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  • London Climate Action Week: big business aims for 100% renewable power

    LONDON: As the Mayor of London’s inaugural London Climate Action Week (1-8 July) gets under way today, major companies are leading by example, by making ambitious new commitments on clean energy and transport.

    The UK’s leading sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion plc, The City of London Corporation, and innovative property investor Derwent London have committed to source 100% renewable electricity by joining RE100 – the global corporate leadership initiative toward zero carbon grids, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

    Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “It’s exciting to see businesses leading by example on clean transport and energy in London and beyond – we need to act fast to reduce emissions at the speed needed to limit global warming to 1.5˚C.”

    City of London Corporation 

    The City Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK.

    The organization has been running on 100% renewable electricity since October last year. It is now generating electricity on sites it owns across London, investing in off-site renewable energy and buying renewable energy already available on the market. The City Corporation is also increasing the number of solar panels on its buildings and investing in installations such as wind or solar farms.

    Now the City Corporation is joining RE100 to position itself as one of the world’s leading organizations committed to 100% renewable power.

    Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair, the City of London Corporation, said, “We switched to 100% renewable electricity last October to help deliver on London’s ambition to become a sustainable city. The move makes us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity. Joining RE100 during London Climate Action Week is the next step in that journey. We hope we can be a beacon to other organizations to follow suit.”

    Derwent London 

    Property investment and development business Derwent London is the largest REIT (real estate investment trust) focused on central London. The Group owns and manages an investment portfolio of 5.4 million sq ft, mainly across the West End and areas bordering the City of London.

    Derwent London puts sustainability at the heart of its business strategy and has set a RE100 goal to source 100% renewable electricity by 2020. Already, the company has achieved this for all its managed properties by purchasing renewable energy attribution certificates. It is now exploring options around power purchase agreements.

    Paul Williams, CEO, Derwent London Plc, Derwent London, said, “Being a responsible business is a hallmark of our distinctive approach and business model – it is visible in our culture, approach to risk and in the design, delivery and management of our buildings. We have already met our target to source 100% REGO backed renewable electricity by 2020.”

    JD Sports

    JD is the UK’s leading retailer and distributor of branded sportswear and fashionwear, with more than 900 stores. A key objective of its Carbon Management Programme is to purchase energy from sustainable sources wherever operationally possible. To reach its RE100 goal of using 100% renewable electricity globally by 2025 (including Europe by 2022), JD is exploring various sourcing options, beginning with the UK and Republic of Ireland, and followed by other operations across Europe and elsewhere.

    Neil Greenhalgh, Chief Financial Officer, JD Sports Fashion plc, said, “JD is proud of achieving 100% renewable electricity for our UK and ROI operations. We view RE100 membership as a great way to encourage and share our renewable energy progress, and also to learn from other large companies with similar ambitions on global green energy usage. To mark JD joining RE100, we have committed to target 100% renewable electricity for our European operations by 2022, with all major global entities to be renewable by 2025.”

    London landlords and corporate tenants

    The new commitments follow a report last week by Edie and Big Clean Switch, in association with RE100 (led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP), showing that 4 in 5 UK businesses in rented property struggle to engage landlords on the switch to renewable power, and making the case for more collaborative working toward 100% renewable electricity goals.

    The Climate Group will explore these issues and more at a unique event for London Climate Action Week in on Wednesday (3 July), with Shirley Rodrigues, the Deputy London Mayor for Environment and Energy.

    Reflecting on today’s announcements, Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, added, “Ambitious commitments like these signal that existing challenges for corporate tenants and landlords around clean energy can be overcome, and I am certain they will inspire many more companies to demonstrate ambitious climate action.”