Climate Leadership Coalition has today 16.6.2021 published three policy proposals for the EU regarding a holistic strategy for land use and the bioeconomy, development of biomaterials and faster development of carbon footprints for products and materials.

To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, the EU must reduce emissions by about 90% compared with 1990. In this regard, the solar economy, electrification and hydrogen-based solutions, and the circular economy will have key roles in emission reductions.

Land use and the bioeconomy will also have an important role in this transformation, and after 2050 their role will become vital, as the majority of greenhouse gas emissions and sinks are in this sector. According to EU estimates, the main contributors of emissions beyond 2050 will be related to food production and land use, and the main contributor to carbon sequestration will be related to land use. Land use and the bioeconomy are also economically important, employing 17.5 million people, almost 9% of the EU’s total labour force, providing about 5% of the EU’s GDP.

The forest-based bioeconomy can mitigate climate change by increasing carbon stocks in forest land and long-lived wood products as well as using wood as a substitute for other materials or fossil fuels. Bio-based materials are currently under rapid development.

Positive climate impacts in agriculture and food production can be improved by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions – for example by eliminating food waste, changing diets, vertical farming, and enhancing carbon sequestration and carbon farming. In addition, industrial production of food materials is now developing rapidly, and it is predicted that during the coming decades, several new ways to produce food with little or no land use will be introduced.

For the reasons above, CLC proposes a synthesis strategy for the full potential of land use, bioeconomy and biodiversity be done before the climate strategies and policies for beyond 2030 are decided. The strategy proposal is presented here and a related proposal for biomaterials here.

In addition to the bioeconomy, accelerating the transition from energy-intensive basic materials industries – iron and steel, cement, non-metallic minerals, basic chemicals, aluminium, and pulp and paper – to climate neutrality is becoming increasingly urgent. Materials, manufactured products and construction contributed 32% of the EU’s total carbon footprint in 2019, and the sector provided about 2 million jobs. The development and creation of incentives for low-carbon materials requires an understanding of the life cycle impacts on carbon footprints.

Carbon footprint information is important in:

  • public and private procurement, where purchasers could use gradually tightening carbon footprints as an award criterion,
  • informing and incentivising consumers on sustainable choices,
  • possible carbon border adjustment mechanisms, and,
  • as criteria for allocating public R&D support and green financing for the development actions.

Today, there are several actions in the EU in this area, but due to the urgency, CLC has made a proposal to speed up the development.

“CLC and its members are committed to more ambitious climate actions and to speeding up climate-related investments. With the policy briefs published today, we share our views on how to reap full climate benefits from land use and the bioeconomy and how to speed up the development of low-carbon or climate-neutral materials. We hope that the key elements of the proposals will be addressed as part of the EU Green Deal initiative,” says Karl-Henrik Sundström, Chair of the Climate Leadership Coalition board.

Links to CLC Policy Briefs:

Climate Leadership Coalition is the largest climate business network in Europe. CLC is a non-profit association and its 87 organisational members employ 520 000 people globally. CLC’s corporate members represent almost 70% of the market cap of OMX Nasdaq Helsinki. CLC’s members believe that transitioning society towards a sustainable economy and consumption habits is not only possible but also economically viable.

More information: Jouni Keronen, CEO, Climate Leadership Coalition, jouni.keronen@clc.fi, tel. +358 50 4534881, Juha Turkki, Development Director, Climate Leadership Coalition, juha.turkki@clc.fi, tel. +358 45 3461925