Dear Commission President von der Leyen,

As a new year starts, Europe faces a multitude of compounding challenges. The ongoing Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and the aftermath of the pandemic have created massive challenges to our energy system and for global supply chains, which together have detrimental effects on the European economy. Meanwhile, the challenge of climate change is only growing increasingly urgent.

The CEO Alliance strongly believes that climate mitigation efforts by individual companies and of Europe as a whole can also improve Europe’s resilience against these other, parallel crises. To succeed, strengthened European cooperation is essential. With coordinated and unified European action – aiming especially at the energy sector, infrastructure for renewables, electrification, energy efficiency, digitalisation, and industrial value chains – we believe we can achieve our vision of a more prosperous, sustainable and resilient Europe.

With this letter, the CEO Alliance would like to offer our input on key actions required within the year ahead in key sectors:

Firstly, concerning the energy sector, two high level tasks will be key for the year ahead, addressing the short and longer term respectively:

  • Short-term measures must be taken to address the energy crisis and the challenge of ensuring adequate energy and gas supply for the winter of 2023-2024, while accelerating the transition away from dependence on fossil fuels. Action should be taken to speed up electrification and energy efficiency, and to increase renewable electricity production e.g. through harmonisation of policy frameworks and simplified permitting. We call upon policymakers in the EU and its Member States to continue building on the momentum of the RePowerEU plan in 2023.

  • Complementing and building on these short-term measures, we must work towards the fundamental transformation of the European energy system, including sector coupling. To fully address the climate crisis, the EU and its Member States must build a fossil-free energy system, which will be a cornerstone of European sovereignty, resilience, competitiveness and prosperity. To be successful, the upcoming revision of the EU electricity market design, the development of the hydrogen market and the overall approach to the polluter-pays principle must be built on market principles and strong price signals and be designed to attract and promote private investment in the right direction. Proper carbon pricing will accelerate direct electrification in industrial processes, while an accelerated ramp-up of renewable hydrogen production can enable decarbonization of hard-to-abate industrial processes.

Digitalisation presents uncaptured potential for improving energy efficiency, and should therefore be seen as an indispensable part of the transition to a low-carbon society. Connected devices, edge control and mobile technologies – not least facilitated by 5G networks – are essential enablers of monitoring, visualisation and management of energy production, distribution and consumption. Active energy efficiency technologies are readily available, can be installed without permitting procedures, and provide up to 30% energy savings with quick return on investment (approx. five years).

Second, the transformation of our energy system can only reach its full potential if coupled with an ambitious deployment of corresponding and adequate infrastructure, which would enable direct and indirect electrification of industry and the transport sector:

 
  • To enable rapid electrification of industries and transport, European power grids must be rapidly developed and adapted to the new needs: increased demand, and new load and generation patterns. A key step in this regard would be the development of more agile permitting procedures for electricity grids, similarly to what the EU and its Member States have achieved with regard to deployment of renewable energy generation. Increased flexibility, more interconnectors, distributed generation and demand-side optimisation through digitalisation will be crucial in this new reality; but are still hampered by regulatory barriers. Recent research by smartEN shows that the full activation of flexibility in buildings, electric vehicles, and in industry could generate savings of 37.5 million tonnes (Mt) annually in GHG emissions.
  • For the transport sector, the soon-to-be finalized Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation and subsequent national implementation plans must take the realities of the sector into account and ensure a widespread coverage of megawatt charging stations for heavy-duty road transport across the TEN-T Network so that long-haulage road transport can realistically be electrified in the short term.

Thirdly, on industrial value chains and key technologies, the EU should strengthen both its domestic manufacturing capacity and upstream value chain activities as well as global partnerships with other countries. Achieving the energy transition is crucial for the competitiveness of European industries, but more needs to be done. In this regard, we commend the European Commission for its efforts to create a genuine and circular market for carbon removal technologies and to secure critical raw materials needed for batteries, microchips and photovoltaics. We urge EU and Member States’ policymakers to build on these initiatives to strengthen the European industrial base and to create competitive and resilient European markets for these crucial materials and technologies, not least through the recently announced Net Zero Industry Act and an ambitious EU Industrial Strategy.

The US Inflation Reduction Act will accelerate the needed transformation in the US, but the EU must take action to ensure that investments in Europe will not be adversely affected. In doing so, we strongly recommend to avoid actions that would be considered to go against our US partners. Europe and its likeminded global partners must stand together and provide a level playing field for citizens and companies. Sustainability is key to competitiveness and to Europe’s economic success.

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Fundamentally, the CEO Alliance recommends that the EU and its Member States take bold and concerted actions to accelerate the transformation of our economy in light of the current challenges. The EU should focus on its strength in a common, unified and market based approach, and should continue to build global partnerships and strengthen free trade.

The CEO Alliance is convinced that the mitigation of the climate crisis, and hence decarbonization of all industries, is possible while preserving and strengthening European prosperity and protecting vulnerable communities. That is why we are working towards this transformation through massive investments in electrification and decarbonization of our products and services, in required infrastructure and in industrial value chains – as individual companies and through our joint projects.

We would highly appreciate to continue the dialogue with you in 2023, to support the journey of Europe towards a more prosperous, digitalised, sustainable, decarbonized and resilient future.

On behalf of the CEO Alliance
Christian Levin
Chairman of CEO Alliance
CEO of Traton Group and Scania Group

 

This letter has been sent to the following recipients:

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President, European Green Deal
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President, A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President, An Economy that Works for People
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market
Paolo Gentolini, Commissioner for Economy
Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport
Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament

 

About the CEO Alliance: We are a cross-sector action tank consisting of 13 leading European companies representing key industry sectors, with ~1.6 million employees and ~EUR 560 billion annual revenue. We use our broad platform to make decarbonization of European industry happen. In spite of the challenging times we firmly believe that the only way forward for a competitive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable Europe is an acceleration of the transition to green energy and technology. Further information about our work is available on our website, www.ceo-alliance.eu.

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Industries and EU policy makers: together transforming the energy crisis into an opportunity for Europe.

When the CEO Alliance was founded in 2020, it was all about climate protection. Two years later, it is also about defending the future of “industrial Europe”. And these two goals are closely linked.
When talking of climate targets, the evidence is clear: the time for action is now or never. We’re not on track, we need to be bolder to be able to stay below 1.5C. Decarbonization, electrification and digitalization of the European industrial sector are the only way to achieve this goal.
Read the rest of the CEO Alliance Joint Statement below.

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The CEO Alliance for Europe meets in Rome to foster electrification, decarbonization and digitalization of EU energy, transport and industrial sectors.

Rome, December 12th, 2022 – The CEO Alliance for Europe’s Recovery, Reform and Resilience (“The CEO Alliance for Europe”) held its biannual meeting today at Villa Aurelia, Rome, an event hosted by Enel which brought together leaders from prominent European companies with the aim to promote actions in support of the energy transition among Europe’s business sectors.

The event, moderated by former EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, was attended by the European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni and the Italian Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy Security Vannia Gava, as well as Björn Rosengren (CEO of ABB), Francesco Starace (CEO and General Manager of Enel), Leonhard Birnbaum (CEO of E.ON), Erik Ekudden (Chief Technology Officer of Ericsson), Ignacio Galán (Iberdrola Executive Chairman), Christian Levin (CEO of Scania), Peter Weckesser (Chief Digital Officer of Schneider Electric), Anders Danielsson (CEO of Skanska), Andrea Orcel (CEO of UniCredit), while Oliver Blume (CEO of Volkswagen Group), Thomas Schmall (Volkswagen Group Board Member for Technology and CEO Volkswagen Group Components) and Jean-Pascal Tricoire (CEO of Schneider Electric) joined remotely.

At the event, the CEOs and their external guests jointly tackled important issues such as the current crisis context, marked by the war in Ukraine, the energy transition and security of supply, as well as Europe’s competitiveness and strategic autonomy.

During the meeting, the presidency of the CEO Alliance for Europe was passed on from Volkswagen AG, who led the Alliance during the first years, to Scania, with CEO Christian Levin as new chairman for the coming year.

The Rome meeting was also the occasion for Members of the CEO Alliance to confirm a Sustainable Corporate Building Climate Pledge with the aim to decarbonize their office buildings through action plans that include electrification, energy efficiency and digitalization measures to be implemented by 2030 and calling upon other players to join the effort.

The CEO Alliance launched a new Joint Statement urging industries and EU policy makers to join forces in transforming the energy crisis into an opportunity for Europe, by fostering electrification, decarbonization, digitalization and innovation of the energy, transport and industrial sectors.

The CEO Alliance for Europe is a cross-sector collaborative action tank that unites 13 leading European companies representing the main industry sectors, with over 1.5 million employees and over 500 billion euros in annual revenue. Members work together towards a more prosperous, sustainable, and resilient Europe, with a focus on decarbonization and digitalization, and advocate for a collective effort by all EU member states and collaboration between the public sector and industry.

Battery electric trucks are ready to completely transform Europe’s transport landscape by 2030. But to be able to do this, the charging infrastructure needs to be in place. A massive roll out will be necessary in the coming years and it is up to the decision makers to make it possible. As we approach the 2030 deadline to more than halve EU greenhouse gas emissions, there is a strong sense of urgency to address carbon emissions from heavy duty vehicles. These account for over 25 percent of EU road transport emissions and around 5 percent of total EU CO2 emissions - a greater share than international aviation or shipping. 

The electrification of heavy-duty vehicles will be necessary to reach the EU’s climate target. The good news is heavy duty vehicles is not a hard-to-abate sector anymore. Battery electric trucks provide a solution that is scalable and ready to be deployed and can completely transform Europe’s transport landscape by 2030. 

ABB, Scania, E.ON, Enel, Ericsson, Iberdrola and SAP have worked together to identify key technologies for this transition and to identify priority corridors to allow the fastest-possible decarbonisation of heavy duty vehicles. Since we started this joint project in 2020, battery-electric trucks are reaching ranges that allow them to operate across Europe according to existing rest obligations and charging solutions are already being deployed at scale in depots and will soon (2025) include MegaWatt chargers for ultra-rapid stops along key transport corridors.

At this stage of development, regulation is critical to incentivise and provide a stable framework for green electricity, additional grid capacity,the deployment of charging infrastructure, and the uptake e-trucks in logistics.  Both ambition and speed will be crucial to meet our climate goals, the good news is trucks don’t stand in the way anymore.

Sherpa Workshop

@ AkzoNobel in Amsterdam on 11 October 2022 with an inspiring exchange with Paul Heemskerk, Head of Unit European Industrial Policy and Ko Voskuilen, Policy Officer from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

A Call for a strong Europe of Transformation

Europe must become the benchmark for the green transformation. Reaching climate neutrality while promoting economic growth and social standards might appear as a complex task, but we firmly believe it is a great industrial and economic opportunity for Europe. The EU must become climate neutral by 2050. As companies, we are committed to sustain this objective with investment, innovation, and job creation. Read the rest of the CEO Alliance Position Statement below.

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On June 29, Iberdrola  welcomed at its office in Madrid members of the CEO Alliance to discuss how we can further support climate targets of the European Union to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.