De-Carbonisation & Digitalisation in the context of globalisation

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As Europe embarks on its ambitious green and digital transitions in a more unsettled and unpredictable world, it is essential that the right strategies and means to maintaining and improving the EU's competitiveness are duly reasoned and substantiated.

De-carbonisation and digitalisation are two mutually reinforcing and intertwined processes that represent an unparalleled opportunity to move out of the fragility of the COVID-19 crisis and – strengthen the position of the EU in key strategic value chains while preserving the benefits of an open economy.

However, these transitions will take place in a time of rapidly evolving geopolitical context that is having a profound effect on Europe’s industry. Global competition, protectionism, market distortions, trade tensions and challenges to the level playing field are all on the rise. Coupled with a period of global economic uncertainty, these trends pose new challenges for Europe as it sets off on the twin ecological and digital transitions.

Achieving climate neutrality and digital leadership will not be an easy task for Europe. On the one hand, decarbonizing the industry will burden energy intensive companies (steel, cement, chemical sectors) with high-energy costs while simultaneously imposing a massive structural change on the industrial, transport and energy sectors, with the risk of ultimately placing them at an economic disadvantage in a competitive global market. On the other hand, digitalisation is happening at a slow pace in Europe, when compared to Asia and the US.[1] Indeed, European companies are making little use of data and have few databased business models, the connectivity of rural areas is badly developed; and digital readiness varies greatly from sector to sector and from company to company.

How can businesses mitigate risks and successfully steer the digitalisation and de-carbonisation of their organisations into an uncertain future? How can the European policy makers facilitate the creation of sustainable and competitive business models and industrial ecosystems?

Undoubtedly, managing the disruptive developments of digitalisation and de-carbonisation to ultimately ‘future-proofing’ our economies demands reimagining production processes and requires concerted efforts between businesses within and between industrial sectors, Member States, regions and EU institutions. The right conditions are needed for companies of all sizes to thrive and grow. Therefore, political strategies need to be defined clearly and in a timely manner while involving all relevant stakeholder in the consultation process on the best possible pathways to achieve the transformation.

The webinar will be structured into two sessions to tackle de-carbonisation and digitalisation respectively, and aims at elaborating political recommendations for addressing the challenges posed by both these disruptive developments and their impact on the competitiveness of European economies beyond COVID-19.

This online seminar is organised in the context of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Session 1 - Globalisation & De-carbonisation (The EU Green Deal)

Whether the EU’s Green Deal will indeed lead to the creation of sufficient new, sustainable and competitive business models and industrial ecosystems is yet to be seen.

In this section the following questions should be addressed:

  • What are the implication of the ambitious EU climate policy 2030 for companies? Do they offer sufficient climate friendly products, processes and innovations to stay competitive in the face of state subsidized competitors and dumping strategies?
  • What are the right incentives in the context of the Green Deal to invest in climate friendly technologies and products and use non-fossil fuels?
  • How do the climate policies impact company structures and business models (potential sales losses, discontinuation of products, changes to products)?
  • Do we have the right experts to turn the Green Deal into a real economic success?
  • Can digitization help with de-carbonization and improved resource efficiency?

Session 2 - Globalisation & Digitalisation

Digital standards will be crucial for the fabric and structure of the future world order. Being the one to set those standards should be the EU’s main goal.

In this section the following questions should be addressed:

  • How can the EU address China’s excessive data collection policies (data localization measures), such as the Corporate Social Credit System (SCS), which also includes foreign companies being monitored via the “Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System“?
  • How can the EU help European companies that might fall victim to censorship, espionage or IPR theft?
  • The “China Standards 2035” (= “digital silk road”) strategy aims to develop new standards, norms and rules for digital products and future technologies not only for the Chinese market but also for the increasing Chinese sphere of influence and dominance in Africa and Asia. How should the EU react to these activities, also with regard to European exports and access to these markets?

Is the European regulatory environment less favorable for the digital economy that the US approach?

The webinar can be followed live via: and


Programme - De-carbonisation and digitalisation in the context of globalisation