Visa and PepsiCo celebrate 100% renewable electricity milestones

Visa has met its target to use 100% renewable electricity across its global operations, in the same week that PepsiCo announced that 100% of the electricity used across its US operations will be renewable by the end of 2020.

Visa and PepsiCo celebrate 100% renewable electricity milestones

Pictured: A rooftop solar array at PepsiCo's HQ in Harrison

Visa first set its 100% renewables target in 2018 and, since then, has been working with utility firms across 76 nations to switch the electricity consumed at its 131 offices and four global processing centres to contracts fulfilled solely through wind and solar generation.

The renewable electricity sourced by the company is generated through a mix of on-site and external arrays. On the latter, Visa has invested to add external renewable generation capacity in the UK, Colorado, Texas and California. The company estimates that its UK and US operations account for 80% of its annual global electricity use.

Visa has been keen to highlight the importance of collaboration in reaching 100% renewable electricity. The firm is a member of The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, a member of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance and a signatory of the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles. Each of these schemes supports not only individual business transitions, but wider market improvements, made collaboratively by corporates, governments, regulators and utilities.

“We congratulate Visa on its exciting announcement that they have reached 100% renewable electricity – it shows that it is possible for companies to switch to clean energy at speed,” The Climate Group’s executive director for North America Amy Davidsen said.

“What’s also really impressive is that Visa worked with other key stakeholders to increase renewable electricity capacity in the areas they operate. Leadership action like this helps accelerate market change and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”

PepsiCo’s progress

In related news, PepsiCo this week announced that it is on track to source 100% renewable electricity for its US operations by the end of the year.

The food and beverage giant is multinational, but the US is its largest market, accounting for around half of its global annual energy consumption.

In order to meet its 100% goal, PepsiCo says it is investing in a “diversified portfolio” of solutions, including rooftop solar at some of its largest manufacturing and office facilities, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), Virtual Power Purchase Agreements and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). PPAs and VPPAs support the development of new renewable generation capacity, while RECS support existing arrays and are third-party verified.

A similar approach has already been used by PepsiCo to switch to 100% renewable energy across its operations in the UK, Greece, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Poland. It is also proving successful in Mexico, where PepsiCo’s operations ran on 76% wind power in 2018.  

PepsiCo estimates that once its shift to renewable electricity in the US is complete, company-wide Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions will be reduced by 20% against a 2015 baseline.

“As an industry leader, we have a responsibility to help spur the use of renewable energy in the US while encouraging the kind of systemic change that can build a more sustainable food system,” PepsiCo’s chief sustainability officer Simon Lowden said. “This is another step forward in that journey.”

PepsiCo notably introduced a new sustainability strategy in 2016, with fresh goals around renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste, emissions and sustainable sourcing, among other topics. The company’s first sustainability report since the strategy’s introduction documented slow progress as many of the new measures were embedded, and as green campaign groups continued to criticize the business’s approach to issues such as plastics and palm oil.

edie’s next masterclass: how corporations are using energy to turn net-zero carbon ambition into reality

edie’s next masterclass webinar will focus on how decarbonising energy use fits into the corporate transition to net-zero. 

The interactive webinar, sponsored by SmartestEnergy, features a best-practice case study and a Q&A session. It is free to register for and is taking place on 30 January at 1-1.45pm BST. 


Sarah George

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