European Business Leaders: Protecting Environment Top Political Priority

by | Feb 19, 2007

European business leaders think that protecting the environment should be the number one priority for global political leaders, placing this policy area ahead of sustaining economic growth or securing future energy supplies, according to the UPS Europe Business Monitor. When asked which issues should be the highest on global political leaders’ list of priorities, 45 percent of Europe’s top business executives agreed on environmental protection, followed by 40 percent mentioning sustaining economic growth.

Addressing environmental concerns received overwhelming support from managers in France (64 percent), where the issue registered 19 points more than the European average. At the other end of the scale, respondents in the Netherlands (28 percent) are the least likely to prioritise environmental protection. Instead, with 48 percent, business leaders there prioritise sustaining economic growth, also top priority for business leaders in Spain (47 percent).

Managers in Germany were the only ones to rank energy security as the foremost global political issue (43 percent). And, although energy security came third on the list of global priorities for Europe’s business leaders overall (33 percent), it is ranked similarly to reducing world poverty (32 percent), reducing wars and global conflicts, fighting terrorism (both at 31 percent) and promoting education (29 percent).

In line with their concern for protecting the environment, Europe’s business leaders dismiss fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy, with six in ten respondents (59 percent) stating that the continent should stake its future on sources such as wind, hydrogen and solar power. Domestically generated nuclear power is seen as the next best solution, earning the support of a third (32 percent). A mere three percent thought Europe should continue burning domestic fossil fuels. Only four percent and one percent respectively bank on Russian natural gas and Middle Eastern oil to guarantee their future energy supplies.

Business leaders in Spain are the biggest supporters of renewable energy in Europe, with 68 percent there backing the idea. It was also the most popular choice for UK respondents at 47 percent, however this was the lowest figure out of all seven countries surveyed. Senior executives in Belgium are the most likely in Europe (41 percent) to consider domestic nuclear energy the best solution whereas only 22 percent of managers in Germany support this option, the lowest level registered in Europe.

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