Businesses hold a huge sway over our governments. Stating the bleeding obvious, I know. So it’s probably not surprising that some major companies are lobbying to sabotage efforts to improve European climate targets.
But, we now have the evidence to name and shame some of these companies and associations publicly. Some of the companies we know that are holding back European climate ambitions are Volkswagen, Microsoft, BP, Maersk, Veolia and Accenture.
Right now executives from these companies are being locked out of the major European Business Summit 2011, by more than 170 Greenpeace activists.
The volunteers are dressed in business suits and are using modified briefcases to secure themselves to the conference centre entrances and close them off.
These shameless companies are trying to hold back environment ministers from increasing the EU target for carbon emissions reductions from 20% to 30% by 2020, even though we are already on track to make the 20% reduction because of the recession. Also, a 30% reduction would be easy for Europe to achieve while bringing us a step closer to the 40% target scientists recommend.
The European business lobby is split with some impressive corporations in favour of the increased targets for emission reductions - including giants Unilever, Google, Phillips, BSkyB, Vodafone and Tesco. They argue that cutting European emissions would boost green investment that will help Europe compete with countries like the US and China in clean energy technologies.
Other big brands, including Scottish and Southern, Sainsbury’s, IKEA, MANGO and the PPR Group (with a portfolio of brands that includes Puma and Gucci), have also recently joined the movement of businesses who want to see more ambition from Europe in building a greener economy.
Politicians are now feeling the sway. Seven EU ministers are also supporting stronger carbon emissions cuts including the UK which just yesterday committed to carbon emissions cuts of 50% by 2025 in line with the independent climate change committee recommendations.
There are many reasons for European businesses to support more ambitious targets. The new target would boost clean energy investment, create millions of new jobs and make Europe more competitive with China. And, more importantly, it would take us a step closer to beating climate change and ensure that they can continue to enjoy good business in the future - longterm.
The dirty businesses just need to get out of the way.
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