A group of CEOs and senior representatives of leading European companies today issued a joint statement expressing support for the European Green Deal, and committed to play their part in decarbonizing Europe’s economy and achieving climate-neutrality by 2050 by reducing their carbon footprints and embracing new production and work models.

The statement comes as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in her State of the European Union speech today, reasserted the Green Deal as a central element of Europe’s growth strategy and the region’s recovery efforts.

Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, said:

“The EU is putting in place the largest and greenest stimulus plan ever. It is the right time for businesses to show how they can effectively contribute to achieving the EU’s climate targets. As a next step, this group is working on lighthouse projects, which demonstrate how to step up action in areas such as sustainable transport and mobility, food and agriculture and renewable energy markets.”

The CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal, launched by the World Economic Forum, includes representatives from businesses from a variety of sectors, including Unilever, AXA SA, HSBC, Nestlé, and Deutsche Bank. In addition to expressing support for the deal, the statement calls for state interventions and stimulus need to reflect the need for a system shift, ensuring a fair and inclusive transition, encouraging carbon-offsetting and carbon-pricing schemes, rethinking sectoral business models, and financial disclosure through TCFD and ESG reporting. The group also states that Europe should “step up its game,” and become a leader in innovation, green technologies and sustainable finance.

CEO Action Group Co-Chairs, Axa’s CEO Thomas Buberl and Feike Sybesma, Royal DSM’s Honorary Chairman, said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic requires a massive and coordinated economic stimulus to both mitigate the economic repercussions of the pandemic and, above all, to accelerate the necessary transition to a low carbon economy. We have to take more and faster action with more emphasis on sustainability and circularity. The European Green Deal presents an opportunity to do just this. It requires a strong partnership between business, politics and society. Together we can make Europe the greenest, most innovative and inclusive region in the world, where the Green Deal should provide jobs and economic prosperity at the same time. The action plan announced today by the WEF CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal is an important step with concrete actions to support this agenda.”

Welcoming the statement, Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President in charge of the European Green Deal, said:

“The Green Deal is a once-in-a-generation effort to transform our economy. It is crucial to have European businesses on board, as we’ll need every company to contribute to climate neutrality and help deliver on the Green Deal. I very much support the efforts of the CEO Action Group to implement the European climate agenda.”