Unilever, Nestlé and Ikea are among a raft of firms calling for a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter, the Green Recovery Alliance - a group of business leaders, MEPs and NGOs - called for a new European economy based on green principles to be developed as part of the recovery from the economic and health impact of the Covid-19 breakout.
The alliance said developments in new technologies and the value chain, and progress with carbon neutrality meant it was not a matter of creating a new economy from scratch, as many of the tools to create a greener model already exist.
It said: “The transition to a climate-neutral economy, the protection of biodiversity and the transformation of agri-food systems have the potential to rapidly deliver jobs, growth and improve the way of life of all citizens worldwide, and to contribute to building more resilient societies.”
The letter called for a global alliance of cross-party political decision-makers, business and financial leaders, trade unions, NGOs, think tanks and stakeholders to establish Green Recovery Investment Packages to accelerate the transition towards climate neutrality and healthy ecosystems.
The alliance said projects such as the European Green Deal, and other national zero-carbon development plans had huge potential to contribute to a new prosperity model.
“We therefore consider that we need to prepare Europe for the future, and design recovery plans, both at the local, national and at the EU level, enshrining the fight against climate change as the core of the economic strategy,” the statement said.
The alliance was launched on the initiative of French MEP and chair of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, Pascal Canfin.
Signatories of the letter included dozens of MEPs from different political parties, chief executives of global firms, NGOs, trade unions and think tanks.