300 Belgian top managers back up climate coalition petition
On Tuesday the action ‘Sign For My Future’ was kicked off in Brussels to prove to the Belgian government a large public support for more ambitious climate goals. The movement is backed up by more than 300 top managers of industry, civil society, the media and academic circles.
The call for everyone to join the online petition ‘Sign For My Future‘ comes after a number of remarkable climate marches with more than 70.000 people last weeks and the Thursday ‘skip school for climate’ actions of young Belgian students.
The broad coalition of climate organizations and the ‘captains of society’ urges Belgian politicians to go for an ambitious climate plan, embedded in a regulation in law to make Belgium carbon-neutral before 2050, as stipulated in the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.
That regulation should be implemented before the end of 2020 and “help and stimulate all citizens and companies in the transition to a carbon-neutral society. It should be powerful and socially fair”. In this law clear goals and milestones should be set. A neutral climate advisory board from climate experts should follow up progress and give the government advise.
Afraid of elections
The idea for this climate petition sparked two years ago with Koen Verwee, former CEO of Belgium’s larges media concern De Persgroep, and Guy Weyns, director at Flemish public bus and tram company De Lijn.
“At that time we concluded we needed a long-term policy to tackle this incredible challenge”, Verwee says. “Problem is that politicians are afraid to do that fearing they will be punished for that at election day. That’s why we want to show them that there is indeed a broad public support for ambitious climate actions.”
Pressure on all political parties
For Koen Verwee the ultimate goal of the ‘Sign For My Future’ petition is to put pressure on all political parties when it comes to negotiate new coalition agreements after parliamentary, regional and European elections on May 26th.
Verwee and Weyns are joined openly by a number of known Belgian captains of industry, like Thomas Leysen (KBC, Umicore), John Porter (Telenet), Dominique Leroy (Proximus), Paul Lembrechts (VRT), Jef Colruyt (Colruyt), Jacques Vandermeiren (Antwerp Port, Jan De Witte (Barco), Maxime Jadot (BNP Paribas), Koen Van Gerven (Bpost), Erik Van Den Eynde (ING Belgium), Eric Domb (Pairi Daiza) or Eddy Duquenne (Kinepolis), among many others.
Without any political colour
They all emphasize the movement is a private initiative without any political colour or commercial goal. “To achieve a fundamental change international cooperation will be the keyword”, Proximus top woman, Dominique Leroy, said.
“But in our own country every citizen and every company can work to a common goal. The broad public support that became visible the lasts months, especially with young people, proves to me that we have to catch this momentum. And innovation will definitively help us with that.”