming world where the economy, seasons, weather and migration patterns fluctuate unpredictably is bad news for companies’ bottom lines. On the other hand, showing responsibility and leadership in terms of climate change and the energy transition is good for a business’s image and part and parcel of building a safer future for the company to operate in.

To make national emissions reductions strategies work for business as well as the climate they must be ambitious and structured in a similar way in different European countries. The EU in its 2050 energy roadmap should set an ambitious overall emissions reduction goal and provide a clear template and guidelines to member states to help this happen. The European Commission and Parliament and national policy makers must also consult with businesses, and with civil society, cities and other groups, when they develop their strategies, to ensure their needs and concerns are taken into account.

If done properly, 2050 climate strategies will be essential tools of the transition to a society based on renewables and energy efficiency, showing everyone involved the same direction of travel. Yet unfortunately, so far, only four EU countries, the Czech Republic, France, the UK and Germany, have submitted long-term strategies to the UNFCCC, the UN body working on climate change.

By dragging their heels, governments are diminishing the chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, of meeting the EU’s Paris agreement goals and threatening the future of businesses.

 

Photo: European Policy Centre / Emmanuelle Petit


Do you have a thoughtful response to the opinion expressed here? Do you have an opinion regarding an aspect of the global energy transition you would like to share with other FORESIGHT readers? If so, please send a short pitch of 200 words and a sentence explaining why you are the right person to deliver this opinion to opinion@foresightdk.com.

Share

Related articles

A green investment boost or risk of a bubble?

Discussions sparked by plans for banks in the EU to hold less capital against green lending have advanced thinking about how monetary authorities and regulators can support green investment, even if the plans themselves have received a mixed reception

Read more

Australia, New Zealand explore low-carbon solutions

Australia, New Zealand explore low-carbon solutions

Two antipodean countries, two different approaches to the low-carbon transition. While New Zealand is starting to lead from the top-down, Australia still lacks clear national policies with a patchwork of approaches to decarbonisation remaining the order of the day

Read more

Mirella Vitale, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communication and Public Affairs at Rockwool Group

Building tomorrow, today

Energy efficiency is the planet’s first fuel. Energy we don’t consume is cheaper, cleaner and more abundant than any other source. Insulating our buildings may seem an obvious way to save energy, but Rockwool Group’s Mirella Vitale warns that without ambitious long-term policy goals, society will fail to reap the full potential of energy efficient buildings

Read more

Danish businesses drive electric revolution, but government remains in park mode

Jeppe Juul, recently appointed president of the board of Transport & Environment (T&E), the Brussels-based organisation that helped break the dieselgate scandal, in conversation with FORESIGHT on his hopes and frustrations about the future of EVs.

Read more

Monica Frassoni, president of the European Alliance to Save Energy, believes that companies are poised to put their money in energy efficiency projects, but worries that a clear political signal is still lacking

European businesses ready to invest in energy efficiency

Full support for energy efficiency from EU politicians will give companies the confidence to invest in projects that will benefit the economy, the environment and society at large, says Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy

Read more