OVER 70 European companies have signed up to a declaration calling for the European Union to move its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels.
The call from businesses to adopt a 30 per cent emissions reduction target comes ahead of the vote next week on moving beyond the existing 20 per cent target, when both the EU Environment Council and the European Parliament will be considering the greenhouse gas emission targets on the 21 and 23 June respectively.
The business impact is highlighted by the companies who have shown their support. The change in targets they say will allow the European Union to preserve its competitiveness and build a low-carbon economy. Together the signatories account for more than 3.8 million employees with an annual turnover of more than €1 trillion.
The number of signatories to the declaration has more than doubled in recent months, and it is hoped that the companies that are calling for a European policy framework will spur innovation and investment, in renewables and energy efficiency, to ensure European energy security.
The 72 signatories also say that an increased 'climate ambition' will contribute to the creation of new green jobs, both directly and indirectly.
Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne has welcomed the call from so many European companies. He said: 'More and more businesses now realise that Europe's future prosperity lies in a low carbon economy. There is a danger that the current lack of resolve from the EU will put a brake on the growth aspirations of some of Europe's biggest firms.
'Backing from major corporations such as Ikea, Coca Cola and M&S will put greater pressure on the EU to raise its emissions reduction target to 30 per cent and to establish clear incentives for low carbon growth as soon as possible.'
Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said: 'Politicians across Europe must listen to this clear message from forward thinking businesses, who know that a stronger policy framework will be in their interest because of the investments and opportunities it can unlock.
'Sticking with the current EU 20 per cent target would simply perpetuate a cycle of low ambition that will inevitably lead to dangerous climate change. The 30 per cent target is a no-regrets position for Europe’s economy, and it is logical to move to it now.'