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RE100 tops 100 members as corporate energy transition continues

Image: Kingfisher.

Image: Kingfisher.

A hundred companies have now pledged to adopt 100% renewable electricity under The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, marking a significant milestone for the scheme which three years ago had just 13 founding member companies.

AkzoNobel, AXA, Burberry and Carlsberg Group have become the latest members to make the commitment, joining the growing list of global brands working to reduce emissions through wider use of renewables.  

Together, they are creating around 146 terawatt-hours (TWh) in demand for renewable electricity annually – about as much as it takes to power Poland. This is a considerable increase from the 19TWh represented by the first members of the initiative and shows the growing demand for clean power at a corporate level.

Reflecting on the growth of RE100 since it launched in 2014, Helen Clarkson, chief executive officer of The Climate Group, said: “We are really pleased at the success of our campaign; by championing the compelling case for business action, we have reached 100 members three years earlier than expected. Changes in the market such as the falling cost of renewables have also worked in our favour.

“We are increasingly seeing large multinationals such as Google, IKEA and Dalmia Cement demonstrating real leadership on renewables because it makes business sense – as well as helping to lower emissions, providing stable energy costs and increasing competitiveness.”

AkzoNobel becomes the second biggest electricity user to join RE100 after Walmart, consuming around 16TWh annually. The Dutch paints and coatings company aims to be carbon neutral and use 100% renewable energy – heat as well as electricity – by 2050.

André Veneman, corporate director of sustainability at AkzoNobel, said: “We’re convinced that embracing renewable energy is an excellent way to create both short- and long-term value that will enable a true business transition. We’re delighted to be joining RE100 because it’s all about working with our suppliers, our customers and other leading companies to help make this change happen all over the world.”

French insurance company AXA is targeting 100% renewable electricity by 2025 across its operations in more than 60 countries. It intends to achieve this target by using a mix of approaches, notably buying electricity directly from providers and compensating for non-renewable electricity.

Global luxury fashion brand Burberry is aiming to procure 100% of electricity from renewable resources to power its whole business by 2022, with the Carlsberg Group is switching to 100% renewable electricity at its breweries by the same year, as a step towards its target to become carbon neutral in 2030

Cees 't Hart, chief executive officer at Carlsberg Group, said: “Business leadership is key to addressing climate change, so we must all step up and take bold collective action. Through RE100, we are joining forces with other like-minded companies, which are also leading the change towards a low carbon future.

“Switching to 100% renewable electricity offers a holistic business case with financial, social and environmental benefits. Hopefully together, we can inspire others to step up and do the same.”

Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has congratulated the RE100 and Climate Group for the growing roster of worldwide companies signing up to join the scheme.

“This would not be happening without leadership—and not just at the level of the CEO or a company board. It has been a huge collective effort of people at all levels from those responsible for the business energy needs or the running of manufacturing facilities to those managing retail outlets or working in finance and purchasing,” she said.

“Moreover this ‘100 moment’ is part of an alliance of inspiring actions flourishing across the globe by corporations but also cities, regions, states, territories, investors and citizens—actions supporting and empowering governments to go further and faster with the Paris Climate Change Agreement.”