This article first appeared on the RE100 website on June 28, 2016, linked here.
The private sector could cut greenhouse gas emissions globally by 3.7 metric tons of CO2 a year by 2030, equivalent to 60% of the total emissions cuts pledged by countries at COP21 in Paris – according to ‘The Business End of Climate Change’, a new We Mean Business report launched today at the Business & Climate Summit in London.
The report presents a ‘Business Determined Contribution’ to climate action – mirroring the National Determined Contributions pledged by countries ahead of international climate talks last December.
It is the first time that a figure has been put on what greenhouse emissions cuts could be achieved by business worldwide.
We Mean Business estimates that the impact could be the equivalent of taking over 1,000 coal-fired power stations permanently out of use. It says that with the right policy support, all businesses could act, and the impact on greenhouse gases could be far greater.
BOLD BUSINESS ACTION
RE100 is one of several business initiatives profiled in the report – alongside The Climate Group’s other major business program EP100, which focuses on improving corporate energy productivity.
The report’s analysis assumes that RE100 will see some 3,000 companies going 100% renewable by 2030 – based on RE100’s best estimates – but also acknowledges that the impact of RE100 could be far greater than this, thanks to a ‘ripple effect’ across supply chains and customer bases of member companies.
Launching the report to business and government leaders and global media at the Business & Climate Summit, Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA Group – a member of RE100 – said:
“Building a better future is our shared responsibility. Companies, investors, individuals, cities and regions all have a role to play. Action on climate change is not only the right thing to do, it brings business benefits. For IKEA Group it’s a driver of innovation, renewal and an opportunity to make our business better.”
Of course, business is not waiting until 2030 to play its part. IKEA Group has committed to going 100% renewable, generating as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes in its buildings by 2020. The company helped to establish the RE100 campaign and has committed to cutting its emissions in line with Science-Based targets. The company has invested €1.5 billion in renewables since 2009 and pledged a further €600 million last year.
NEW COMPANIES JOIN RE100
Today, three new companies, headquartered in three different European countries, are joining RE100 – CaixaBank, the first Spanish company in the campaign, Colruyt Group, the Belgian retail corporation, and SAVE S.p.A Group, an Italy based holding company managing Venice (VCE) and Treviso (TSF) airports. They are each examples of companies that are already ‘doing it’ when it comes to sourcing renewable electricity.
Colruyt Group has met its goal of sourcing 100% renewable electricity in 2010. Now it aims to achieve 100% self-produced renewable electricity by 2020 – and is already 25% of the way there. Recognising the compelling business case for renewables, Stephan Windels, Business Unit Manager Eoly, Colruyt Group Energy, said:
“As Colruyt Group, we have always had the pioneering spirit with regards to sustainable energy: our first investments already date from the early nineties.
“On the one hand, we want to decrease the impact of our own (business) activities: saving energy in everything that we do, remains one of the most important goals.
“On the other hand, we firmly believe that we can save costs – which is an essential part of our way of working. We took the engagement to make our energy as sustainable as possible, and since 2012, we have added the goal to become 100% self-sufficient.
“It also makes us more independent, which puts us in a very interesting competitive position as a retailer.”
SAVE S.p.A Group has also met its 100% renewable electricity target – earlier this year. The company is working to reduce its environmental impact by adopting sustainable technologies and investing in renewable electricity across all its operations.
CaixaBank, Spain’s leading bank by market share, sources around 98% of its electricity from renewable sources, and has a goal of becoming carbon neutral and sourcing 100% renewable electricity by 2018. The bank is among the most sustainable in the world according to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and also received a 100A score in the CDP’s ‘The Climate A List’.
The new joiners follow hot on the heels of AstraZeneca, which joined RE100 earlier this month. The leading pharmaceutical company has an ambitious goal to source 100% renewable electricity by 2025, with an interim target of 100% in Europe and the US by 2020. It has a long way to go – it currently sources around 14% of its electricity from renewables – but says it is committed doing its “fair share” to protect the planet and to keep employees safe and healthy.
ShareAction, a charity which promotes Responsible Investment by institutional investors such as pension funds, also played an important role in engaging AstraZeneca in RE100. The company was already considering a 100% target when ShareAction attended its 2015 AGM, and asked the board to get involved in RE100. The organization helped to galvanise senior level interest in the issue, which supported subsequent meetings between AstraZeneca and RE100, and led to the company ultimately joining the campaign.
THE ‘RIPPLE EFFECT’
Reflecting on the findings of today’s We Mean Business report, Emily Farnworth, RE100 Campaign Director, The Climate Group said:
“The potential for initiatives, like RE100, that encourage and help accelerate the take up of renewable power is exponential. The reach of the current group of companies goes far beyond the walls of their own factories, offices, data-centers and stores and will create a ripple effect through their supply chains, customers and clients.”
She added: “We hope many more businesses will join in the coming years – not just to decarbonize their own power use in the safest way possible, but to inspire others to do the same and to create the market signal that policy makers and investors around the world need to demonstrate renewables are a safe bet.”
There are now 68 companies in RE100, from more than 20 industrial sectors and with operations all over the world, and representing a combined market capitalization of more than $3.6 trillion. On reaching their 100% RE100 goals, these businesses will be creating a total renewable electricity demand of 90TWh – and this number is constantly rising as more and more companies come on board.