Business perspective on the transition to a climate-neutral future

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The transition to a climate-neutral future by 2050 needs to be supported by significant investment and a regulatory framework that ensures a level playing field for companies from Europe and other parts of the globe. Moreover, such a transition will only be feasible if all stakeholders are on board. The road to climate neutrality will entail costs for all parties – governments, companies, and citizens too – and everyone needs to be aware of that. These are some of the main takeaways from the Round Table on the "Business perspective on the transition to a climate-neutral future by 2050" that took place in Brussels on 6 November.

The event was co-organised by the EESC Employers' Group and the Employers of Poland, and brought together business community and industry representatives from all over Europe. The initiative provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs to identify the conditions that make it possible to achieve ambitious climate commitments without harming Europe's competitiveness.

Luca Jahier, the president of the EESC, said at the Round Table that we needed political leadership and regulatory certainty to send clear signals to business, and to create conditions in which companies are able to adapt while remaining competitive.

"Companies do not merely support the transition to a climate-neutral future", said Jacek Krawczyk, the president of the EESC Employers' Group. "It is companies that contribute the most to this transition. It is enterprises that provide innovative solutions and concrete technologies." Andrzej Malinowski, the president of the Employers of Poland, underlined the importance of taking a pragmatic approach to this transformation, of identifying feasible goals, and of identifying and implementing workable solutions for the most pressing climate issues.

Participants agreed that innovative solutions that contributed to fighting climate change could at the same time increase Europe's competitive edge, but that climate change remained a global issue and, without global commitment, it was difficult to maintain a level playing field for all. They felt that the transition to climate neutrality should be fair and gradual, and that all stakeholders – policy makers, businesses, workers and citizens in general – needed to share responsibility for making it happen.

The cost of transition to climate neutral economy will be shared among everyone and we must prepare citizens for that fact. We need significant European investments' programme – said Michał Kurtyka, president of COP24 and Secretary of State in Polish Ministry of Environment. He encouraged business to be very active in the work on New Green Deal. In his view, new legislation will be successful only if all stakeholders are on-board.