No More Business as Usual: Green Deal Needed in Europe’s Recovery, Say Company Leaders

Bron: Duurzaamondernemen.nl


Chief executive officers (CEOs) and senior representatives of around 30 European companies expressed yesterday (16 september) their support for the European Green Deal as a growth strategy for Europe with a joint statement. The COVID-19 recovery is the opportunity to reset Europe’s economy with a new growth model on the path to net-zero emissions, based on circularity, renewable energy and low-carbon industries.

Beeld: Magnus Commodities

The CEOs said they firmly believe the way out of the current crisis cannot be more of the same. They commit to reducing their carbon footprint and to embrace new production and work models to play their part in decarbonizing Europe’s economy and achieving climate-neutrality by 2050.


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.‘ commented the CEO Action Group Co-Chairs, Axa’s CEO Thomas Buberl and Feike Sybesma, Royal DSM’s Honorary Chairman.

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,‘ Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, added.


The EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in her State of the European Union speech today, is expected to reassert the Green Deal as a central element of Europe’s growth strategy and the region’s recovery efforts. Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President in charge of the European Green Deal, welcomed the CEO statement: ‘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.’


CEOs and senior representatives supporting the statement are:


  • Michael Altendorf, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Adtelligence GmbH, Germany

  • Marco Alverà, Chief Executive Officer, Snam S.p.A., Italy

  • Claudia Azevedo, Chief Executive Officer, SONAE SGPS SA, Portugal

  • Kai Beckmann, Chief Executive Officer, Performance Materials, Member of the Executive Board, Merck, Germany

  • Dick Benschop, President and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Schiphol Group, Netherlands

  • Jesper Brodin, Chief Executive Officer, Ingka Group (IKEA), Netherlands

  • Thomas Buberl, Chief Executive Officer, AXA SA, France*

  • Levent Cakiroglu, Chief Executive Officer, Koç Holding AS, Turkey

  • Bertrand Camus, Chief Executive Officer, SUEZ, France

  • Liam Condon, President, Bayer Crop Science, Bayer AG, Germany

  • Claudio Descalzi, Chief Executive Officer, Eni SpA, Italy

  • Hanneke Faber, President, Foods and Refreshment Division, Unilever, Netherlands

  • Camilla Hagen Sørli, Member of the Board, Canica AS, Norway

  • André Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Switzerland

  • John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive Officer, Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited, United Kingdom

  • Svein Tore Holsether, President and Chief Executive Officer, Yara International ASA, Norway

  • Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi, France

  • Nuno Matos, Chief Executive Europe, HSBC Holdings Plc, United Kingdom

  • Gerald Podobnik, CFO Corporate Bank, Deutsche Bank AG, Germany

  • Jonas Prising, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ManpowerGroup, USA

  • François Riahi, Chief Executive Officer, Natixis, France

  • Yves Robert-Charrue, Member of the Executive Board and Head of Switzerland, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd, Switzerland

  • Michael Schernthaner, Chief Executive Officer, Schur Flexibles Group, Austria

  • Veronica Scotti, Chairperson, Public Sector Solutions, Swiss Re Management Ltd, Switzerland

  • Marco Settembri, Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Nestlé, Switzerland

  • Feike Sybesma, Honorary Chairman, Royal DSM NV, Netherlands*

  • Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Schneider Electric, France

  • Loic Tassel, President, Europe, Procter & Gamble, Switzerland

  • Bernhardt von Spreckelsen, Fashion Photographer & Developing Hyper Luxury, Brand Owner, Bernhardt von Spreckelsen, United Kingdom


The CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal, launched in autumn 2019 in cooperation with the World Economic Forum and the European Commission, seeks to mobilize business to step up commitments towards achieving the Green Deal and the EU greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030 in order to drive a clean and inclusive economic recovery.


*Co-chairs of the CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal