Governments target 1,000 businesses to commit to 100% renewable energy

A raft of new companies including Tetra Pak, Interface and Equinix have pledged to source 100% renewable energy as part of a RE100 initiative that will be galvanised by a government-led push to promote the renewables revolution to 1,000 businesses.

Unveiled on Thursday (2 June), at the Seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) in San Francisco, a new ‘Corporate Sourcing of Renewables’ campaign – led by the German and Danish Governments – will aim to add to the six new RE100 pledges – from Equinix, Tetra Pak, TD Bank Group, Interface, Dentsu Aegis Network and Workday – to drive the commitment across 23 countries and the European Commission.

As a partner of the initiative alongside CDP, the Climate Group’s chief executive officer Mark Kenber 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 galvanising 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.”

The new campaign is encouraging businesses to commit to sourcing 100% renewable power by signing up to the RE100 initiative. Governments will now lead the push to get 1,000 businesses to join RE100, which currently incorporates 65 companies.

For the six new companies that have pledged to source renewables, meeting the goals will collectively source more than 4,000GWh from clean energy generators such as solar and wind – enough to power the whole of San Francisco.

While TD Bank Group and Workday already source 100% renewables, TetraPak has set the target for 2030, while Interface and Dentsu Aegis Network have committed to sourcing 100% renewables by 2020.

Renewable progress

RE100 has previously estimated that 1,000 businesses using 100% renewables would lead to a tenth of all electricity-generated carbon emissions to be cut worldwide – more than 1,000Mt each year and accountable for more than 3% of global emissions.

Latest available data – from 2014 and therefore not including all 65 companies – has already shown that 53 companies in the RE100 are, on average, halfway to their 100% renewables goal. RE100 predicts that the 53 signatories will reach an average of 80% renewable electricity by 2020.

For companies such as Interface and TetraPak, which are better known for efforts regarding circular economy, the RE100 initiative gives them a chance to work alongside the likes of Google and Unilever in striving to run business models using 100% renewable energy.

Matt Mace

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