Flooding in Europe, Africa and China. Wildfires in Siberia, the Mediterranean, the US and Canada. Storms and hurricanes in the Caribbean nations of Barbados and Haiti. The scenes from across the world this summer have underscored the conclusion in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – that global warming is the cause for increases in the frequency of extreme weather events.
The summer has also re-emphasised the importance of the European Union’s Green Deal policy roadmap. The ambitious agenda seeks to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by mid-century. However, while governments can set targets, it is up to business and society to implement them.
American companies at the forefront of Europe’s climate charge
American companies are major contributors to European efforts on this front. For example, they account for four of the top five purchasers of solar and wind capacity in Europe. In fact, US companies in Europe have long been a driving force for Europe’s green (r)evolution. Since 2007, American companies have been responsible for more than half of the long-term renewable energy agreements in Europe. As a representative of the American business community who are invested in and committed to Europe, the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmCham EU) is supportive of the EU’s climate ambitions.
That is why, at the turn of the year, we set out to develop an inventory of company examples from our members to highlight how they are actively contributing to make the EU a greener, more sustainable continent. After circulating a call for expression of interest to our membership, we were bowled away to receive responses from more than a fifth of our members from a broad cross-section of economic interests, including from the energy, transport, agriculture and circular economy sectors. This call for company stories has now grown into our #EUGreenWay campaign.
Telling the story of our companies’ investments
Whether engaging in corporate renewable power purchase agreements or contributing directly to making renewable energy with world-leading technologies, our member companies have brought new sources of renewable energy to the European energy grid. Then, there are the firms who are driving the hydrogen revolution, with their electrochemical technologies that turn water into hydrogen molecules to power transport, industrial processes, power and heating.
For the industrial firms in our member base, huge strides are being taken to decarbonise facilities, with carbon neutral plants coming online in various Member States, as well as innovative on-site installations to reduce dependency on fossil-fuel energy from the grid.
There are the tech companies who are using the powers of 5G and blockchain technologies to better integrate renewable energy into the grid; or artificial intelligence in smart sensors to detect leaks of harmful gases in early-warning systems.
That is to name but a few: other examples extend to the transport sector, where our members in vehicle manufacturing and logistics are heavily invested in electrification of vehicle fleets, while others are active in the ‘smart charging’ revolution; or the agriculture sector, where examples span from organic pesticides to carbon-free farming; and the circular economy, where our members are actively eliminating single-use plastics and reducing their waste footprint.
Advocating by example
But gathering these examples was just the tip of the iceberg. For the case studies that we have gathered serve to prove a point: American companies are already committed to a sustainable future for Europe and are investing in getting there. They demonstrate the expertise and thought leadership of our companies in implementing the EU’s ambitious agenda. What we seek now is an innovation-friendly, enabling and predictable regulatory environment that encourages and even contributes further investment in the technologies, hardware and knowledge that will propel us towards a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050. In gathering this vast collection of positive stories, we hope now that we can advocate by example.
By Susan Danger, CEO, American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU)
- Check out all our stories at investedineurope.eu
- Visit our YouTube channel to watch the first #EUGreenWay webinar on decarbonising energy
- For more information on AmCham EU’s advocacy work on the European Green Deal, navigate to our website
About the author
Susan Danger is CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmCham EU), which speaks for American companies committed to Europe on trade, investment and competitiveness issues. AmCham EU is a membership organisation supporting over 150 US corporate companies, international business, and law and consultancy firms in the area of public affairs. In 2021, AmCham EU was voted ‘Best EU Trade Association’ by BestinBrussels.
Susan has dedicated her entire career to advancing transatlantic cooperation. She was named by POLITICO as one of the top 20 women influencers in Brussels in 2016 and 2020.
Susan was elected as Chair of AmChams in Europe (ACE) for the period 2020-2022. AmChams in Europe (ACE) serves as the umbrella organisation for 45 American Chambers of Commerce (AmChams) in 43 countries throughout Europe and Eurasia. She has also served as Vice-Chair (2009 -2014) and was a Member of its Executive Committee (2005-2008).
Susan was appointed member of the Governing Board of the European Policy Center in March 2021.
Susan is a dual UK and Belgian citizen and has worked in the UK, Germany, Austria, Spain and Australia.
About AmCham EU
AmCham EU speaks for American companies committed to Europe on trade, investment and competitiveness issues. It aims to ensure a growth-orientated business and investment climate in Europe. AmCham EU facilitates the resolution of transatlantic issues that impact business and plays a role in creating better understanding of EU and US positions on business matters. Aggregate US investment in Europe totalled more than €3 trillion in 2020, directly supports more than 4.8 million jobs in Europe, and generates billions of euros annually in income, trade and research and development.