At the end of 2019, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") and seven other French regulators started working together to compare their approaches to climate challenges.
While the COVID-19 outbreak has led to a significant drop in greenhouse gas emission, this work resulted on 5 May 2020 in a joint paper setting out (i) the need to take into account the urgency of climate change in their policies and (ii) their levers for action. The FCA’s implication in said initiative supplements its 2020 roadmap which listed environmental and sustainable development issues as one of its priorities for the present year.
This initiative is in line with the 2019 European Green Deal led by the European Commission to put Europe on the path to carbon neutrality in 2050, as well as the 2015 Paris Agreement which aims at limiting global warming below 2°C.
To achieve these goals, all sectors including regulated ones will need to take action. This explains that French regulators have started to think about their role and the tools they could use in their respective sphere of competence to pave the way to economic operators. The working paper identified four main sectors – energy, transport, finance and digital – as those at the heart of the climate transition.
As part of this paper, the FCA has identified several levers for action:
- providing a competitive framework to encourage behaviours in accordance with climate issues, e.g. by fining companies for anti-competitive conducts that harms the environment or adopting environmental-related opinions;
- better informing the public and fighting greenwashing so that citizens may act as consumers/savers in full knowledge and awareness of environmental issues;
- encouraging innovation and dynamic competition through regulation, which could lead operators to differentiate themselves by turning environmental constraints into competitive advantages;
- carrying out studies to strengthen the FCA's understanding of the impact of regulated activities on climate change.
For more information, the FCA’s press release is available here (in English) and the full paper here (in French).
For more information contact Florence Leroux