RE100 has gone Down Under, demonstrating the potential for corporate sourcing of renewables to help shift the energy market in Australia away from polluting coal.
The event was organised and hosted by Arup in Sydney, and explored how Australia’s business sector can collectively upscale corporate renewables.
To date, 154 RE100 companies have made a commitment to go 100% renewable globally - generating enough demand for renewables to power New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria combined.
Some 75 of these 154 companies have operations in Australia, including Fujitsu, Mars, Inc. and Unilever, who spoke of their commitment to renewables in the country.
Appealing to major Australian businesses to join RE100, Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said; "Australia has a golden opportunity to play a leading role in delivering a clean economy - RE100 companies are seizing the chance to invest in low-cost renewable electricity because it makes business sense."
He added, "Australia's lack of clear energy policy direction has led to inflated costs and reliance on antiquated power sources, but forward-thinking businesses are planning for the long term - they want to be competitive globally."
Earlier this year, Mars signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to source the equivalent of 100% of its electricity use in Australia from renewable energy by 2020.
At the time, Barry O’Sullivan, Mars Australia said, "The rise in electricity prices last year accelerated our plans to join Mars sites in the US, UK and 9 other countries in moving to renewable electricity. We acted quickly because the price volatility of energy in Australia made renewables the best option for our business, in addition to getting us closer to our commitment to eliminate greenhouse gasses from our operations by 2040."
Also speaking at the RE100 meeting were Christoph Frei, the Secretary General and CEO of The World Energy Council and Monica Richter, Senior Manager, Low Carbon Futures, WWF. Author, broadcaster and Arup consultant Jon Dee was the facilitator.
The meeting followed Arup's World Energy Mix Forum at Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra, when Sam Kimmins of The Climate Group presented RE100 to MPs and interested companies.
A recent RE100 report with Capgemini shows how companies committed to 100% renewable power have an edge on their peers.
2016-17 data taken from a sample of 3,500 companies, shows RE100 businesses (committed to 100% renewable electricity) consistently perform better than non-members on two key financial indicators: net profit margin and EBIT margin (Earnings Before Interests and Taxes).
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