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4th October 2018

More Than 20 Global Business and Civil Society Leaders Urge European Union to Step Up Its Ambition on Climate

Today, more than 20 business and civil society leaders along with former heads of state and government officials, have sent a strong message to the European Union: it’s time to step up ambition on climate. These Leaders, including Paul Polman, Sir Richard Branson, Oliver Bäte, Emmanuel Faber, Isabelle Kocher, and Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, have sent a letter to the EU’s Environment Ministers stressing the imperative of increasing ambition on climate action, and asking them to revise their 2030 and 2050 targets in line with net-zero by 2050 at the latest. They join other private sector leaders in recognizing the critical point the world is facing in reaching this goal.

If global emissions do not peak by 2020, the promise of the Paris Agreement will not be kept.

Their call comes ahead of the EU Environmental Council Meeting on October 9 and of the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on 1.5°C on October 8. This report is expected to emphasize the urgency of stepping up global ambition and increasing current Paris commitments.It also comes on the heels of a number of critical global moments on climate and growing momentum from business, investors, consumers, activists and communities.

From setting net-zero by 2050 targets to committing to ensure a just transition, business is taking action. But to encourage continued innovation and courageous leadership to stay under 1.5°C, the private sector needs strong enabling policies. Business leaders are invited to join The B Team Leader and partner signatories in expressing support for raising the EU’s ambition on climate.

Please contact Leah Seligmann, Director, Net-Zero by 2050, at to learn more.

Read the full letter below.

4 October 2018

Dear Minister,

RE: Step up ambition in EU 2030 and 2050 targets

We, the undersigned, a collective of business and civil society leaders working to make a just transition to Net-Zero by 2050, urge you to ensure the EU’s climate ambitions will deliver the promise of the Paris Agreement.

From recent international summits to protests to breaking news, the message is loud and clear: the time to act on climate is now. Businesses, communities and an increasing number of governments are ready to step up, and they need you to join them. 492 global businesses have committed to Science Based Targets, and B Team companies have gone even further by committing to Net-Zero by 2050 goals.

Still, we anticipate the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on 1.5 degrees will reveal the significant gap between our current action and action required. Current projections chart a 3°C rise above pre-industrial temperatures, where we would see a significant drop in food production, an increase in urban heat waves, longer droughts, fiercer hurricanes, more devastating wildfires and communities inundated by rising sea-waters.

We cannot do business under these conditions. It is clear the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action. To stay within 1.5 degrees, developed economies like the EU, whose leadership is essential, must achieve a just transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

By setting this long-term target, the EU will set the direction of travel for all European businesses, giving clarity to business planning, helping drive innovation and decrease exposure to climate risks, whilst allowing us to grasp the tremendous economic opportunities that this transition presents.

We don’t have much time—2020 is the critical point for curbing carbon emissions if we are to achieve this goal.

We call on you to ensure the EU steps up its ambition and continues its role as a global climate leader:

1. Increase ambition in medium (2030) and long-term (2050) targets

- Include a net-zero by 2050 target in the EU’s long-term strategy.
- In line with this net-zero goal and current progress, increase ambition in the EU’s 2030 target.

2. Ensure these targets are aligned with a just transition to net-zero by 2050 emissions. This long-term vision must involve all stakeholders—from business, to workers and unions. Without this inclusive dialogue and planning, we will heighten inequality and instability.

We must keep the promise of Paris. We must deliver a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy by 2050.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Polman
Chair, The B Team
CEO, Unilever

Sharan Burrow
Vice-Chair, The B Team
General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

Sir Richard Branson
Co-Founder, The B Team
Founder, Virgin Group

Oliver Bäte
CEO, Allianz

Marc Benioff
Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO, Salesforce

Kathy Calvin
President and CEO, UN Foundation

Bob Collymore
CEO, Safaricom, PLC

David Crane
Former CEO, NRG Energy
Strategic Advisor, Pegasus Capital Advisors

Emmanuel Faber
Chairman and CEO, Danone

Christiana Figueres
Convener, Mission 2020
Former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Jay Gould
CEO, Interface

Arianna Huffington
Founder and CEO, Thrive Global

Yolanda Kakabadse
Former Minister of Environment, Ecuador
Former President, WWF International

Isabelle Kocher
CEO, Engie

Guilherme Leal
Co-Founder, Natura

Jean-Bernard Levy
Chairman and CEO, EDF Group

Andrew Liveris
Former Chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Group

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Chair of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance
Former Minister of Finance, Nigeria
Former Managing Director, World Bank

François-Henri Pinault
Chairman and CEO, Kering

Mary Robinson
President, Mary Robinson Foundation Climate Justice
Former President, Ireland

Jochen Zeitz
Co-Founder, The B Team
Founder, Zeitz Foundation

For Press

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Tyler Zang at