News

  • Companies need science-based targets because "there is no business case in a wrecked planet": Pedro Faria, CDP

    Setting science-based targets to tackle climate change “will drive innovation inside the companies; it will be a signal of leadership, it will bring cost reductions, it will bring disrupting technology and business models,” says Pedro FariaTechnical DirectorCDP, in the latest Climate TV interview.

    CDP is collaborating with The Climate Group on RE100 and provides the Technical Working Group that recommends the campaign criteria for accounting and reporting renewable electricity.

     

    In today’s global market, accountability is key for businesses to their customers. “We need to transition, and companies will need to transition” toward a low carbon economy, explains Pedro Faria. “It’s fundamental that companies adopt science-based targets, because there is no business case in a wrecked planet.”

    Such targets must follow a long-term path because “we are in a long-term journey in terms of decarbonization”, he explains. At the same time, setting many achievable short-term goals within this long-term journey can actually “create accountability for their external stakeholders and even internally, to know how they are doing in terms of their long-term goals,” continues Pedro Faria.

    The historic Paris Agreement which was adopted at COP21 last December is pivotal to setting this pathway, helping establish a long-term framework for businesses to grasp the opportunities of climate action.

    “Reporting on your carbon emission is fundamental,” says Pedro Faria, since it’s the first step of such an inevitable journey all companies must go through. It also “creates transparency, creates accountability, creates engagement with your stakeholders, your value chain and your clients”, the Director explains.

    “Consumer demand is driving a transformation in the power industry,” concludes Pedro Faria. “RE100, by gathering large consumers, gives a really strong signal to the power industry about the need to decarbonize.”

  • IKEA Group announces new wind farm in Finland

    IKEA Group is funding the renewal and expansion of a wind farm in Kemi, Finland, with the intention to acquire the new wind farm when it is finalised at the end of 2017. Through the acquisition, IKEA Finland will produce more energy from renewable sources than it uses in all its stores and operations.

    “The wind farm in Finland brings us closer to our goal to produce as much energy from renewable sources as all of the energy we consume in our own operations globally by 2020. We do this because it is the right thing to do for people and the planet and for the future of our business.” says Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer of IKEA Group.

    Once operational at the end of 2017 the wind farm in Finland will generate approximately 160 GWh wind power annually, which is equivalent to the annual electricity needs of approximately 32 000 homes. The renewal and expansion of the new wind farm in Kemi means it is estimated to produce more than twice as much energy each year compared to the existing wind farm.

    IKEA Group has invested EUR 1.5 billion into renewable energy since 2009, and recently announced an additional EUR 600 million for investment in wind and solar power generation.

    The company is on track to become energy independent, producing as much renewable energy as it consumes in its buildings. Including the new wind farm in Finland, IKEA Group has committed to own and operate 327 offsite wind turbines globally and has installed around 700,000 solar panels on its buildings.

    “We’ve made good progress in making our operations more sustainable, and some of our stores in Finland are the most energy efficient IKEA stores anywhere in the world. Owning our own wind power production is the next big step in our efforts to have a positive impact and to contribute to a solution to climate change.”, says Lars Midttun, IKEA Finland Country Manager.

    IKEA Group partner OX2 will now start the construction work at Ajos windfarm located 10 km from Kemi city center. There are currently 8 offshore turbines built upon artificial islands along the shoreline and 2 onshore turbines. All of these existing turbines will be dismantled and replaced with new, more modern and more efficient turbines. On top of that, the existing wind farm will be extended with three new onshore locations where new turbines will be built. When the construction work has been finished by the end of 2017, IKEA Finland is planning to acquire the wind farm from OX2.

    In an exclusive interview for Climate TV, Steve Howard outlines the company's wider renewable energy plans. 

  • "Renewable energy is the future", says Steve Howard, IKEA

    “Renewable energy is common sense energy,” states Chief Sustainability Officer of IKEA Group, Steve Howard, talking of the leading retailer’s renewable energy plans in The Climate Group’s latest interview for Climate TV.

    One of the founding partners of RE100, IKEA has set a target to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2020.

     

    “At IKEA we’ve gone all-in for renewable energy because really electricity and energy is just a cost, unless you start internalizing it. So, if you generate your own from wind turbines or solar panels on your rooftops, then something that would have been a cost becomes a profit center,” says Steve Howard.

    IKEA has realized the opportunities of renewables and is investing heavily. “We’ve actually deployed about €1.5 billion into renewables. We’ve got 23 windfarms, we’ve installed 758,000 solar panels on our stores and distribution centers around the world.

    “And we recently announced a further €1 billion for climate action – €600 million was for extra renewables, and €400 million was through the IKEA Foundation to help communities to adapt to climate change and source clean energy themselves,” adds Steve Howard, demonstrating that the company understands the long-term value it can deliver through its investments.

    Looking forward, IKEA sees that “renewable energy is the future. We’re going to see abundant, affordable clean energy, but we need to do this at pace and a scale, because we have an urgent need to decarbonize. And in business we can actually drive innovation and investment.”

    “So RE100 is a fantastic initiative, because it’s setting ambitious, broad time frames, and stimulating the market for ambitious deployment of renewables,” says Steve Howard, highlighting the important role that corporates can play in bringing about a low carbon future. “I think we can decarbonize the power sector within a very short amount of time, if we really go for it.”

    The company has been making quick progress toward its RE100 target – although in some countries more than others. “We’re actually energy independent in the Nordic area, our wind farms and solar installations produce more renewable energy than we consume, and the same will be true in the US in the very short-term,” says the CSO, but this has not been the case for all countries where the business operates. “It’s been more challenging, but we keep looking and we have dialogue with government partners to say ‘how do we get this done?’”

    Overcoming challenges, IKEA is continuing to take bold action in the pursuit of achieving their mission to become ‘people and planet positive’, Steve Howard explains. “We don’t want to do that by 2050, we want to do that in the next few years – and we can already see a real progress. Energy is a fantastic opportunity to make progress fast, so we want to get this done before 2020.”

    “It’s a great thing not just for the Chief Sustainability Officer but also for the Chief Financial Officer,” he adds, demonstrating the benefits of transitioning to renewables are being seen across the whole company.

    Concluding the interview, the CSO talks of the importance of the relationship “between good government policy and business innovation and investment.”

    “We will create a fantastic future where we have abundant clean energy and a wonderful circular economy. It’s there for the taking.”

  • RE100 companies half of the way to 100% renewable electricity goals - Annual Report

    RE100 companies are on average half way towards meeting their 100% renewable electricity goals, a new RE100 report published by The Climate Group and CDP shows.

    The latest available data (2014) from (45) RE100 companies shows that those in the retail sector have switched the largest amount of electricity to renewables (10,764,000 MWh in 2014), while those in the ICT sector are closest to reaching their 100% renewable electricity goals (on average they are 64% of the way there).

    Taking into account company interim and end goals for reaching 100% renewable electricity, RE100 projects that the current group of 53 RE100 companies will reach an average of 80% renewable electricity by 2020.

    “The good news is that RE100 companies in every sector have made progress towards their 100% goals – or in some cases, have already got there”, says Emily Farnworth, RE100 Campaign Director at The Climate Group.

    “The companies that have been able to make the switch more easily are those with smaller power requirements operating mainly in the US or Europe – where renewable electricity options are most readily accessible.

    “When all 53 RE100 companies are 100% powered by renewables, they’d create enough renewable electricity demand to power Hong Kong and Singapore combined – today’s report shows they are well on their way.

    “Of course we need to carry on growing the campaign and get more and more companies committed to 100% renewable electricity. Following on from the success of COP21 in Paris, business has a real opportunity to support the transition to renewable power and help deliver major carbon cuts."

    Looking more closely at the options being used, RE100 has identified a trend for IT companies building new research labs and data centers to use power purchasing agreements and on-site generation, while many European companies are making the most of credible options to purchase 'green power’ directly from the grid.

    Roberto Zanchi, Technical Manager, Renewable Energy at CDP, says: “This report shows us that business corporations around the world are stepping up in making commitments to renewable energy and working with RE100 to drive forward a global market for renewable energy. 

    "By reporting to CDP on their transition to clean energy and the sharing of best practices, RE100 companies are demonstrating strong transparency and accountability which are essential in developing a vibrant, well-functioning market."

    Through its Technical Working Group RE100 provides guidance to companies around the best renewable electricity options available in different markets. Through its Knowledge Sharing Platform and a series of workshops and webinars, RE100 is also enabling peer-to-peer learning and sharing the business benefits of switching.

    To increase the scale and pace of the transition to renewables, RE100 plans to do the following going forward:

    There are currently 53 companies in the RE100 campaign, including: Adobe, Alstria, Autodesk, Aviva, Biogen, BMW Group, BROAD Group, BT Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Commerzbank, DSM, Elion Resources Group, Elopak, Formula E, Givaudan, Goldman Sachs, Google, H&M, IKEA Group, Infosys, ING, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.(IFF), J. Safra Sarasin, Johnson & Johnson, Kingspan, KPN, La Poste, Land Securities, Marks & Spencer, Mars Incorporated, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike, Inc., Nordea Bank AB, Novo Nordisk, Pearson, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Proximus, RELX Group, Salesforce, SAP, SGS, Starbucks, Steelcase, Swiss Post, Swiss Re, UBS, Unilever, Vaisala, Voya Financial, Walmart and YOOX Group.

     

  • There is a clear case for corporate buyers of renewable power: Lesley O'Connor

    “The case for renewables is really, really strong,” states Lesley O’Connor, Non-Executive Director, Mainstream Renewable Power, while highlighting the business benefits brought by switching to cleaner energy, in The Climate Group’s latest exclusive Climate TV interview.

    Mainstream Renewable Power is an independent global developer of renewables that is headquartered in Ireland, with almost 10,000 MW of renewable energy in development and currently nearly 700 MW delivered into construction and commercial operation.

    Explaining the economic reasons for the company’s mission, Lesley O’Connor says: “Mainstream Renewable Power, you may guess from the name, actually exists to lead the transition to renewable power. We see that there is a very clear case for corporate buyers of renewable power, as well as governments, as well as cities, as well as regions and states.”

    Among its many projects, the company has partnered with IKEA Group to build a 9 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Ireland and 46 MW farm in Canada, which are operated and maintained for IKEA under long-term contracts.

    The wind farms are helping IKEA – a founding partner of RE100 – reach its target to produce as much renewable electricity as it consumes by 2020 and avoid the release of 131,349 tons of CO2 annually from its operations.

     

    Mainstream Renewable Power’s Global Head of Corporate Affairs, Adam Bruce, sits as a member on the Steering Committee of RE100, “which we are very, very proud to be a member of”, adds Lesley O’Connor.

    “We are able to lend our expertise in renewable energy development from a project development perspective and to work with the group to address some of the key challenges that there are in achieving those ambitious and inspirational goals.”

    The Director is confident the barriers will be surpassed, and emphasizes the importance of collaboration in growing global demand for renewables: “It’s not impossible certainly, but together the group will definitely overcome them and we are delighted to be a part of that.”

    Increasingly businesses from all sectors and around the world are setting targets to become 100% powered by renewables – and showcasing that not only do these targets deliver on an environmental front, but bring benefits to the business simultaneously. Lesley O’Connor explains: “Some of the key elements of the business case for moving to 100% renewables is achieving a certainty on the price of power over the long term, something you simply can’t get with fossil fuels. Another point is we can tell a price on carbon may not be here right now, but it is coming. And it’s coming in every market.”

    With a mission to lead the global transition, Mainstream Renewable Power’s focus is “on emerging markets and developing new renewable plants in those markets,” says Lesley O’Connor. “Where there is increasing population we hear that access to power is one of the big challenges for the next 5, 10, 15 years in a lot of emerging markets… there is a clear choice between – do I build a new coal or gas plant? Or do I build wind and solar? And which has better economics?”

    A clear example of this is through a partnership with the South African government and its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement process. The company’s portfolio of partnerships with governments, utilities and large corporates alike shows that “in markets like South Africa, where they have that choice, wind and solar are winning hands down,” concludes Lesley O’Connor.

    This weekend, the sixth session of the IRENA Assembly, one of the world's foremost renewable energy transition summits, will take place in Abu Dhabi. The IRENA Assembly will be the first major inter-governmental meeting taking place since the global COP21 climate talks in Paris last year. The event will look to turn Paris outcomes into credible global efforts to scale up renewable energy deployment around the world. 

  • Going 100% renewable "will be a competitive advantage" says La Poste

    "Responding to the challenges of tomorrow means thinking and acting differently today,” said Christine Bargain, Director of CSR at La Poste, speaking exclusively to Climate TV about the French postal service’s rapidly expanding renewable energy use.

    La Poste was the first French company to join RE100 in October last year, setting a target to power all of its operations with renewable electricity by 2020.

    “We want to be in advance of the market,” added Christine Bargain while discussing why the company joined the campaign. “RE100 is a good initiative for companies – we are proud to be the first French group to join.”

    La Poste is already well on the way to achieving its RE100 target. The postal group purchases 100% renewable electricity to power 1,300 major sites, accounting for two-thirds of its power consumption.

    The business is also switching to a green electricity tariff so that all of its operations can eventually be powered by renewables, with plans to also explore options for on-site generation.

    Olivier Dressayre, Deputy Director Group Strategy, La Poste said: “We are a big player in real estate in France with more than 7 million square meters of buildings. This is very important to give market signals that we want to switch to green and clean energy.”

    La Poste recognizes the role that business can play in setting an example as well as increasing the demand for renewables in France, a country that is currently dominated by nuclear power generation.

     

    The French postal service has one of the largest fleets of electrical vehicles in the world, which it endeavors to power with renewable electricity in order to expand its distribution area while reducing carbon emissions.

    As well as the environmental benefits of undergoing a low carbon energy transition, corporates are increasingly seeing the strong business case for switching to renewables too, such as cost savings, energy security and brand reputational benefits – and La Poste is no different.

    “We strongly believe that going to green value will be a competitive advantage; not only for postal operations and green delivery, but also in the real estate market as a subsidiary of La Poste,” said Olivier Dressayre, speaking to Climate TV about the expected benefits of increasing renewables. 

    La Poste is working toward 100% renewables by 2020 as part of its overall target to reduce carbon emissions by 15% by 2020, compared to a 2013 baseline. The company has already achieved carbon neutrality in all operations due to offsetting projects, including investment in renewable projects in India.

    When the postal service joined the RE100 campaign last year, Philippe Wahl, Chairman and CEO of Le Groupe La Poste said: “Corporate responsibility underpins all action at Le Groupe La Poste. Our strategic plan ‘La Poste 2020: conquering the future’ cements this commitment, which was made 30 years ago now, and tailors it to meet new societal issues, specifically for climate changes issues.”

  • Low carbon strategies "make business sense" says Google

    During COP21 in Paris, Climate TV spoke exclusively to Gary Demasi, Director, Operations - Data Center Energy and Location Strategy, Google about the company's low carbon business plans and its unique role as a global industry influencer.

    Google joined RE100 with an interim target to triple its purchase of renewable energy by 2025. Google's goals were originally announced in June 2015 when the company signed the American Business Act on Climate.

    Outlining why Google joined RE100, Gary Demasi says in The Climate Group's Climate TV interview: "We feel it is important to join specific industry coalitions that can push for common policy change and really mobilize around very key policy efforts to drive renewable energy forward.

    "Low carbon strategies are very important, not only because at least for Google we feel that climate change is a real and potentially catastrophic issue for economies around the world, but we also do it because it make business sense."

     

    The Director adds: "Essentially renewable energy is at parity from a cost perspective with what is already on the grid, so it actually makes business sense for the company. We wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't a smart thing to do."

    Google is just the latest in a wave of the world's biggest ICT companies to join RE100, with Microsoft and Adobe also signing up to the campaign during COP21. The public demand for renewable electricity from these influential companies sends a clear signal to the market that transitioning to renewables is a common sense business decision.

    "One of our objectives is to create a platform for other companies to follow. We really look for ways that are replicable and we are really pushing for policy change that provides other companies the avenues to do the same kind of things that we have done.

    "We hope through our leadership that we're not simply doing this for Google. It is very important for us as a company, but we are also doing this truly for the betterment of our peers, and the betterment of industry in general, to create a real material change across our entire sector and other industries."

  • RE100 companies sign Paris Pledge For Action

    RE100 companies and other non-state actors have today promised to ensure the ambition set out by the Paris Agreement is met or exceeded, to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

    L’Appel de Paris, or the Paris Pledge for Action, is a call to action bringing together a range of voices with one shared vision – the transition to a low carbon economy.

    Sending a clear message that non-state players are ready to play their part in climate action, the pledge states:

    “We welcome the adoption of a new, universal climate agreement at COP21 in Paris, which is a critical step on the path to solving climate change. We pledge our support to ensuring that the level of ambition set by the agreement is met or exceeded.”

    L’Appel de Paris has already been signed by over 400 businesses, 120 investors, 150 cities and regions representing 150 million people and US$11 trillion.

    18 RE100 companies have signed the pledge, including Autodesk, Aviva, BROAD Group, BT, Coca-Cola Enterprises, ING, Johnson & Johnson, KPN, Marks & Spencer, Mars, Microsoft, Nestle, Nordea, Philips, Proximus, Royal DSM, Swiss Re and Unilever.

    Over the last few weeks several RE100 companies have announced plans for switching to renewable electricity. For example, Unilever has set a goal to source 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2030 – including all grid electricity from renewables by 2020. Meanwhile Coca-Cola Enterprises and ING joined RE100, each committing to go 100% renewable by 2020.

    The Paris Pledge is an initiative of the COP21 French Presidency incorporating a range of stakeholders who are already committed to reducing emissions and driving towards a low carbon future. By signing the Paris Pledge these stakeholders are collectively supporting climate action, alongside governments and accelerating the changes needed even before the agreement takes effect in 2020.

    L’Appel de Paris remains open to more signatories and all non-state actors are invited to join the call for action in support of the Paris Agreement. 

  • Blog: climate deal reached - now it's time for action

    RE100 Campaign Director Emily Farnworth blogs on the role RE100 played in pushing for a strong climate deal at COP21 - and what the Paris Agreement now means for business.

    It was an incredible moment when, on Saturday December 12, COP President Laurent Fabius brought down the gavel on an unprecedented global climate agreement. There had been a collaborative atmosphere at Le Bourget the whole two weeks and it was palpable in the final session.

    The commitments of companies, cities and regions to go 100% renewable was not insignificant in the context of the negotiations. Renewables were a beacon for what is possible.

    Civil society had the same message for governments. Yellow ‘eco paint’ was poured around the famous roundabout circling the Arc de Triomphe, sending a dial of rays down streets and forming a huge yellow sun. The message? We need solar power to play a critical role in our future.

    Renewables were at the heart of conversations throughout COP, as one good news story followed another.

    During the first week, ICT companies Microsoft, Adobe, and Google signed up to RE100, announcing new plans and reinforcing their commitment to renewables. Dutch bank ING also joined the campaign.

    On COP Action Day, Saturday December 5, RE100 was showcased at a high level event at Google, with RE100 speakers including Marks & Spencer’s CEO Marc Bolland and senior representatives from Philips, IKEA and Unilever. Google’s Vice President for Energy was interviewed for Climate TV.

     The next day, at IRENA’s REenergizing the Future event in central Paris, Marks & Spencer and Unilever presented Collectively’s ‘We Got Power’ campaign aimed at engaging millennials in building a 100% renewable future.

    It didn’t stop there. RE100’s biggest moment came on Monday December 7, ‘Lima Paris Action Agenda’ Energy Day, when IKEA’s CEO Peter Agnefjäll took to the stage to announce a further six companies joining RE100. Amongst them, the German car manufacturer BMW – the first, but unlikely to be the last in its sector to commit to 100% renewable power. 

    Meanwhile, we released new figures showing that a private sector switch to 100% renewable power could cut global carbon emissions by nearly 15% – a huge contribution to tackling climate change.

    On the same day, WWF and the World Resources Institute announced that there were now 49 signatories to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, which seek simplified access to renewable electricity for large energy buyers.

    And then on Tuesday, just as talks started to intensify, 20 institutional investors with assets of £352 billion in assets under management joined forces to call on more of the world’s largest companies to commit to 100% renewable power. Many investors have committed to decarbonising their own portfolios, and having credit worthy customers ready to buy renewable power means reduced risks for new projects – a critical piece of the jigsaw.

    On Friday December 11 and Saturday December 12, right at crunch point in the talks, RE100 companies united in a call for a long term goal on cutting and neutralising emissions. The positive business voice was heard, and the private sector got the green light for driving a low carbon economy.

    The Paris Agreement provides policy certainty, a level playing field around the world, and the confidence to make long term low carbon investments – recognised by RE100 corporate partners.

    So what now?

    RE100 will play a critical role in delivering pre-2020 action – businesses acting now can help achieve carbon cuts ahead of national plans officially coming into play in 2020.

    And with current pledges by national governments too little to limit warming to the agreed goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, greater business action will also be needed in the years beyond, to ensure that we all stay on track.

    Heading into 2016, we will grow the group of companies making a commitment to 100% renewable power as part of RE100. We will expand into new geographies, partner with others to address policy and financing barriers, build new alliances across sectors and supply chains, and connect with like-minded initiatives working with cities, sub-national governments and civil society.

    We will showcase the progress companies are making towards their 100% renewable power goals because it makes business sense. And we will demonstrate how the private sector is working alongside governments to ‘get the job done’ on renewable energy.

    The future looked bright for renewables without a global deal. With one – and increasing efforts from business to switch to renewable power – the low carbon economy is unstoppable. 

  • Paris Agreement reached: now to build a low carbon economy

    An historic climate change agreement has been reached at COP21 in Paris, hailed by The Climate Group and its business partners as "a victory for science and vision which calls time on the fossil fuel age and charts us firmly on course for a clean industrial revolution."

    Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, said: “It gives us the long term climate goal we wanted, and a clear roadmap on how to get there. This gives policymakers, businesses and investors the certainty they need to move ahead and build a low carbon economy."

    In the run up to Paris, businesses demonstrated their support for an ambitious and robust climate deal and for shifting the global energy market to renewables. 53 companies have joined the RE100 campaign and committed to using 100% renewable electricity across their own operations. Today's agreement will necessarily see many more making such commitments in the future.

    “This agreement will allow them to go further and faster in their own ambitious plans and policies, and ensure that the transition to the new, smart economy is a swift one", said Kenber. 

    "This is only the beginning of the journey and opportunity. Imagine what can now be achieved by these leaders with a global deal that supports and encourges them to go even further."

    Earlier this week The Climate Group and CDP released new figures showing huge potential impact of more and more companies switching to renewables. The groups estimate that if all businesses were 100% powered by renewable electricity, they would save nearly 15% of global carbon emissions.

    RE100 companies have welcomed today's agreement in Paris.

    Hannah Jones, Chief Sustainability Officer, and VP, Innovation Accelerator at NIKE, Inc., said: "We applaud the adoption of the Paris Agreement. We hope this unprecedented and historic global alignment will not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also incentivize innovation and support sustainable business growth and development. 

    "This agreement marks a transformative moment on the journey toward a low-carbon economy, providing the certainty and confidence businesses need to continue to pursue positive climate action." 

    Niall Dunne, Chief Sustainability Officer at BT Group, said: "At BT, we're delighted that the negotiations at COP21 have achieved this agreement and significant step towards a sustainable future. We'll continue to innovate, collaborate and scale to use the power of communications to make a better world."

    Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist at Microsoft, said: "This global commitment provides assurance and clear direction for not only national governments, but also for corporations around the world. It will help companies to move forward in accelerating their low-carbon investments and helping to build a  low-carbon global economy. 

    "It is our hope and belief that this agreement will encourage even more organizations and industries to pursue carbon-neutral commitments, policies and initiatives." 

    Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, said: "The consequences of this agreement go far beyond the actions of governments. They will be felt in banks, stock exchanges, board rooms and research centres as the world absorbs the fact that we are embarking on an unprecedented project to decarbonise the global economy.

    "This realisation will unlock trillions of dollars and the immense creativity and innovation of the private sector who will rise to the challenge in a way that will avert the worst effects of climate change."