'No business without a planet': Europe's big companies urge fossil phase-out at COP28

'No business without a planet': Europe's big companies urge fossil phase-out at COP28
Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, United States. Credit: Belga/Yorick Jansens

As negotiations on the fossil fuel phase-out at COP28 are reaching a tense moment, 65 of Europe's most influential businesses – including multinationals such as IKEA, Nestlé and Unilever – are calling on the EU to back a total phase-out, as the 'phase-down' option currently on the table is "not enough."

With several different options being considered, a phase-down for fossil fuel is not enough; a total phase-out is "crucial," stressed the companies – which collectively make over €823 billion in annual revenue.

"We are in the midst of a climate emergency – and no one is exempt. The role of business will be crucial on the road to reaching 1.5 degrees. They understand that we must phase out fossil fuels imminently," said Ursula Woodburn, Director of Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) Europe, in a statement to The Brussels Times.

"We must also ramp up renewables and increase energy efficiency to ensure our children’s prosperity and security," she added. "Alongside partners from across the continent, we have come together in the past few days to call on European leaders to stand firm and push for clear language in the final COP28 negotiations."

From fossil to clean

The letter is addressed to European Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra, Spain's Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera and the heads of the EU Member State delegations. More than anything else, the companies stress that "there will be no business without a planet."

Therefore, the businesses are urging "all parties at COP28" to support language that will set the world economy on a clear path to a tripling of renewable energies by 2030, doubling energy efficiency and a fossil fuel phase-out. However, negotiations on the language have been difficult so far.

They stressed that over 200 businesses with over $1.5 trillion in revenue already support the "from fossil to clean" call coordinated by the We Mean Business Coalition – including major global brands such as Coca-Cola, Michelin and Volvo Cars (the full list can be found here).

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Coca-Cola Europacific Partners stated that the world is "not decarbonising fast enough. That is why we are calling for ambitious action to rapidly scale clean energy solutions, to help businesses transition from fossil fuels and meet net-zero targets," said the company's VP of Sustainability, Joe Franses.

"At COP28, these voices of major business leaders must not be ignored by world leaders. The time to phase out fossil fuels is now," they underlined. EU businesses with a strong presence across the globe have already put strategies in place to get to net-zero and invest in a sustainable future.

"As European business organisations, representing businesses of all sizes and sectors, we urgently call upon our national governments and the EU to push for clear language to phase out fossil fuels in the final negotiated outcomes of COP28," they emphasised.

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