The RE100 initiative has confirmed that over 100 multinationals have now committed to sourcing 100 per cent renewable power, after AkzoNobel, AXA, Burberry, and Carlsberg today became the latest high profile brands to join the group.
Launched in 2014 by The Climate Group and CDP, RE100 has seen a host of leading Blue Chip firms commit to sourcing 100 per cent renewable power across their operations, typically backed by a firm target date for phasing out the use of fossil fuel power.
RE100 members now include 30 Global Fortune 500 companies and boast total annual revenues of $2.5tr.
The group said that combined its members are committed to creating around 146 terawatt-hours (TWh) of demand for renewable electricity annually – equivalent to the annual power demand of Poland.
AkzoNobel today becomes the second biggest electricity user to join the group after Walmart, with total power demand reaching around 16 TWh annually. The Dutch paints and coatings giant said it aims to come ‘carbon neutral’ and use 100 per cent renewable energy – covering heat as well as electricity – by 2050.
Meanwhile, French financial giant AXA has said it will source 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025, fashion brand Burberry has set a target date of 2022 to procure 100 per cent renewable power for its whole business, and Carlsberg Group said it will source 100 per cent renewable power for its breweries by 2022.
Helen Clarkson, chief executive at The Climate Group, said the campaign had surpassed expectations as more and more multinationals recognised the business case for switching to 100 per cent renewables. “We are really pleased at the success of our campaign; by championing the compelling case for business action, we have reached 100 members three years earlier than expected,” she said. “Changes in the market such as the falling cost of renewables have also worked in our favour. We are increasingly seeing large multinationals such as Google, IKEA and Dalmia Cement demonstrating real leadership on renewables because it makes business sense – as well as helping to lower emissions, providing stable energy costs and increasing competitiveness.”
Advocates of renewables maintain that they can undercut fossil fuels in many geographies, provide attractive investment opportunities to multinationals, and allow large companies to hedge against future energy cost increases by signing long term power purchase agreements with renewables developers.
Clarkson urged the 100 companies signed up to the initiative to now step up efforts to encourage their partners, competitors, and suppliers to commit to sourcing renewables.
“We are now calling on companies to go one step further, and inspire their suppliers and peers to follow their lead so that together, we can speed the transition from fossil fuels to renewables to keep warming well under two degrees Celsius,” she said.
Paul Simpson, chief executive at CDP, said RE100 was part of a wider trend that was seeing leading corporates improve their disclosure of climate-related risks and set ambitious new emissions reduction targets
“Transitioning to 100 per cent renewable electricity through RE100 shows true leadership in our new sustainable economy,” he said. “It’s hugely encouraging that so many members are reporting clear progress, and fast. Following the vital steps of disclosure and insight on climate change activities, action is key to ensuring we move the global energy system to a tipping point by 2020.”
Leanne Wood, chief people, strategy and corporate affairs officer at Burberry, said the company hoped its commitment to procure 100 per cent renewables would help drive the global market for clean power.
“We are proud that over half of our offices, stores, warehouses and internal manufacturing sites globally are powered by either on site renewable resources or through renewable tariffs,” she said. “However, access to renewable resources is still limited in some places. By joining RE100 we aim to drive wider demand for low carbon power and encourage all providers to introduce renewable energy options.”