Large Czech companies plan to support the government in its efforts to sell the EU’s Green Deal plan and the transition to a non-fossil economy to the divided Czech public. He sees in it a hundred billion costs, but at the same time the only way to keep the Czech Republic’s place in the changing world.
Because of this, ČEZ, Škoda Auto, Komerční banka and 11 other companies founded a new association called the Alliance for an Emission-Free Future. They themselves promise to lead by example and work on reducing their own production of greenhouse gases over the next decade. He sees the meaning of the alliance in the sharing of experience and education across the economy.
“Our goal is to put the debate on a factual level. To talk objectively about what we can see behind decarbonization and why the Green Deal is the right goal,” said CEZ CEO Daniel Beneš. In a similar way, the director of Komerční banka and the head of the alliance, Jan Juchelka, summarized the plans. According to him, the main task will be to “remove ideology from the Green Deal”.
The Green Deal is used as a label for the three-year-old agreement of EU countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. The year 1990 is taken as the basis of comparison, and so far the goal has been achieved by roughly half. By 2050, complete decarbonisation is expected, i.e. a drop in emissions to zero.
Compared to 1990, the Czech Republic has already reduced its exhalations by 36 percent, according to the EU database EDGAR. This is mainly due to the fall of the heavy-duty communist economy and its rebirth in the 1990s. However, the decline has almost stopped in the last decade. In the coming years, it is to be radically accelerated as part of the Green Deal.
Long-term rejection of the Green Deal by Czech companies often has negative consequences. In some sectors, the train is running out. Or he’s already gone and we don’t even know he’s gone, which is the worst option.
Fial’s government sent its climate plan to Brussels last month, and by 2030 it expects emissions to drop by 63 percent compared to 1990. According to the document, such a development in the Czech Republic is to a large extent predetermined by the measures that will begin to apply throughout the EU as part of agreements concluded in the last three years.
This includes, for example, the increase in the price of emission allowances, the associated reduction of coal-fired power plants and the use of allowance revenues for the development of wind and solar resources.
The package of green regulations will also affect industry, construction or the financial sector. However, companies operating on the global market are trying to reduce their carbon footprint on their own, without regulation, so as not to lose the sympathy of customers in richer countries. There, climate protection usually has a high priority in the ranking of values – despite the increased costs.
The newly formed alliance of Czech companies is working with the estimates of the consulting company McKinsey, according to which the green transformation of the Czech Republic by 2030 will cost 500 billion to one trillion crowns. However, according to Viktor Hanzlík from McKinsey, these investments do not necessarily mean an economic burden, they can also lead to energy savings or lower operating costs in the future.
Industrialized countries like the Czech Republic do not have to be victims of decarbonization also because they have experience with production and can participate in the development of everything new that will be needed for green energy.
“Long-term rejection of the Green Deal by Czech companies often has negative consequences. In some sectors, the train is running out. Or he has already driven away and we don’t even know that he has driven, which is the worst option,” says another partner analyst, Jan Brázda from PWC. As an example, he cites foreign investors who have avoided the Czech Republic in recent years due to the lack of renewable electricity.
According to a year-old survey by the STEM agency, Czech society is rather critical of the planned transformation of the economy. According to the survey, a third of the public approves of the Green Deal, a third opposes it and a third don’t know. There is clear support for more careful behavior towards nature, but respondents complain about a lack of information, another source of rising living costs and restrictions on freedoms. The parliamentary opposition also speaks critically about the Green Deal.
Companies’ obligations to reduce their own carbon footprint
- by 2030 to power all production operations from emission-free sources, including foreign factories, e.g. in India
- between the years 2020 and 2030, reduce the emissions of cars sold by half
- to be carbon neutral by 2040, i.e. to close (or sell) coal or gas-fired power plants
- to put into operation new emission-free sources with a capacity of 6000 MW by 2030
- deepen the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the current 17 percent (between 2020 and 2023) to 25 percent by 2026 and 40 percent by 2030
In addition to ČEZ, Škoda and Komerční banka, Unipetrol, Wienerberger, Vodafone, Zásilkovna, Spolchemie, Metalimex, České radiokomunikace, chip manufacturer Onsemi, Liberty smelter, Sudop design office and Moneta bank joined the alliance.
“Many hundreds of billions of crowns will come to the Czech Republic to make this transformation possible. In this, we want to play a role that corresponds to the size of the bank,” stated the head of Moneta, Tomáš Spurný, regarding the reasons for the entry.
Member firms generally have their own decarbonisation plans, driven by regulation, fear of loss of reputation with customers, the threat of exclusion from global supply chains, financing difficulties or simply good intentions.
According to the head of ČEZ Beneš, decarbonisation is “right for the planet and for us”, but he also sees the purpose of the alliance in streamlining the process so that it is not unnecessarily painful. “Our goal is to achieve the goal and at the same time not die along the way,” said Beneš.