Sony and RBS among latest RE100 pledges

Global electronics firm Sony, management consultants McKinsey & Company, office space company WeWork and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have all pledged to transition to 100% renewable energy through the Climate Group's RE100 initiative.

The four firms join more than 140 multinational companies that have so far created demand for more than 182TWh of renewable energy annually – a figure that exceeds the energy demand of Poland.

Sony Corporation already sources 100% renewable energy in Europe and has avoided 154,000 tonnes of carbon emissions since 2016 as a result. Onsite solar installations in Japan and Thailand will push the corporation towards a 30% target for 2030, before transitioning to 100% renewables a decade later.

Japan accounts for Sony’s largest energy consumption, and the company will create a transfer initiative to utilise excess renewable electricity generated through onsite solar across its manufacturing sites. Sony will lobby with other RE100 members to call on Japanese energy firms to provide affordable and reliable clean energy supplies.

McKinsey & Company and RBS have committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity by 2025. WeWork, which has recently banned meat from all staff events due to environmental concerns, will aim to source 100% renewable electricity by 2023.

The Climate Group’s chief executive, Helen Clarkson, said: “By stepping up and joining RE100 these leading companies are saying loud and clear that 100% renewables are the solution – they reduce business risk and drive down greenhouse gas emissions. By putting renewables at the heart of their business strategies, RE100 members are sending the demand signals needed for national governments to increase their own ambitions on clean energy.” 

Banking on change

RBS has reduced its emissions by around 80% in the last three years. The firm will aim to source 80% renewables by 2020, before using certificates to reach 100% five years later. In 2017, 80% of RBS’s energy project financing was focused on renewables.

As well as rolling out a nationwide employee engagement scheme to cut energy use internally, RBS has issued well over £1bn in financial lending to sustainable energy projects.

RBS’s director of sustainable banking, Kirsty Britz, said: “We want to help build a cleaner, more sustainable economy for the future. So, we’re pleased to be joining the RE100 network as we work towards using 100 per cent renewables for all our electricity across our global operations.

“This is part of our work towards building a more sustainable bank; we lend to more renewables projects in the UK than any other bank, and we’ve recently changed our lending policies to ensure that we no longer fund high polluting projects like new coal-fired power stations or new thermal coal mines.”

The Climate Group and CDP have urged corporates to go further than setting 100% renewable electricity commitments – and to bring deadlines for such targets forward. The organisations are expecting further corporate announcements during the San Francisco Global Climate Action Summit (12 -14 September).

Ahead of the Summit, Cambridge-based Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group has called for a worldwide government-mandated net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

Matt Mace

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