Global businesses accelerating low-carbon switch

Major businesses are actively reshaping the energy market and accelerating the shift to a zero emissions economy through their procurement of renewable energy, according to a new report.

The report from the RE100 global corporate leadership initiative, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, found that the total electricity demand of RE100 members now stands at over 159TWh/yr, equivalent to the 24th largest country’s electricity use.

Some 88% of respondents to a survey for the report cited the compelling economic case for renewable electricity as a major driver – with 30 out of 74 reporting that renewable electricity was either cost competitive or delivered significant savings on energy bills.

Major businesses are also using their purchasing power to drive greater take-up of renewable energy through their supply chains with 38% of members using a variety of approaches with suppliers.

The report- ‘Approaching the tipping point: how corporate users are redefining global electricity markets’ also provides insight into emerging trends in corporate sourcing of renewables around the world, with 122 RE100 members operating in 122 countries averaging 1.3 times more renewables in their electricity mix than the global rate of renewable electricity use.

The three countries where RE100 members source the highest proportion of renewable electricity are Spain (87%), followed by the UK (63%), and the Netherlands (62%).

Biggest achievers include AstraZeneca

Specific findings in the report include:

  • 25 members had reached 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2016, with Marks and Spencer, Sky Autodesk, Elopak and Interface, reaching this goal during the year
  • The biggest achievers in 2016 included Bank of America, Astra Zeneca and Coca Cola Enterprises, whose share of renewable electricity increased more than threefold;
  • The proportion of renewable electricity being sourced via power purchase agreements grew fourfold in 2016, while the quantity of electricity sourced from onsite generation increased x15 (via supplier-owned projects) and x9 (via member-owned projects);
  • 88% of respondents cited the compelling economic case for renewable electricity as a major driver

Accelerating rollout

Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, said: “Rapidly growing demand from world-leading RE100 companies – and increasingly their suppliers and peers – means governments can confidently look to ratchet up targets in 2020 for slashing greenhouse emissions, to deliver on the Paris Agreement.”

Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, CDP, said: “CDP data shows a jump in renewable energy procurement and that motivations are not only environmental but economic. With nearly 90% of companies driven by the economic case for renewables, this demonstrates a fast approaching tipping point in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

“These companies prove that energy is becoming a board level issue across the globe and sustainability is essential for future business security. Now, it’s time to tip the balance and make 100% renewable the new normal.”

> Download the report here