European firms pledge green business overhaul

The Green Deal is a key plank in the EU’s aim of helping economic recovery and limiting global warming. (Reuters)
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Updated 17 September 2020

European firms pledge green business overhaul

  • The European Green Deal forms a key plank of von der Leyen’s plan for the EU to both recover from the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic

LONDON: Executives from 30 of Europe’s leading companies backed the EU’s Green Deal on Wednesday and pledged to overhaul their businesses to help the bloc achieve climate-neutrality by 2050.

The commitment, from companies including Deutsche Bank, Axa, Snam and Royal DSM came ahead of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union address in Brussels.

The European Green Deal forms a key plank of von der Leyen’s plan for the EU to both recover from the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global warming.

The company leaders are all part of a CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal, launched last year in cooperation with the World Economic Forum and the Commission with the aim of mobilizing business to contribute to the political effort.

In a statement, the group laid out its initial plan for businesses to help ensure that the COVID-19 recovery plan reset the bloc’s economic growth model with a focus on the circular economy, which embraces recyling and reusing, as well as renewable energy and low-carbon industries.

“We have to take more and faster action with more emphasis on sustainability and circularity. The European Green Deal presents an opportunity to do just this. It requires a strong partnership between business, politics and society,” said the co-chairs of the group, Axa CEO Thomas Buberl and Feike Sybesma, honorary chairman of Royal DSM.

The leaders laid out a number of steps, including “embracing new production and work models” and backed “clear, time-bound and measurable targets” for any companies receiving COVID-19 bailout money.

A key part of that would entail making sure each company’s business model was in line with the plan, providing training and education to help people prosper in the new economy.

The next step for the group, whose members employ about three million people and account for around €850 billion in revenues, will be to agree concrete actions by topic that the companies will commit to and report on.

‘Relief rally’ pushes equity markets higher; bonds flat

Updated 54 min 34 sec ago

‘Relief rally’ pushes equity markets higher; bonds flat

  • Dollar falls from two-month highs; US Treasury yields hover near 0.66 percent

NEW YORK: Global equity markets surged and the dollar fell from two-month highs Monday as investors moved into the shares of beaten-down sectors such as banks and travel stocks on the heels of a sharp stock market sell-off the week before.

Asian shares gained, with Chinese shares boosted by data over the weekend showing China’s industrial firms grew for the fourth consecutive month in August.

“We’re seeing a bit of a relief rally,” said Jonathan Bell, chief investment officer at Stanhope Capital. “Things got oversold perhaps a little bit in the short term.”

“We saw quite a lot of exuberance in July and August, with prices, particularly of tech stocks, rising and that then has come off a little bit recently,” he said.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.79 percent following broad gains in Asia and Europe.

The STOXX 600’s banking stock index was up 4.4 percent, after hitting a fresh all-time low on Friday. In midmorning trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 488.98 points, or 1.8 percent, to 27,662.94; the S&P 500 gained 54.73 points, or 1.66 percent, to 3,353.19; and the Nasdaq Composite added 162.86 points, or 1.49 percent, to 11,076.42.

Hotels, banks, and airline stocks all gained more than the broad market, with shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. up nearly 4 percent and Bank of America Corp. up nearly 2.5 percent.

The dollar index fell, erasing some of last week’s gains, down 0.4 percent on the day at 94.157.

Investors remain broadly cautious in light of rising new COVID-19 infections in Europe, which pose the risk of further restrictions on activity.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 1/32 in price to yield 0.661 percent, from 0.659 percent late on Friday.

“You’re seeing a nice bounce for stocks, but it’s more of an oversold bounce, and the bond market is still apprehensive about totally buying in on this equity move,” given the uncertainty over additional fiscal stimulus in the United States and the Nov. 3 presidential election, said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.

US crude recently rose 0.62 percent to $40.50 per barrel and Brent was at $42.14, up 0.52 percent on the day.