Impact business leaders call for EU politicians to stand ground on Green Deal ahead of elections

With the European Parliament elections fast approaching, leaders from across Europe’s impact community publish an open letter calling on politicians not to give in to pressure groups lobbying for a U-turn on green policies.

An open letter calling on Europe’s political leaders not to ‘give up on the momentum of the Green Deal’ has been released by a coalition of 17 impact business networks across Europe.

The letter from Business for a Better Tomorrow is set to be published in a range of national news outlets across Europe in the next few days, including Belgium’s L’Echo and Le Soir, Italy’s Ecomedia and Spain’s El Pais

It warns against politicians reneging on environmental promises made in recent years, in order to gain votes during the upcoming European Parliament elections on 6-9 June.

The letter states: “The Green Deal, which initiated the transition of the European economy, is now being progressively called into question for purely political reasons in response to pressure from lagging industries and traditional business lobbies.”

It adds: “To make matters worse, the likely rise of the far right in the European elections represents a potential major threat to progressive initiatives such as the Green Deal, which is already encountering significant resistance.”

The European Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives aiming to steer the EU’s climate, energy, transport and taxation policies towards a green transition, with the ultimate goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

Since it was launched by the European Commission in December 2019, it has been faced with opposition from farmers, right-wing parties and some large corporations, who claim that complying with the stricter environmental regulations have led to a fall in profits and added pressure to businesses.

Following months of blockades across Europe, carried out by farmers protesting against environmental regulations, policymakers have scaled back on the policies, scrapping new legislation limiting pesticide use and implementing caps on the import of tariff-free Ukrainian grains.

Concerned at potential backsliding by EU politicians ahead of the elections, the letter, which calls for a double-down on the Green Deal, has been signed by 17 leaders from across the impact sector, each representing an organisation in the coalition.

The future of Europe is on the ballot in a way it’s never been before. Standing at the crossroads, we have a choice

Toby Gazeley, policy lead at Euclid Network, said: “The future of Europe is on the ballot in a way it’s never been before. Standing at the crossroads, we have a choice. We can take the short term, easy, business-as-usual approach which will only come back to hurt us all, especially the most vulnerable, in the near future. Or, we can choose to take the path towards a more inclusive, greener and social Europe where people and the planet come first, above profits for profit’s sake.”

The Business for a Better Tomorrow coalition was launched on 1 February, with the aim of lobbying for regulations that can help impact businesses achieve their goals and accelerate the European economy’s shift towards a just transition. It includes Mouvement Impact France, the European Sustainable Business Federation, Euclid Network, Kaya - the Belgian Coalition of Ecopreneurs, Social Enterprise Netherlands, and more.

Caroline Neyron, managing director of Mouvement Impact France, said: “It is essential to make the voice of committed entrepreneurs heard throughout Europe to continue the positive transformation of the economy in the coming years.”

Engagement must no longer be seen as a burden for companies, but rather as a competitive advantage

She added: “It’s clear that economic rules today are obsolete and privilege the worst practices to the detriment of impact-driven businesses: engagement must no longer be seen as a burden for companies, but rather as a competitive advantage.”

Benoit Quittre, president of Kaya, the Belgian Coalition of Ecopreneurs, said: “A double knot in our economic system is strangling the transition to a sustainable society: companies adopting environmentally friendly practices have difficulty developing. It’s time to change the rules of the game, to give value to what contributes to the prosperity of tomorrow!”


Top photo: Business for a Better Tomorrow members at the launch of the coalition, courtesy of Mouvement Impact France


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