As the year draws to a close, the European Climate Pact is gathering pace and inspiring more and more people and organisations to make a pledge for the planet. In the last weeks of 2021, the Belgian region of Flanders signed up to the Pact – adding to more than 1,600 pledges already made by organisations and communities across Europe.
Belgian region commits to new climate action
Back in June, mayors from 293 local authorities in Flanders signed the ‘Flemish Local Energy and Climate Pact,’ which promises to put a host of concrete measures in place to both tackle and adapt to climate change over the next 8 years.
These include planting one tree per citizen, installing one electric charging point per 100 inhabitants and collecting 1m3 of rainwater per person in the region – all by 2030. With such tangible targets, the pact will help local authorities bring together citizens, stakeholders and companies to work towards reaching their goals. The Flemish government and 64 organisations will also support local climate action with additional funding.
Taking it to the next level
Given this wide participation and a high potential for citizen engagement, the Flemish pact is an example well worth sharing and replicating. This is why European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans invited Bart Somers, Minister of Internal Affairs, Integration and Living together in Diversity and Vice minister-president of the Flemish Government, to join the European Climate Pact. The Flemish commitment has become a pledge at European level – and a model for other regions or organisations across Europe to use as inspiration.
“Reducing our emissions by 55% by 2030 is a first step to making Europe climate neutral by 2050. Now we must translate this ambition into concrete measures, so that citizens get the sense: ‘I can do this, I can contribute’. Collecting water, energy efficient housing, electric mobility, better public transport or bike paths: each of these measures helps tackle the climate challenge and bring it closer to people’s day-to-day experience. So we really need the local government to get this going and in that sense, the Flemish Pact has a fantastic approach,” said Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans.
“By linking the European climate goals with our local Energy and Climate Pact we are building a very strong coalition. To reach our climate ambitions, we have to work together – at local level, regional level, national level and European level. We can learn from each other,” said Vice minister-president Bart Somers, who also committed to becoming a European Climate Pact Ambassador. Mr Somers will extend the invitation to become ambassadors to all 293 representatives of the local authorities that signed the Flemish Pact.
Organisations leading the charge for the planet
Flanders isn’t alone in committing to transformative change to build a greener Europe. Throughout 2021, more than 24,000 people made pledges to reduce their impact on the planet. Beyond these individual commitments, some 148 companies, 28 cities and two regions in Europe have joined the European Climate Pact, totalling more than 1,600 organisational pledges.
These include digital consulting and software development firm Sopra Steria, which is headquartered in France but works in nearly 30 countries globally. It has joined the Pact with a pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2028. Another pledger, TK Elevator, one of the world’s leading lift companies based in Germany, has committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity across its global operations by 2030.
So, if you represent a business, association, city, region, school or university – or a group of like-minded colleagues, neighbours or friends – why not kick off 2022 by joining the Pact and pledging to make a difference to the planet? And if you have specific questions or need advice on how to make your pledge a reality, you can always contact us at the European Climate Pact.
- 20 December 2021