The kick-off event for CEOs 4 Climate took place on 15 September. The members of our network see global warming as a solvable problem. More even, they regard the solution as a business opportunity.

Roland Maes (Initiator CEO’s 4 Climate)

“If all companies act as influencers towards their employees then we will have convinced a large group of people of the necessity of solving the climate issue.”

The kick-off event was a talk show, streamed live and aired every day on Kanaal Z in the coming week. Several leading experts and entrepreneurs were present at the event. Seated around the table were Alexander De Croo, Pieter Boussemaere, Hans Maertens and Danny Van Assche. The guests also included several entrepreneurs. Astronaut Frank De Winne followed the launch online from the ESA in Cologne.

Frank De Winne (ESA)

Frank De Winne (ESA) got the ball rolling: “What scientists have been predicting for years in terms of climate is happening right now. It’s not looking good. Not at all. If we love Mother Earth as we know it, if we want to preserve our home, then we must all act NOW. (…) I not only support the CEOs 4 Climate initiative, I genuinely believe in it. Because if astronauts and entrepreneurs have one thing in common, it is their perseverance.”

One clear and shared message emerged from the discussions: the climate issue is extremely urgent, entrepreneurs are ready to meet the challenge and they expect the government to establish a transparent framework for their activities.

Pieter Boussemaere (Vives, historian and climate expert)

“What we’re seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. Temperatures keep rising at an unprecedented rate, ten times faster than ever measured before. It will take much more than the modest measures that are currently in place. Buildings, transport, energy, industry and agriculture, those are the crucial sectors. Initially through electrification and by ending the use of fossil fuels as soon as possible. We need a plan of epic proportions.”

Danny Van Assche (UNIZO)

“Entrepreneurs can’t make the switch from one day to the next but if they have a chance to prepare then they can adapt in the long run. Our members are teaching us that we mustn’t be afraid to strive for ambitious climate objectives. A deadline of 2030 or 2050 is feasible for them. The new federal government and the regional governments must be as ambitious as Europe.”

Hans Maertens (VOKA)

“The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened the sense of urgency among entrepreneurs on the subject of global warming. Our members know what they need to do to become more sustainable. But let’s solve this issue together and that is why I’m reaching out to all of you. Entrepreneurs have kicked into high gear to make their activities more sustainable. We must draw public attention to these fine examples so they can serve as role models. Sustainability can become an export product for Europe.”

Alexander De Croo (Prime Minister of Belgium)

“Investments in the very long term are necessary and there is no shortage of funds. We must also create a conducive environment for SMEs. The free market can solve a big part of the problem but in the long term the government has to get involved. That is really all the government has to do. I’m hoping for a policy that enables us to work together within a hopeful European dynamic created by the Green Deal.”

View the full talk show here

Some atmospheric images