News & Events

Wednesday 16 December, 2015

Leading the low-carbon growth

On 8th December, we hosted the third roundtable in our ‘Rethinking Business’ event series, in partnership with the Financial Times. Held in Paris during the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21), the event brought together business leaders, NGOs and think tanks to discuss the issue of climate change. Here, Eric Maucort, Deputy Vice President of Sustainable Development at EDF, explains what leading the low-carbon growth means for EDF.

Paris is already a historical moment, with 150 heads of state attending the opening ceremony of COP21. But we as business representatives expect more: we are here to support governments and negotiators to deliver a breakthrough – a new starting point leading the way for a low-carbon economy. 

This is one of the turning points of the Paris conference: business has been invited to be part of the solution. The Paris Alliance will put together the agreement that our governments have been negotiating as well as commitments from business and cities. 

We know that the Paris agreement will likely not be enough to maintain a safe trajectory for our climate. But let’s take the example of carbon pricing. A large part of business actors have been advocating for a price to be put on carbon, to channel our operations, our investment and our Research & Development activities. We understand that it cannot be part of the agreement, as it isn’t in the UN mandate. But what we, business, are asking is for our governments to give us a signal on carbon pricing, and therefore enable an international dialogue about it. And we feel this is moving forward, with increasing awareness from politicians that this can be an efficient tool. 

Access to energy is required for growth and development. These needs are legitimate but are also constrained by the limits of a finite world. Addressing this issue is one of the biggest challenges facing COP21 and, as often during COP negotiations, we have seen tensions between developed and developing countries on this point.  

25% of the world’s greenhouse gases come from the electricity sector. That means we are part of the problem, and we all know that the thirst for energy from the developing world is to put more fossil-fuel fired generations on the grid. But low-carbon technologies do exist and decarbonizing electricity is one of the best ways to decarbonize our economies. 

At EDF, we demonstrate every day that we can produce very low-carbon electricity using the flexibility of our nuclear fleet to develop more intermittent renewable sources. 

We have based our strategic approach on three pillars, which are step-changing our business model: 

- Empowering our customers to be part of their energy future through the digital revolution, and decreasing costs of renewable and local energy. We'll do that by partnering with them; individual, local authorities, businesses. We want them to better consume their energy.

- Developing renewable energy in our portfolio using our strong base in low-carbon nuclear, which make us the leader of low-carbon electricity. We want to double our installed capacity in renewable energy. We are already the first producer of renewable energy in Europe and we want to remain first!

- Scaling this activity internationally, as the largest part of growth won’t be in Europe.

Our sector is facing a number of revolutions: the renewable revolution, the digital revolution and the low carbon revolution. Some call it the energy transition! By responding to these challenges, we will enable the low-carbon future we need to reduce climate change and keep the increase in temperatures of our planet below 2°C. This is a very exciting perspective.

Eric Maucort

Deputy Vice President, Sustainable Development, EDF

Eric joined EDF in 1982.

After several positions in operational on site activities and corporate responsibilities in nuclear generation he became in 2003 site vice president and plant manager of Chinon Nuclear Power plant (four 900 MW pressurized water reactors together with three reactors in the process of decommissioning and a metallurgical research laboratory). 

In 2008, Eric was appointed Advisor for Generation and Sustainable Development and Deputy Head of the Chairman and CEO’s office. 

From 2010 to 2014, Eric has been responsible for the steering and coordination of all EDF’s nuclear sites as well as the preparation for the managerial plan of EDF S.A's Nuclear Generation Division for future years.

Since June 2014, he is Deputy Vice President for Sustainable Development for EDF Group particularly in charge of environmental issues.

He is chairman of the executive committee of an EDF subsidiary company dedicated to fire prevention and fire fighting training.

He is member of the board of Entreprise pour l’Environnement (a french business association) and of the directing committee of Global Compact France.

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