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What to expect from the von der Leyen Commission?

Monday, September 2, 2019

On July 16, President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented to the European Parliament her agenda “A Union that strives for more”, which place sustainability at the cornerstone of her political vision.

 

Developed in consultation with the newly elected leaders of the European Parliament, and inspired by the European Council’s Strategic Agenda 2019-2024, Ursula von der Leyen’s Agenda draws the political guidelines for the next European Commission. This Agenda constitutes more than a simple declaration of intent, even if knowing how these guidelines will translate into policy will require waiting some months after the new College of Commissioners reunited. In this view, CSR Europe, as part of its offer for its members, will host a webinar about the new College of Commissioners, which will take place on October 15, 2019. Von der Leyen’s Guidelines are fully aligned with the objectives of the CEOs Call to Action, which aims to promote a Europe where economic and social value are strictly interconnected, and SDGs are a compass to measure the success of this transformation. In fact, von der Leyen promised to “refocus the European Semester into an instrument that integrates the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”, a proposal already put forward last year by the Multi-Stakeholders Platform on SDGs, of whom CSR Europe is a member. For that, the pivotal role of the Agenda is played by sustainability, which is the first of a set of six policy priorities, the other pillars points addressing the creation of an economy that works fort people; fitting Europe for the digital age; protecting the European way of life; strengthening the Union’s role in the global arena; and addressing the democratic deficit of the European Institutions.

The main proposal within the sustainability domain is the promotion of a “European Green Deal”, making Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent, turning into law the commitment for 2050. This will require to increase the ambitions for 2030, bringing the renewable energy target at 55%; extending the EU ETS, targeting maritime transport and aviation; mobilising private and public capitals through Climate Finance and the European Investment Bank (EIB). CSR Europe is collaborating with the EIB to promote a dialogue among companies, investors and civil society on climate disclosure, and, as part of the Climate Related Reporting Task Force of the European Reporting Lab, is reviewing a hundred corporate reports to foster the identification of best practices. Another crucial aspect of von der Leyen’s Sustainability Agenda is the call to step up action to promote forests and biodiversity, by creating a new Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. In support of such aim, CSR Europe is developing a Biodiversity and Industry Platform, to explore how companies can collectively enhance the net positive biodiversity impacts of their industrial sites and across their value chains.  Last of all, such a level of ambition requires companies to become leaders in clean technologies and the circular economy. CSR Europe’s Business Transformation Team is dedicated to supporting the achievement of such a goal by fostering practical change within businesses. A standout example of such approach is the “R2π – tRansition from linear 2 circular” project, which examined the role of innovative business tools and policy packages on the diffusion of Circular Economy Business Models, applying quantitative analysis to a substantial amount of case studies. With the conclusion of the project imminent, CSR Europe will organise 3 webinars to show to business representatives how to transition, from current linear practices and integrate circular economy thinking into corporate and commercial activity.