A new renewable energy campaign was unveiled today at the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in San Francisco. The Corporate Sourcing of Renewables campaign is led by the Danish and German governments and aims to rally other CEM member countries into making renewable energy commitments. The Climate Group predict the campaign will significantly increase the number of companies using renewable energy to power their businesses.
The new campaign is encouraging business action in CEM member countries and driving the world’s biggest, most influential companies making 100% renewable power commitments to join RE100 – a global, collaborative business initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.
It was also announced that six world-leading companies have joined RE100 with a commitment to 100% renewable power across their global operations. They include global interconnection and data centre provider, Equinix; Swedish food processing and packaging giant, Tetra Pak; Canadian financial leader, TD Bank Group; leading manufacturer of modular carpet, Interface, Inc.; global advertising, media and marketing group, Dentsu Aegis Network; and global provider of enterprise cloud applications, Workday, Inc.
The new joiners take the total number of committed companies in RE100 to 65. All were recognised at CEM7 by the Danish Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate, Lars Christian Lilleholt, who announced the new commitments – and praised RE100 – on stage.
On meeting their 100% goals, the six new companies will collectively ensure that over 4,000GWh of electricity is powered by renewables – more than enough to power the whole of San Francisco.
RE100 has previously estimated that if 1,000 of the world’s most influential businesses become 100% powered by renewables, they would decarbonize almost a tenth of all electricity used worldwide and cut more than 1,000Mt of CO2 every year – 3.4% of global emissions. This impact could rise considerably if they were to successfully influence their supply chains and customer base to use renewable electricity too.
Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, said: “The demand push from corporates is as important as supportive government policy – bold action by businesses, cities and governments sends a strong market signal and means we can hold global warming below two degrees far more quickly.
“The Clean Energy Ministerial is shining the spotlight on RE100 as a model of best practice in galvanizing the switch to renewable energy, and the wave of influential companies joining RE100 today shows the business case for 100% renewables is as strong as ever.
“In many cases business wants to go further and faster. Governments can play a key role by implementing supportive policies, particularly in emerging economies – crucial for unlocking the growth of the renewable energy market globally.”
Sam Kapoor, Global Chief Operations Officer, Equinix, said, “As a leading global interconnection and data centre company, our business is inherently energy-intensive. As companies around the globe adjust to industry shifts such as cloud, mobility, IoT and Big Data, and require ever more space and power, our energy consumption grows with them.
“At Equinix, containing and greening that energy growth and designing energy-efficient IBX data centres is a top priority. Through these efforts we strive to provide shared value for all of our stakeholders, including our customers, shareholders and employees, as well as the communities in which we operate.
“We have set a long-term goal of achieving 100% renewable energy, and we also encourage our partners and customers to embrace greener business operations.”
Charles Brand, EVP Product Management and Commercial Operations at Tetra Pak, said: “Signing up to RE100 reflects our on-going commitment to minimising our climate impact and increasing our use of renewable resources.
“We have set an ambitious target to ensure carbon emissions across our value chain are capped at 2010 levels through to 2020, and we are making excellent progress. In 2015 emissions were down 15% from the 2010 baseline, despite a 16% increase in production.
“Since setting our climate goal we have maximized our efforts to reduce energy consumption; committing to a renewable energy target is a natural next step. By joining RE100 we will benefit from expert guidance and peer-to-peer learning on renewable energy options in different markets.
“For us, renewable energy is a key element of our environmental agenda, and an important factor in helping us achieve our sustainable growth ambitions.”
Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer at TD Bank Group, said: “In 2008 TD made a decision to lead on the environment and to be carbon neutral – joining RE100 reflects both these commitments.
“Few doubt the need to transition to a low carbon economy. As key drivers of economic growth large corporations have a major role to play in this transformation. If not us, then who? And we will have far more impact acting together through RE100 than individually.
“In 2015, TD sourced renewable energy equivalent to 100 percent of the electricity we used across the bank and we aim to continue doing this. I’ve been asked if our low carbon operating model has had an impact on our business. The answer is yes – it transforms our business and continues to be a driver of innovation.”
Erin Meezan, Vice President of Sustainability for Interface Inc., said: “For the past twenty years, Interface has been on a mission to eliminate our negative environmental footprint. As we approach our goal year of 2020, it is gratifying to join the companies engaged in RE100 in committing to aggressive renewable energy goals.”
Nick Priday, Group Chief Financial Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network, said: “As one of the world’s largest advertising and media groups, we want to lead our industry towards a low carbon economy.
“We have doubled in size since 2010 but reduced our carbon footprint per person globally by 21%. It is important that we de-couple carbon from our growth to achieve long term savings in our operations and become resilient to resource scarcity and price fluctuations.
“We quickly realized that in order to reach the required 40% carbon footprint reduction across our operations by 2020 to help keep the global temperature rise on or under 2˚C, a switch towards 100% renewable electricity would be essential. We see the step to join RE100 as an exciting public statement of our commitment.”
New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035
New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.
New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.
Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.
Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”
The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.
Zero net emissions by 2050
Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.
Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.
She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.
Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”
A worldwide shift to renewable energy
Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.
Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.
Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.
Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.
How Going Green Can Save A Company Money
What is going green?
Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.
The first step in going green
There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.
Making needed changes within the company
After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.
Reducing the common paper waste
Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.
Make money by spreading the word
Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.
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