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  • RE100 wins British Renewable Energy Award for helping to create market demand for renewables

    The RE100 campaign has won the 2016 British Renewable Energy Award for best ‘Pioneer’, in recognition of its efforts to accelerate the corporate take up of renewable energy through commitments to 100% renewable power.

    Led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, RE100 has been galvanizing business action and highlighting 100% commitments by the world’s most influential companies, ever since it launched with the support of 12 dedicated companies in September 2014. There are now 65 leading companies in the campaign, with many more preparing to join – demonstrating the business case for renewables and sending a strong market signal to utilities and governments alike.

    The award was presented to RE100 at the Renewable Energy Association’s prestigious annual gala in London, which showcases excellence in the British renewables industry.

    “The Climate Group is proud that our RE100 program has been recognised for what it is – a ground-breaking initiative effecting change” says Damian Ryan, Director of Strategy & Planning, The Climate Group. “After the historic Paris Agreement, the central role of business in tackling climate change is more evident than ever. As well as encouraging the world’s leading businesses to think with their feet, RE100 gives companies a unified voice that the market – and policy makers – must listen to.”

    “We are truly honored to receive this award”, added Emily Farnworth, RE100 Campaign Director, “but we couldn’t have done it without the top level commitments of all the RE100 companies and the progress they are making towards their goals”.

    Image, from left to right: Ray Noble, Senior Advisor at the REA; Damian Ryan, Director of Strategy & Planning, The Climate Group; Emily Farnworth, RE100 Campaign Director, The Climate Group; Prof Paul Ekins OBE, University College London; Bill Turnbull, former host of BBC Breakfast.

    Leadership Award

    It was a successful night for RE100, with companies in the campaign taking home awards too.

    Marks & Spencer won the ‘Leadership’ award, as a company that is mainstreaming renewables through the scale of its investment or its commitment to securing its energy needs from renewables. In 2014, the company was sourcing 87% of its global electricity use from renewables, and it has been 100% powered by renewables in the UK and ROI since 2012. Demonstrating its leadership to address climate change, the company has invested more than $550,000 in community energy projects through M&S Energy, enabling more communities in the UK to generate renewable energy and become environmentally and financially sustainable.

    Speaking recently at the Clean Energy Summit in London, Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business (Plan A), endorsed RE100, saying that by working alongside other companies in the campaign Marks & Spencer could help change the bigger picture and achieve far more than it could do alone. He said that the company was sourcing renewable electricity at no extra cost – and for that reason it was easy to convince the CFO that 100% renewable power was realistic. 

    Other RE100 companies shortlisted for the leadership award included Unilever, BT Group, Aviva plc and Biogen UK Ltd – part of Biogen.

    All of the electricity that Unilever sources from the grid in the UK is 100% renewable. The company aims to source 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030, with all electricity sourced from the grid being renewable by 2020.  BT Group aims to go 100% renewable across its global operations by 2020 and has championed the business case for renewables. In October last year the company also launched a campaign to inspire its customer base to go 100% renewable too. Aviva aims to be 100% renewable across its global operations by 2025, with an interim goal of being 80% renewable by 2020. The company is keen to work with other RE100 companies to build up demand for renewable electricity tariffs to become available in India and China. Biogen became 100% renewable across its global operations in 2014, and buying renewable electricity certifcates equivalent to 100% of its operations in the UK.  

    Low carbon transport

    Another RE100 member, Formula E, received the ‘Low Carbon Transport’ award for its commitment and innovation in low carbon vehicles.

    RE100 was also in the spotlight at the Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco earlier this month, when Energy Ministers from countries accounting for more than 75% of global carbon emissions unveiled a new campaign encouraging the world’s biggest and most influential companies to commit to 100% renewable power and join RE100. Six companies joined RE100 and there were announcements from existing RE100 companies on their achievements whilst working towards their 100% goals.