CSR Europe, a business network for corporate social responsibility (CSR), has announced it will be lobbying for an overarching European climate and sustainability plan. It made the announcement in response to the newly elected Presidents of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Parliament beginning their terms. More than 200 CEOs have pledged to push for an inclusive strategy, making the gathering the largest assembly of business leaders over any policy issue in Europe. CSR Europe stresses the need to act on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as its policy focus.
The SDGs were developed in 2015 as seventeen global goals that comprise the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Goals seven and thirteen relate directly to progress in clean energy and tackling the climate crisis, respectively. The European Commission’s SDG progress report for 2019 delivers mixed news for goal seven as renewable energy has increased its presence in electricity, heating, cooling, and transport. However, energy security is threatened by greater demand for primary and final energy and an increased dependence on energy imports from outside the EU. Progress against goal thirteen is also neutral, with the EU on track to meet its short-term climate targets but not its long-term ones. Data also show a rise in European surface temperatures and an increase in ocean acidification.
A global assessment of the status of the SDGs is presented at the annual UN High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF). This year’s HLPF will review goal thirteen among others in the theme of “empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”, which acknowledges climate change as an issue that impacts equality. This theme is in line with CSR Europe’s lobbying interest in the SDGs. Its call is for ‘inclusive’ climate and sustainability policy. It also mirrors language used in the UK that climate policy should produce a ‘just transition’ that allows all sectors of the economy to be greened while retraining their workers.
Sources: CSR Europe, Eurostat