The EESC wishes to highlight changes in mindsets in companies that are paving the way to new or adjusted business models. Sustainability is a strategic issue in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and in similar national initiatives as well as in the preparation of sectoral low-carbon roadmaps at EU level. Changes in the focus and structure of companies and in international value chains are bringing new business models into being.
European companies are progressively integrating sustainability into their strategies and a new culture of innovation, envisaging competitive advantages. There is a widespread belief, from management to shop floor, that adjustments will bear fruit, creating win-win situations.
In the transition towards a low-carbon economy, up-to-date skills and the availability of highly-qualified jobs must be ensured so as to avoid, as far as possible, discontinuity or temporary unemployment
To support the growth initiative, the EESC calls on the EU and the Member States to consider using funding that is currently untapped, or even completely new, as a source for financing urgent measures. The Commission should stimulate R&D and innovation by giving priority to low-carbon initiatives in the forthcoming Horizon 2020 programme.
Latest developments are to be taken into consideration. The EESC advocates an up to date assessment of low carbon targets given a worrying shift in industrial activities towards third countries, that turns out to be detrimental to European investments and jobs.
Consistency is crucial. The EESC underlines the need for a well-defined, coherent and long-term EU framework discussed with all stakeholders, the avoidance of overregulation, a strong link between R&D/innovation and energy/climate policy, and an effective energy infrastructure and storage capacities