The path to net zero: Business Leadership in the CEE region
WWF expects and encourages companies to assess their greenhouse gas emissions, and set credible targets for reducing them aligned with the SBTi.
Hopes are high for countries in CEE to speed up efforts for sector wide decarbonisation
Well known for a comparable more aged, intensive and mostly fossil based economy than other EU counterparts, decarbonisation for CEE countries should follow pathways which enable smart policy making, societal transformation and corporate leadership alike.
Governmental commitment to climate neutrality is essential to allow and mobilise sectoral alignment to reach the net zero goal. Further, an accelerated development of renewable energy is a top priority, replacing coal, gas and biomass-based energy facilities, while investments in storage capacities, demand side response measures and an upgrade of the energy grid are key for the effectiveness of a cleaner, decentralised and competitive energy sector.
Energy efficiency is equally important. The building sector is a top energy consumer in CEE countries, along with the industry, and improvements in the efficiency of space heating, appliances and insulation, for both single family households and multi-family buildings, is a stepping stone for reducing energy demand.
At the same time, protecting the unique natural carbon sinks of the region is essential, including old growth forests, wetlands and natural pasture lands.
Equality is important for the role of business in climate leadership. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) encourages partners in the business sector to take credible action in line with their climate leadership vision that sets out seven actions that are expected from a corporate climate leader. WWF encourages suppliers and peers in our industry to maximise their contribution to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
THE CORPORATE CLIMATE LEADERSHIP MODEL OF VELUX
The VELUX Group represents a model for how businesses can engage and put forward actions following all seven pillars of the business pathway for climate leadership. VELUX is taking responsibility for both past and future carbon emissions. A twenty-year partnership between VELUX and WWF will deliver a portfolio of forest projects in tropical landscapes with high biodiversity value that will create positive change for people, nature and climate.
The forest projects developed and managed by WWF and financed by VELUX, will capture at least 4.5 million tonnes of CO2e, equivalent to the group’s historical CO2 emissions since it was founded in 1941 and until its 100-year anniversary in 2041 (scope 1 and 2). The projects will be designed with a 25% buffer, bringing the total estimated carbon capture to approximately 5.6 million tonnes of CO2. VELUX historical carbon emissions have been verified by an independent Third Party.
In addition to the partnership with WWF, VELUX is committed to reduce its own carbon footprint to zero and to halve its value chain emissions by 2030. As such, VELUX has taken steps to collaborate with key players in the value chain.
One such partnership is with supplier Norsk Hydro to reduce carbon in aluminium. With more than 62% of the VELUX Group’s carbon footprint stemming from materials used in their products, value chain collaboration is key. By using low-carbon material, emissions per kilo of aluminium used in the manufacturing of VELUX roof windows and accessories will be reduced.
WWF expects and encourages companies to assess their greenhouse gas emissions, and set credible targets for reducing them aligned with the SBTi. Such actions have impact beyond the direct operations of business and engage in transformation of the entire supply chain of companies.
Businesses can act as enablers of change or wider transformation of the economy towards net zero, by making changes throughout their supply chain and by engaging with similar businesses.
The CEE region is in need of business that can commit to sole renewable energy purchasing, that demand investment into cleaner technologies along the supply chain, that enable policies of zero deforestation for suppliers. Committing to the sole purchase of renewable energy would encourage the acceleration of the renewable industry in the region, acting as an indirect guarantee for its development.
Finally, the business sector can go beyond and support research and innovation in cleaner technologies, can communicate to similar industries on pathways for climate leadership and can support advocacy efforts for stronger national safeguards for the business sector to reach net zero emissions.