Are Europe’s businesses ready for the EU Green Deal?

Switching gears for Europe's ambitious Green Deal

European Green Deal Survey 2021

European Union’s Green Deal Survey

The European Green Deal is the EU’s ambitious and comprehensive plan to become the first climate neutral continent and fundamentally transform the European Economy. Taxes and incentives are critical to the success of the EU Green Deal.

Between July and October 2021, PwC asked nearly 300 businesses in 13 European countries how they were preparing for the Green Deal. The survey included companies in Norway, Switzerland and the UK, which are not in the EU but which will be affected by the EU’s new climate and environmental norms.

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  • Fewer than half of organisations say they are prepared for the EU Green Deal

  • The largest perceived challenges to companies are a lack of organisational skills and processes to understand all of the implications of the Green Deal, quantify the costs of Green Deal levies, benefit from available incentives, and maximise the opportunities arising from the transition to more sustainable economies.

  • Two-thirds of the companies surveyed have already earmarked capital to invest in becoming more sustainable over the next three to five years.

  • Specific sustainability initiatives currently being undertaken by companies on an ad-hoc basis include consuming more clean energy (78% of companies), reducing energy consumption (60%), reducing waste and plastic use (59%) and cutting carbon emissions (59%).

  • For the companies in our survey, manufacturing (44%), distribution (27%) and procurement (18%) generate the highest emissions and are therefore the focus of the biggest sustainability efforts.

  • Slightly over 50% of respondents stated that they intended to shift key locations in their supply chain - either sourcing, manufacturing, or warehousing - in the near term. 

  • A transition to the circular economy is another priority of the Green Deal, and our research shows that businesses are taking steps to reduce the generation of waste and emissions, as well as promote longer lifecycles and re-use of products.

  • The impact of the Green Deal is not limited to companies engaged in manufacturing. Its scope also covers agriculture, farming, mining, forestry, and other land- and sea-related activities.

EU green deal survey image

PwC is already assisting companies with the transformation that will be necessary to thrive in the Green Deal environment, including the identification of EU and member state funding opportunities.

All this amounts to a blueprint for green transformation. PwC can help with this, including: informing clients of Green Deal levies, the financial modelling of impacts, value-chain transformation, tax transparency, reporting, brand promotion and assisting with scouting for EU and member state funding opportunities, as well as with the necessary applications to access such funds.

Transformation begins by understanding impact

Transformation begins by understanding the impact of various levies on the bottom line. From a baseline of their cost base at present, companies need to assess how their costs will rise as the CBAM, expanded EU ETS, amended Energy Tax Directive and other green levies kick in. Once the increased costs are quantified, companies can decide how to respond.

Companies must incorporate additional cost

Companies bidding on multi-year contracts must take particular care to incorporate these additional costs. If they cannot increase prices, they will need to implement cost reductions elsewhere to maintain profit margins.

Mapping supply chain impact is crucial

Our survey also indicates that companies are only beginning to map their supply chains from the point of view of carbon footprints, resource management and the additional levies on carbon-emitting transport, and that significantly more work is needed in this area.

Companies must explore funding opportunities

Lastly, companies must consider CapEx outlays holistically, to take full advantage of the funding opportunities under EU and member state resources.


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Monica Cohen-Dumani

Monica Cohen-Dumani

Partner, International Tax Services, EMEA ITS Leader, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 97 18

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