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EGEB: Companies from Danone to Bayer call for French green recovery plan

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Multinationals call for an “ecological transition” in France’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
  • Sweden erects the first wooden wind turbine.
  • Total said it will become net zero by 2050 — but investors want it to be global, not just Europe.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Green economic recovery in France

More than 90 large multinationals in France urged the French government to “channel a large proportion of the financial resources earmarked for economic recovery into the areas already identified as supporting ecological transition” in a letter to newspaper Le Monde, reports Business Green.

Multinationals who signed the letter included Bayer, BNP Paribas, BASF, LVMH, AXA, Suez, Danone, Saint-Gobain, Société Générale, Schneider, Alstom, and EDF, Generali, Siemens, GE, Deloitte, and Arcelor-Mittal.

Air France-KLM also signed the letter. The airline is currently negotiating with the French government over a bailout package that will include environmental conditions.

The letter urged support for sectors that can create jobs, such as green energy, grid projects, and EV infrastructure. It also called for more clean technology research and development.

The letter concluded:

Let us use the present challenge we are facing together as an opportunity for us all to put the environment at the core of a collective rebound.

Wooden wind turbine

Swedish engineering and industrial design company Modvion has erected the first wooden wind turbine outside Gothenburg, Sweden. It was a pilot project for the Swedish Wind Technology Centre and will be used for research purposes.

Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion AB, said:

This is a major breakthrough that paves the way for the next generation of wind turbines. Laminated wood is stronger than steel at the same weight and by building in modules, the wind turbines can be taller. By building in wood, we also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing and instead store carbon dioxide in the design.

Modvion develops modular wind turbine designs in renewable engineered wood. The company claims their technology results in decreased cost, efficient transportation, and streamlined installation of towers that exceed 120 meters.

Total investors demand more

French oil and gas giant Total announced on Tuesday that it plans to reach net zero on its operations and products in Europe by 2050 or sooner.

But its investors don’t feel that’s good enough. According to Reuters:

[A] group of 11 shareholders, led by French fund manager Meeschaert, will present a resolution at Total’s annual general meeting on May 29 to strengthen its commitment to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The investors said they wanted Total to expand its net zero emissions target on its energy products to customers globally, not just for Europe, and called for a detailed plan of action.

The investors said in a statement:

The climate challenge has no borders.

This first step will therefore need to be reinforced by an action plan that meets concrete and exhaustive objectives, including the group’s global greenhouse gas emissions, particularly outside Europe.

Total was one of the 90 businesses that called on the French government to prioritize ecological transition.

Electrek’s Take: Nice to see Total’s shareholders holding it accountable, as while it’s good news that it’s aiming for net zero, to do so only in Europe is fence-sitting. The climate has no borders, indeed.

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.