Fashion giant H&M is one of a number of businesses teaming up with EU ministers and NGOs to back a new informal alliance launched in the European Parliament this week calling for a “green recovery” from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ‘Green Recovery Alliance’ is an initiative of French MP Pascal Canfin, who chairs the European Parliament’s committee on environment and public health, with the backing of 12 EU environment ministers.

It calls for a “new model of prosperity” based on sustainability and the protection of biodiversity, that will “answer to our needs and priorities” after the crisis.

The alliance brings together 79 MEPs, 28 business associations, seven NGOs, six think tanks, and civil society groups, including 37 CEOs from the likes of Ikea, H&M and Unilever.

“This is not a matter of creating a new economy from scratch. We already have all the tools and many new technologies. Over the last ten years, tremendous progress has been made in most transition sectors, developing new technologies and value chain, and dramatically reducing the cost of the transition,” the alliance says.

“Political will is here. We already have the plans and strategy. Projects such as the European Green Deal, and other national zero carbon development plans have a huge potential to build back our economy and contribute to creating a new prosperity model.

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“We therefore consider that we need to prepare Europe for the future, and design recovery plans, both at the local, national and at the EU level, enshrining the fight against climate change as the core of the economic strategy. The time has come to turn these plans into actions and investments that will change the life of citizens and contribute to the quick recovery of our economies and our societies.”

The launch of the alliance follows an appeal by EU environment ministers for the European Green Deal to be placed at the heart of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan.

The ‘Green Deal’ outlined in February sets a roadmap for a climate-neutral continent by 2050. It encompasses a range of actions supporting circularity and sustainability, which will lead to new proposals for resource-intensive sectors such as construction, textiles, electronics and plastics.