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  • Writer's pictureESAE

“Fit for 55” generational impact on Association executives

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

On 14 July 2021, the European Commission proposed a package of energy and climate laws known as “Fit for 55”. Although the package has been launched during the summer and a reduction in car emissions grab the headlines, our partners at Kellen urge Association executives to pay utmost attention to it. While the package is essential for energy-related sector Associations, its impact can also be high for many Associations outside that sector. Why is that?

The package is an important milestone on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050, and is aimed at reaching the EU’s emissions reduction target of 55% by 2030. Once the individual measures and legislation are adopted, its impact will be felt across “generations of Association executives”.

Here are a few tips by ESAE partner, Kellen.

What to watch for? We pick a top three:

Emissions trading scheme (ETS): The ETS, which will be adapted as part of the package, puts a price on carbon emitted by installations in the energy sector as well as the manufacturing industry. Its impact is felt globally, as it is both trend-setting and trend-following at the same time. Transportation, especially aviation is now included.

Renewable Energy Directive (RED): The ambition of the revised Directive is to increase the use of renewables in the energy system. Dozens of sectors have already engaged with policy-makers on the current RED‎, and we anticipate many more Associations will join the discussions about this revision.

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM): This new initiative has been waiting in the wings for over a year. While it risks international tensions with trading partners, the reduction in the carbon footprint of products is a fundamental objective of the Green Deal. CBAM might also be the blueprint for provisions to be included in the Sustainable Products Initiative. It can be instrumental in ensuring a level playing field internationally, as well as “supporting” measures and regulations.


Revisions: Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF); Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR); Energy Efficiency Directive (EED); Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID); CO2 ‎Emissions Performance Standards for Cars and Vans Regulation‎; and, Energy Taxation Directive.

New initiatives: Forest Strategy; Climate Action Social Facility, ReFuelEU Aviation on sustainable aviation fuels; FuelEU Maritime on greening Europe’s maritime space.

Tips for Association executives

  1. Strategising: The package consists of 13 legislative proposals, updating existing laws and introducing new ones. The volume of work is huge and comes on top of (though partially overlapping with) the Green Deal. If you already decided to engage on the Green Deal, what will you propose to your Board now?

  2. Communicating: Many Associations have called on the EU to work together with industry in order to develop a favourable environment for the EU to deliver jobs, growth and ‎innovation in a decarbonised economy‎. Will your voice be heard, will your members and stakeholders listen, and will legislators understand your issues?

  3. Managing: What battles do you pick and which priorities do you set, and when will you engage during the remaining 2½ years of the current EU Commission and Parliament? Some parts of the package might be core to your mission, others not. Make that decision early, though keeping some flexibility to adjust if necessary.

  4. Building: What memberships should you invest in and which alliances should you join? In past years, alliances have started up, besides the usual umbrellas for industry: there are many opening up to environmental groups and professional societies for the very good reason that solutions require holistic frameworks, strong collaboration and a common purpose in which your Association can contribute to a sustainable planet.

  5. Budgeting: Taken all together, the pressure on Association staff will again increase. You should call for a 2-3 year review, while keeping budgetary limits and time constraints of membership in mind.

In conclusion

Devising a good strategy and operational measures, collaborating with others and focusing on the core mission of your Association will help you prepare for another large EU package of draft updates of legislation and new initiatives.


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