October 24, 2014 / 7:41 AM / 5 years ago

EU climate deal a win for efficient companies: Austria

VIENNA (Reuters) - The European Union’s new deal on carbon emissions marks a victory for companies such as steel group Voestalpine which have already embraced environmentally sensitive practices, Austria’s economy minister said.

European Union leaders struck a deal on a new target to cut carbon emissions in the years through 2030, calling it a new global standard but leaving some critics warning that compromises had undermined the fight against climate change.

The accord envisions cutting carbon emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, increasing renewable energy use and improving energy efficiency.

“All three goals are ambitious and will place demands on us and you see from the criticism of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that a more or less balanced compromise has been found here, in my view,” Reinhold Mitterlehner told ORF radio from China, where he is leading a trade delegation.

The deal will be demanding for business, he said, but added: “On the other hand we have for the first time made the link with especially efficient companies. That means that from 2020 companies that act especially pro-environment will get positive consideration.

“Thus Voest and other large operations have had a success in the way this proceeds.”

Voestalpine, whose Chief Executive Wolfgang Eder is also head of the world steelmakers association, had no immediate comment. The company has said in the past jobs are at stake should the EU take too aggressive an approach to meeting environmental targets.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by David Holmes

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