Companies call for net-zero emissions by 2050 to help transition to low-carbon economy

Energy Efficiency accelerating the shift to a decarbonised Europe

Climate change is defining our era. If our behavior doesn’t change, we risk missing the moment when we can avoid the disastrous consequences of climate change, for people and for the natural systems that support us all. We are at a defining moment.

The businesses call for a net-zero emissions reductions by 2050 at the latest, with the need for placing energy efficiency and smart use of energy at the center of the EU decarbonisation strategy.

Our key statements:

  1. Energy efficiency benefits European citizens
  2. A 1.5°C temperature goal for the world
  3. Net-Zero emissions by 2050 or sooner
  4. The “Energy Efficiency First” principle indispensable for achieving 1.5°c goal
  5. Energy efficiency and renewables work together to cut emissions
  6. An end to fossil fuel financing
  7. Energy efficiency benefits need to be assessed fairly

A climate-proof budget to leverage the necessary investments to deliver the Paris Agreement

The EU Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF) post 2020 will define the Union’s financial means to address societal, economic and environmental challenges for the next 7 years. Therefore, the MFF is a unique opportunity for the EU to demonstrate coherence with its long-term energy and climate objectives and a serious engagement to deliver tangible benefits to European citizens. Our business community considers the MFF as the framework that can outline the much-needed long term political direction for private investors.

Public EU funds are not sufficient to finance the energy transition. According to a recent report commissioned by the European Commission, the EU budget contribution to mitigation finance covers as little as 5-7% of the total resource required. However, the MFF has an important signaling and leveraging role to play to attract private investments necessary to fill the gap. The investments in clean technologies and in particular in cost-efficient energy efficiency projects will be unlocked only if the EU provides long term certainty to the private sector.

The present paper is the contribution of a cross-sectoral alliance of businesses on the current discussion concerning the overall MFF proposal and the related sectorial funding instruments.

Several of MFF sectoral legislative proposals, such as Cohesion Policy (CP), Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Horizon Europe and InvestEU, have a significant impact in sectors like energy, buildings and transport – which are major sources of GHG emissions. These funding instruments, if correctly designed, can drive growth and jobs across the EU. They can mobilize private investments in areas with high mitigation potential, such as energy efficiency, and be catalysts in the fight against climate change and the transition to a net zero carbon economy.


Unleashing the Energy Efficiency potentials in the EU water sector

The Energy Efficiency First principle is a powerful instrument to meet our climate goals at the least cost possible. According to a recent model scenario, aligned with the Paris Agreement, of the International Energy Agency, 76% of the GHG emissions reductions required in the European Union (EU) will need to be achieved through energy efficiency measures1. This means that energy waste shall be stopped in every sector with no exception, and water is certainly one of them.

The drinking and waste water sector is a high energy consumer, yet none of the water related directives – the Water Framework Directive, the Drinking Water Directive and the Urban Waste-Water Treatment Directive – covers energy efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Directive could also help address this potential.

Investing in Energy Efficiency to eradicate Energy Poverty – How can the Energy Union Governance Regulation help?

“Energy Efficiency First” is a principle that has gained growing visibility in European energy and climate policies and is of central importance in removing energy inefficiency as a major and persistent cause of energy poverty. Energy Efficiency First should be a pillar of the Energy Union. It means considering the potential for energy efficiency solutions in all decisions related to energy planning and investment. Concretely, it is about systematically comparing the cost-effectiveness and the added value of energy efficiency measures and energy supply solutions (considering also the externalities such as jobs and economic growth, energy security and climate change mitigation objectives). It boils down to making an informed choice to optimally invest taxpayers’ money and prioritize energy efficiency investments whenever they deliver more benefits.

Therefore, energy efficiency should be recognized as an energy resource and compete on equal footing with other supply side resources.

The Efficiency First concept has been championed by the Commissioners in charge of the Energy Union and further operationalized in proposed amendments to the legislative framework, including the Governance of the Energy Union Regulation, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Market Design files. One of the main goals of this legislative framework is to improve the energy performance of the EU building stock todeliverenergy andcost savings for all,contributingtoenhanced competitiveness for businesses and a fair deal for citizens.

A climate-proof budget to drive the EU clean energy transition to a low carbon economy


The European Union (EU) Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF) post 2020 will define the financial means to address societal, economic and environmental challenges the EU is currently facing.

The MFF is also a unique opportunity for the EU to demonstrate coherence with its long-term energy and climate policy objectives and deliver tangible benefits to European citizens.

With that in mind and in line with the EU’s Paris Agreement commitments, this paper presents the views of a cross-sectoral alliance of businesses united by the shared vision that energy efficiency, by driving growth, jobs and delivering European added value, is the key to a cost-efficient and competitive decarbonization of our economy.