Major U.S. corporates have announced new commitments to renewable energy at the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC.
Leading by example
Demonstrating strong leadership in the transition to a net-zero economy, Bank of America announced on stage that it is joining RE100, with a goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity and going carbon neutral by 2020.
The bank also announced plans to go carbon neutral and set new environmental operations goals for water, paper, waste and LEED certification. And, as well as reducing emissions in its own operations, Bank of America for the first time announced quantitative goals to address emissions in its supply chain.
Andrew Plepler, Global Environmental, Social and Governance executive at Bank of America, said: “These new commitments build on our existing environmental strategy for both our operations as well as our business activities. This includes our $125 billion environmental business initiative, which is providing much-needed capital to catalyze greater investments in clean energy and other low-carbon projects. Overall, we have provided more than $53 billion dollars to sustainable business activities since 2007.”
Speaking on the bank’s 100% renewable electricity commitment, he added: “We’re joining RE100 to help keep these critical issues at the forefront of the business agenda, recognizing the role of the private sector in addressing challenges associated with climate change. Together we can accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and low carbon economy.”
Influencing supply chains
The second major corporate announcement of the day was by Apple. Already an established leader in renewable energy, with 93% of its global operations in 23 countries running on renewable power last year, Apple also announced it is joining RE100 and is committed to reaching 100%.
The company said it wants its customers to be able to use its products without contributing to climate change, and also unveiled its investment in a new 50MW solar project in Arizona, generating 151,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year.
The technology giant said it was most interested in working with RE100 on pushing renewable energy into supply chains – an emerging focus area for the campaign as it works to bring more and more companies on board. Apple estimates that some 77% of its emissions come from its supply chain.
Last year Apple launched a clean energy program to help its manufacturing partners in China to lower their carbon footprint. It is now working with them to install more than 4GW of new clean energy worldwide by 2020, and today announced that its plastics supplier Solvay SA, and phone casing supplier Catcher Technology, would both work to use 100% renewable energy by the end of 2018.
"Apple is committed to running on 100% renewable energy, and we’re happy to stand beside other companies that are working toward the same effort", Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice president for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said in her keynote speech to an audience of business and government leaders.
“We’re excited to share the industry-leading work we've been doing to drive renewable energy into the manufacturing supply chain”, she added, “and as Tim Cook says, “we have to be the ripple on the pond… we can’t just be 100% renewable energy – we have to bring others with us.”
Jackson said that Apple looks forward to partnering with RE100 to advocate for clean-energy policies around the world. Specifically, she called for a price on carbon as a driver for action, saying that clear market signals were needed.
73 members and rising
Also today, Amalgamated Bank joined RE100 with a goal to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2017. The bank has called on the rest of the banking industry to follow its lead and take significant steps to proactively address climate risk and reduce carbon pollution.
There are now 73 members of RE100, spanning more than 20 sectors of the economy. More announcements are to follow during Climate Week NYC. Follow the action on social media at #CWNYC and #RE100.