• Blog: Good for business - how energy productivity and renewable power are saving Swiss Re millions of dollars every year

    Swiss Re – a world leading reinsurer and founding member of RE100 – is going above and beyond its ambitious climate action commitments. In this blog, Lasse Wallquist, Swiss Re’s Senior Environmental Management Specialist, addresses the business case for becoming more energy productive and for switching to 100% renewable power.

    At Swiss Re, we’re in the business of calculating risk. We believe that by joining RE100 and EP100, we’ve made a decision to future-proof our operations against the costs of climate change down the road. In terms of emissions reduction, our strategy is to "do our best and compensate the rest". The first step of doing our best is increasing our energy productivity; a constant goal which sits at the heart of our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Neutral Programme.

    We know that transitioning to 100% renewable power is an essential outcome that we need to deliver on. But, for us, it wouldn’t be sensible to ‘go renewable’ without ensuring we optimize our energy system first.

    Committed to energy productivity

    Energy productivity has always been at the forefront of our emissions reduction transition, and so far, our annual energy costs have dropped by more than US$10 million. Our commitment has been to continuously improve our energy productivity by 2% per year, and at the end of 2016, our energy productivity was halved, compared to 2005. While we’ve reached our EP100 commitment earlier than expected, the campaign continues to support us in creating awareness around ways to increase energy productivity while decreasing our energy costs and our carbon footprint.

    We’ve hit our EP100 target already by, for example, decommissioning existing office buildings and moving into more energy efficient workspaces. Our new "Swiss Re Next" headquarters in Zurich has an energy productivity rate per workplace that is 80% higher compared to the former building.

    Swiss Re Next headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland - © Birrer Photography

    Top management of many companies—due to the nature of their business—are not aware of the cost of their electricity bills. By failing to consider this crucial area of their operations, companies not only miss out on the opportunity to significantly reduce their own energy costs, but they also miss the chance to make lasting changes for a greener tomorrow. As a financial services company, energy productivity might not seem like an obvious objective for our management, but EP100 has helped us in creating awareness of energy productivity and educating our teams about opportunities to do more.

    Walking the talk on renewables

    In the context of Swiss Re's strong record on climate action, going 100% renewable is an important milestone in how we "walk the talk". It helps us to illustrate our concrete efforts for our customers, our employees, and the wider public, whose enthusiasm for our efforts has been remarkable. We started sourcing renewable power at four European locations in 2005, and expanded to 25 locations across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania by 2013. Today, I’m proud to say that 84% of the power Swiss Re consumes comes from renewable sources. RE100 continues to provide a great platform for companies to learn from each other—to exchange best practices and to cooperate on concrete RE projects.

    To reach our RE100 goal, we believe that carbon emissions should be avoided directly at the source whenever possible, and to this end, we believe strongly in investing in on-site renewables. It just makes sense, both environmentally and economically.

    We’re financing our own solar power production in Armonk, New York, where we’ve invested about US$7 million into our largest solar project so far—a 2MW solar power plant in operation at Swiss Re Americas' headquarters. The plant has the capacity to generate more than 60% of the campus' power requirements and a fifth of our total US consumption. Alongside its environmental merit, the Armonk solar project also has an attractive payback of less than seven years.

    Ground mount solar PV at Swiss Re America's headquarters, Armonk, US - © EnterSolar

    We’ve also started installing solar energy facilities on the rooftops of Swiss Re offices in Switzerland, Italy, and the UK. In Bangalore, India, we are just about to complete a 400kW installation with a payback of less than five years. With a life expectancy of over 25 years, we know that our solar power plants will not only help us generate clean, sustainable power, but will also do so in a way that will save Swiss Re millions of dollars in the coming decades.

    Sharing our experiences

    By 2020, we will source 100% of our power from renewable sources, while also ensuring that we use that power in the most productive way possible. We are also continually engaging with other companies to join us in the direct sourcing of green power and sharing our experiences and best practices through platforms like RE100 and EP100. On the asset management side we avoid investments in companies that generate 30% or more of their revenues from thermal coal mining.  In our re-/insurance business we have decided to limit our support for activities related to thermal coal utilities and thermal coal mining.

    We hope that, by 2020, even more companies will have committed to energy productivity and renewables. Why wouldn’t they? We know that our strategy benefits the bottom line, increases the resilience of our energy infrastructure and let’s our employees and customers know that we are committed to making the world a cleaner, greener place to live. Simply put, renewables and energy productivity innovation are reaching a point of normalcy that we can’t—and won’t—turn back from. 

  • Blog: How RE100 members are going beyond their own operations to engage suppliers on renewable power

    Following a call to action to companies by The Climate Group’s CEO Helen Clarkson earlier this year, the Head of RE100, Sam Kimmins, blogs on the release of new guidance for businesses looking to implement a renewable electricity program throughout their supply chain.

    Bold targets like 100% renewable energy are fast becoming the norm for many companies, with RE100 members at the leading edge through commitments to 100% renewable power.

    This week, we announced our 116th RE100 member. Together, these 116 companies represent over 154 TWh/yr of renewable electricity demand annually, which is more than enough to supply Poland, Malaysia, or New York State.

    To date, companies have mostly focused on addressing the carbon footprint of their own operations. But on reaching our 100-member milestone for RE100 in July this year, our CEO invited companies to “go one step further”.

    RE100 members are starting to look beyond the RE100 commitment, to also encourage the uptake of renewable electricity within Tier 1 of their supply chains. This makes sense for leading companies, who recognize that it is their responsibility to minimize the climate impacts of the goods and services supporting their businesses.

    Accelerating change

    It also makes sense for accelerating change in our global electricity system. According to CDP, indirect emissions from supply chains are typically four times greater than an organization’s direct operational emissions. Extending renewable electricity purchasing into the supply chain therefore has the potential to create a multiplier effect in demand and investment.

    The potential extends well beyond the simple arithmetic of additional demand. The supply chains of RE100 members stretch across the world, and represent TWh-scale electricity demand in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Laos, where direct demand from our members is low. Adoption of renewable electricity by supply chain companies in these regions can send a strong signal to markets and policymakers in countries where coal currently features strongly in national growth plans.

    By partnering with suppliers, companies can open opportunities for collaboration, aggregation of demand, increased purchasing power and knowledge sharing between different companies, sectors and parts of the supply chain. 

    By raising awareness of the positive aspects of supply chain action, it is possible to deliver tangible, meaningful results for the bottom line and the planet.

    Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

     Challenges and opportunities

    Whilst the opportunity is huge, this is a new discipline and the ‘rulebook’ is yet to be written. Supply chains are often complex and difficult to navigate – and the bigger the company, the more this tends to be the case. Encouraging and empowering the supply chain of a large company is not simply a case of dictating or flicking a switch.

    We have gathered the experiences and guidance of three leaders in our network – Apple, BT Group and IKEA Group – in a new RE100 report. We aim to show you the challenges that each of these face in rolling out renewable electricity across their supply chains, and how they are overcoming these challenges and demonstrating what is possible.

    “We are well on our way to hitting 100% renewable worldwide,” said Robert Williams, Head of Energy Supply, BT Group. “Going at this alone is not an option - the extensive knowledge and experience we’ve acquired is being used to help our partners and suppliers on their own carbon reduction journeys.” 

    These companies are engaging their supply chains in renewables because they know that it makes long-term business sense. The technology is available, unsubsidized costs are competitive in many parts of the world, and they are ready to invest at scale.

    And they’re not the only ones moving on this. In September, Mars, Inc. announced it will invest US$1 billion to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its supply chain including through renewable power. The majority of Mars’ emissions – approximately 65% – come from its supply chain, which includes about one million employees.

    And earlier this year, Walmart launched ‘Project Gigaton’, which asks suppliers to reduce GHG emissions by one gigaton – the equivalent of taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off US roads for a year. We are now seeing a growing number of Walmart suppliers switch to renewable power.

    If all of the companies in our RE100 network adopt a similarly strong approach, and influence others to do the same, we can create massive change closer to the speed commensurate with the challenge of delivering on the Paris Agreement and keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

    What next?

    Knowledge sharing between companies, and between companies and their suppliers, will help many to overcome shared challenges, reduce duplication of effort, and accelerate the pace of change. 

    Following a successful workshop with RE100 members at RE-Source in Brussels in October, we will be actively assisting this process over the coming months with our partners in CDP Supply Chain and REBA.

    In the meantime, whether you’re a Supply Chain Manager, Head of Energy Procurement, or CFO, there are things you can do to start engaging your suppliers. We invite businesses around the globe to read our RE100 report and digest the following top tips:

    RE100 top tips

    1. Build a comprehensive analysis of your supply chain electricity consumption and the renewable electricity potential for the major suppliers within it.

    2. Set ambitious and fact-based public targets for your supply chain.

    3. Ensure your organization is fully aligned behind ambitious targets, with support from key procurement decision makers.

    4. Be prepared to invest sufficient resources in supporting suppliers to move to renewables.

    5. Look for leaders in your supply chain to demonstrate what is possible.

    6. Pick the right incentives for suppliers.

    7. Build in the right kinds of support for your suppliers to be successful.

    8. Be prepared to innovate, and collaborate with other companies with ambitious supply chain targets to overcome shared barriers

    9. Learn from pioneer companies and look for collaboration opportunities.

    10. Report on progress and on challenges related to supply chain targets.

    In the words of Tim Cook, CEO, Apple, “We believe passionately in leaving the world better than we found it and hope that many other suppliers, partners and other companies join us in this important effort.”

  • Blog: Going 100% renewable - Wells Fargo reaches its RE100 goal, but isn't stopping there

    Just over a year since Wells Fargo joined RE100, the bank has reached its 100% renewable electricity goal and is now working to transition to new sources of renewable electricity by 2020. Here, Curt Radkin, Senior Vice President, blogs on progress and calls on others to follow its lead.

    Commitment phase I: mission accomplished

    Back in 2015, when we were developing our 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) priorities, we mapped out a handful of goals and commitments including the commitment to purchase renewable energy to power 100% of our global operations by 2017 through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), with a transition to long-term agreements that fund new sources of “greener” power by 2020.

    We knew it was an ambitious goal, and last year Wells Fargo joined RE100 in order to gain access to companies that are making the most progress in meeting similar goals and thought leaders who are driving the movement toward greater private-sector action on climate change.

    We are proud to announce that we have purchased enough RECs to ensure that 100% of our electricity needs will be met with renewable energy for 2017 (well over two million MWh of 2017 vintage RECs). 

    Now, the tough work begins. 

    Developing a strategy for phase II:

    While we worked to accomplish Phase I of our commitment, we were also strategizing around how we’d deliver on our ultimate goal - to directly fund new renewable electricity projects.  We are exploring a variety of options including expanding our onsite solar installations, and are even working to develop our first net-zero branch.

    We already have more than a dozen properties generating a portion of their own power with solar photovoltaics (PV), and we are exploring potentially expanding that footprint. In addition to helping us meet our renewables goal, they would provide a physical representation of our commitment for team members and customers.

    We also have significant expertise within the company to deploy in helping meet our commitment.  Our Environmental Financing organization is made up of experts in tax-equity financing and they have been involved in some of the largest renewables deals in the U.S. As a result of their great work, in 2016, more than 8% of all wind and solar-voltaic energy generated in the U.S. came from facilities owned wholly or in part by Wells Fargo.

    Walking the talk: living our commitment to sustainability

    Maximizing our operational efficiency is one way we “walk the talk” when it comes to sustainability.  It helps us to manage long-term expenses, reduce the environmental impact of our energy consumption, and enhance our team member experience. We are proud of our achievements to date. 

    Our goal to power 100% of our electricity demand with renewable energy is only one of the many ambitious 2020 environmental goals we are working toward, and we are well on our way to achieving all of them.  As of halfway through this fiscal year, we have achieved:

    • 30% waste reduction from 2010 baseline
    • 56% water use reduction from 2008 baseline
    • 42% greenhouse gas reduction from 2008 baseline
    • 34% energy use reduction from 2008 baseline
    • 24% of portfolio LEED certified (more than 24 million sq. ft.)

    We are always learning and continuously improving in the area of operational efficiency.  Since 2012, for example, smart irrigation technologies across our footprint helped to save well over one billion gallons of water, and in 2016, the more than 27,000 light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures we installed drove a two-million-watt reduction in energy need.

    The need to address climate change is urgent, and Wells Fargo is firmly committed to leveraging opportunities throughout our value chain to accelerate the transition to a healthier economy and reduce the impacts of climate change on our customers and communities. We look forward to continuing our work with RE100 and its member companies, and we invite institutions working on similar sustainability issues – particularly within the financial services sector – to collaborate with us and join us in our commitment, or simply learn from our experience and progress.

  • HSBC joins RE100 to go 100% renewable and commits $100bn to fight climate change

    HSBC, one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world, has joined the RE100 initiative and committed to 100% renewable power across its global operations by 2030.

    The UK-based bank becomes the 114th member of RE100, which is run by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, and brings together the world’s most influential businesses committed to using 100% renewable electricity.

    HSBC will also provide US$100 billion in sustainable financing and investment by 2025 after announcing five new climate commitments. The new commitments will also see the bank scale-up its support for renewable energy and low carbon technologies in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

    All in on renewables

    The bank is aiming to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, with an interim target of 90% by 2025, and by signing long-term agreements with suppliers, it will also support the development of new clean energy facilities.

    As part of the new commitments, the bank will stop financing for new coal-fired power plants in developed markets and of thermal coal mines globally. It will also adopt the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to improve transparency.

    Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said: "HSBC are demonstrating climate leadership by committing to 100% renewable electricity in their own operations, as well as re-orienting their investment decisions.

    “As well as being a good business investment, focusing entirely on long-term PPAs and measures that support the development of renewable electricity infrastructure means HSBC are actively bringing more renewable energy online."

    Working with others

    “Joining RE100 is an opportunity to actively collaborate with various players in the market," underlined Andy Maguire, Group Chief Operating Officer, HSBC Holdings plc.

    "We plan on working closely with RE100, other corporates, governments and regulators to open up renewable energy markets and support the decentralization of power generation across our operational centers. This will enable HSBC and other corporates to develop PPAs globally and support the transition to a low-carbon economy and 2-degree world.” 

    Welcoming HSBC to RE100, Sam Kimmins added, "Their leadership sends an important demand signal to less open markets that business wants to invest in renewables. Together with other RE100 members, they are helping to accelerate market change and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

    HSBC's announcement complements its long-term leadership role in sustainable finance. The bank has been a key player in developing voluntary standards for issuers of green bonds and social bonds, and issued its own 500 million euros green bond last year.

    To find out more, read our full interview with Andy Maguire here.

  • Newsletter: EU lobbying, knowledge sharing and what's happening at COP23

    RE100 welcomes new joiners

    Already sourcing 100% renewable electricity, the Danish wind turbine company, Vestas, has joined RE100 to help bring about a policy framework that will allow more renewables in the energy mix in future. Also joining us this month is one of Japan’s largest housebuilders, Sekisui House, a leading supplier of zero energy houses. The company has pledged to go 100% renewable by 2040, with an interim goal of 50% by 2030.

    Getting heard in Brussels

    As part of our ongoing work to influence EU energy policy, we chaired a breakfast meeting in Brussels to highlight the role of corporate sourcing of renewables in opening up markets. We brought together MEPs Blanco López, Sean Kelly and Claude Turmes, and Signe Vikær Leth Olsen, Permanent Representation of Denmark to the EU, as well as RE100 members Apple, IKEA Group, Google, H&M, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble. Later, The Climate Group’s Head of RE100 Sam Kimmins spoke alongside key stakeholders from the Commission and Parliament at a Euractiv panel hosted by Microsoft.

    At RE-Source 2017organised by Solar Power Europe and Wind Europe, we connected our members with renewable energy sellers. Joan MacNaughton, Chair of the Board, The Climate Group, championed the success of RE100. Click here to view the presentations using the password RESOURCE2017. We also held a RE100 peer-learning session for members, in which BT Group and IKEA shared experiences of engaging their suppliers on renewables – the focus of a forthcoming RE100 briefing.       

    Sharing the business case

    Our thanks go to DBS Bank, Mars, Inc. and IKEA for writing about the benefits of renewable power and urging others to act. IKEA highlighted its founding role in both RE100, and in EV100, The Climate Group’s corporate leadership campaign on electric transport.     

    RE100 knowledge sharing

    Abhav Pathak, Head of Sustainability, Tata Motors joined a RE100 webinar to share the company’s experiences of transitioning its Dharwad plant in India to renewable energy. 

    We also partnered with Gold Standard to show members how they can demonstrate that their renewable power purchases make a direct contribution to the clean energy transition by adding new renewable capacity to the grid. Tetra Pak and CDP were featured speakers. 

    Dates for your diaries

    November 6-17, 2017: UNFCCC COP 23, Bonn, Germany – The Climate Group is facilitating high level speaking slots for RE100 members on Energy Day (10 November) and Industry Day (12 November). In addition, following the aforementioned recent RE100 webinar with Gold Standard, CDP is running a side event at the IRENA Pavilion (14 November), to showcase the advantages of its new energy label.  

    November 9, 2017: Business Green Leaders Summit, London, UK – The Climate Group’s Corporate Partnership’s Director Mike Peirce will be moderating a roundtable workshop answering questions such as ‘Is 100% renewable energy a commercially viable option?’ and ‘How do you build a robust business case?’. 

    December 7, 2017 RE100-BRC webinar: the Dutch wind consortium – Four RE100 and BRC members, AkzoNobel, Royal DSM, Google and Royal Philips, have set up consortium in the Netherlands to jointly sign power purchase agreements with large wind projects. Speakers will share their story and tip for executing successful aggregation deals.

    And finally...

    Looking to hear more? Find out about The Climate Group’s other campaigns on energy productivity and electric transport, EP100 and EV100.

  • Vestas joins RE100, aims to influence policy and bring about market change

    Danish wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, has joined The Climate Group and CDP’s RE100 campaign, to help shape the global energy market in favour of renewable power.

    An established leader in the design, manufacture, installation and servicing of wind turbines around the world, Vestas has been sourcing 100% of its own electricity use from renewables since 2013 – meaning every Vestas wind turbine is built using 100% renewable power.

    As its electricity consumption grows in future, Vestas is committed to staying 100% renewable. Furthermore, the company will work in partnership with RE100 to help influence more ambitious renewable energy targets and a policy framework for Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that enables more renewables in the energy mix.

    “Vestas is already using 100% renewable electricity across its own operations to create wind power infrastructure,” says Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group. “Now the company is furthering that leadership by joining RE100, and calling for important policy changes that will enable more companies to plug into renewables too.”

    Business case for action

    “The private sector is increasingly committed to meeting the challenges of climate change through the use of renewable energy, and so is Vestas,” says Morten Dyrholm, Group Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Public Affairs, Vestas Wind Systems. “We pioneered the wind industry by building the first wind turbine, and four decades later we are manufacturing wind turbines that produce energy at a cost that is competitive with fossil fuels.”

    He continues, “RE100 underlines our joint efforts to make renewable energy an easy choice for companies, because it’s the right thing to do for the planet, and because it makes economic sense. We are delivering the sustainable energy solutions but we also want to be part of the solution, which this commitment underlines.  We hope this will inspire other companies in the sector.”

    Vestas has 85 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines across 75 companies, and has installed more wind turbines than any competitor. The company primarily sources renewable power for its own operations via PPAs or with Vestas-owned renewable power plants, such as its test turbines in Denmark.

    “Having Vestas-owned wind power plants has definitely helped us to reach the [100%] target more quickly than if all the renewable power was purchased,” says Morten Dyrholm. We still face challenges in sourcing renewable electricity in, for example, China and India. In these markets, we are working on local solutions.”

    Influencing policy

    Vestas makes the case that, markets, infrastructure and polices need to reflect the reality that renewable energy is as cheap or cheaper than fossil-fuels. Therefore the company is calling for national and global policy changes including:

    • accelerating the phase-out of coal power plants by putting a meaningful prce on carbon;
    • a redesign of power markets flexible enough to handle a large share of renewables;
    • transparent and long-term regulatory frameworks, including targets for renewable energy, interconnectors and grid build-out; and,
    • electrifiction of the heating, cooling and transport sector.

    Vestas is calling on EU policymakers to provide greater certainty around the regulatory framework for the energy sector. Specifically, the company is recommending:

    • a legally binding EU renewable energy target of at least 35% by 2030; translated into clear national benchmarks for Member States;
    • a European power market that rewards flexible electricity supply and demand;
    • no investment support for the most polluting power plants; and,
    • a robust governance framework for EU energy and climate goals.

    RE100 policy asks

    RE100 is also asking EU policymakers to further open up Europe’s energy markets. Corporate sourcing of renewables is an important means of bringing capital and finance into renewable electricity infrastructure, and while many RE100 members are successfully sourcing renewables in many European countries, policy changes could help many more companies achieve 100% renewable power.

    “What we need is a clear, transparent and fair electricity market with long-term stability, that enables companies to purchase or generate renewable electricity for all of their operations in Europe,” argues Sam Kimmins.

    RE100 is calling on Members in the European Parliament to support a specific amendment to the Renewable Energy Directive, because it makes provision for corporate buyers – an important new market that can drive rapid growth in renewable electricity investment.

    To hear more about Vestas’ approach to and ambitions on renewable power, read our interview with Morten Dyrholm.

  • Blog: Why IKEA is betting on solar, and how others can benefit from the clean energy revolution

    Clean energy solutions such as solar and storage can help to meet growing energy demands. As IKEA Group launches a home solar offer in Belgium, Alejandro (Alex) Castro Pérez, Head of Home Solar Business at IKEA Group, blogs on why the company is betting on solar as a business, and how others can also profit from the clean energy revolution. 

    Growth, electrification, connectivity and automation will keep global energy demand rising for the foreseeable future. Everything we do, everything we produce and consume requires energy. And everything that can go electric is going electric. Unfortunately, despite progress on renewables, the vast majority of electricity today is still generated by power plants that contaminate our environment. In fact power generation represents the largest source of carbon pollution globally, which is a major contributor to premature deaths and escalating climate change. The good news: decisive action to introduce clean energy solutions faster will result in greater profits and prosperity; especially for those taking the lead.

    Energy is one of the biggest challenges (and opportunities) of our time; sitting at the heart of sustainable growth & circularity

    At IKEA we have invested in the past years determined to reduce energy use and to produce as much clean energy as we consume in our operations. We are founding members of RE100 and EV100, both cross-industry initiatives aiming to accelerate corporate adoption around renewables and electric vehicles. However we know we can and should do more. In order to fulfill our vision to create a better everyday life for the many, and to reach our growth ambitions with positive impact, we need to push our boundaries to inspire and empower many others to join the clean energy revolution.

    Solar energy is a main enabler of this revolution. It is an unlimited, non-polluting resource that nowadays can be harnessed very effectively and reliably from anywhere, through photovoltaic (PV) systems. Solar PV (and complementary energy management solutions such as battery storage) is uniquely positioned to drive the transition to the clean, nimble and more democratic energy future we need. A gateway to "the enernet".

    "The enernet": a network with millions of homes, buildings and vehicles powered by affordable clean energy - producing, storing and sharing it smartly. 

    The potential of solar is evident in its growing popularity thanks to unbeatable cost, environmental and application flexibility advantages. Despite this rising popularity, its adoption rate is too slow. Most people are waiting for more affordable and simpler solutions from providers they can trust. There is a clear need to reduce complexity in communication, sales and installation processes, and get it done efficiently at scale. Here we know IKEA can make a difference, so we've created Home Solar; a new business area dedicated to help accelerate the transition towards affordable clean energy.

    With IKEA Home Solar we are putting our retail strengths, our knowledge of life at home and our trusted brand, in partnership with great clean energy companies, to deliver better solar energy solutions. We continue growing the business in existing and new markets; developing our offer with storage, finance and subscription services. In line with who we are, and being a leader in life at home, we aim at becoming the 1st global solar retailer, inspiring and empowering more people to take positive action for the sake of both their wallets and the environment. In the process we are building new knowledge and network to help us shape the future of life at home.

    A next step could be to use our expertise and partner network to help other companies (including our thousands of suppliers) to adopt solar and other clean energy solutions faster and cheaper. All this in turn will help us implement solutions to support the growth of our own operations even faster... the size of the opportunity when taking a total value chain approach is staggering; taking us from millions to billions (pick your preferred currency and pollution displacement unit). We know it will not be easy, but it will be worth it. The great advantage of keeping a sustainable business growth mind-set is that we can’t lose; we either win or we learn – on top of the satisfaction of being a positive force.

    Our choices define us. Anyone can contribute to accelerate the needed transition towards affordable clean energy. Governments, non-profits, businesses or individuals; we all have choices to make, roles to play and opportunities to find sustainable profitable growth through it. 

    Those acting decisively to deliver greater social, environmental and economic prosperity will no doubt see a better future... so let's get moving!
  • Blog: Mars's carbon footprint is the size of a small country. We need to act.

    Inspired by Climate Week NYC, Stephen Badger, Chairman of Mars, Inc. calls on companies to seize the opportunity to tackle climate change and reap the business benefits. 

    Global businesses are, quite rightly, under scrutiny for what they are doing to tackle challenges such as climate change and poverty. Last month, the United Nations asked business leaders the same questions we’ve heard countless times: What are businesses doing to help deliver on the Paris climate agreement? How can business and government work together to drive change at scale?

    One of the key characteristics of the Paris agreement is that it extends beyond governments to engage businesses. Corporations should seize this opportunity to have a seat at the table and do their part to address critical global challenges. In time, they will realize the returns on investment in a sustainable future.

    You have only to look at the carbon footprint of my own company, Mars Inc., to see the effect business has on the world: Our footprint is equivalent to that of a country roughly the size of Panama. With this scale comes responsibility. Mars, and companies like ours, must be as engaged as governments in delivering reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.

    That’s why I attended Climate Week NYC and U.N. General Assembly events in New York in September, and talked there with leaders in business, government and nongovernmental organizations.

    Stephen Badger joins Governors Jerry Brown (California), Jay Inslee (Washington) and David Ige (Hawaii), as well as Philippe Couillard, Premier, Quebec, and Norm Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute, on Climate Week NYC's opening panel on the importance of multiple climate commitments across states, cities and businesses.

    As a private, family-owned business, we’ve not traditionally had a high-profile presence at such events. But if there were ever a time in Mars’s more-than-100-year history for us to find our voice and join the chorus calling for action, this is it.

    Without a doubt, our society has done some excellent work to address climate change in recent years. But after a week of engaging with global experts in a range of disciplines, it’s clear that this incremental progress will not put us on a trajectory to deliver the Paris agreement or the United Nations’ sustainable- development goals. Now is the time for industry to transform how we look at our role in creating a more sustainable world. This is why Mars has launched our new Sustainable in a Generation Plan to invest $1 billion over the next few years to tackle urgent threats facing society.

    The business case for action

    In New York, people often asked me if there really is a sound business case for tackling issues such as climate change and poverty. The answer is an unqualified yes.

    First, investment in operating sustainably delivers cost savings. Mars is already capitalizing on the falling prices of renewable energy and the long-term cost savings of clean technology. This has helped to reduce the carbon emissions of our 150 factories around the world by 25 percent. We are already using enough renewable energy to make all our M&M’s. In fact, we now purchase enough renewable energy to fuel our entire operations in five countries and plan to make that 11 countries in 2018. All of this is delivered at the same cost, or lower, as fossil fuel.

    Second, for a company such as Mars that is dependent on agriculture, our investments are creating a more resilient and resource-efficient supply chain where smallholder farmers and others can thrive. By working with our suppliers to source raw materials in a way that lowers climate risk and creates opportunity for people, we can increase crop yields and ensure affordable ingredient supplies, reduce our impact on natural resources and ensure a generation of future farmers.

    Finally, there are rewards for doing the right thing. It makes us a more attractive partner to customers, governments and NGOs, and it ensures our relevance to consumers as well as current and future Mars associates. If we are to remain relevant for the next 100 years, we must drive an agenda that is forward-looking and focused, demonstrating what we stand for through our actions as a business.

    Time to act 

    This is a call to action for all in business to double down in support of the Paris agreement and the sustainable- development goals. Business not only has a seat at the table; it has a vested interest in collaborating with everyone at the table. So let’s grab this opportunity with both hands.

    This piece was first published in The Washington Post. 

  • Blog: Business leaders can't afford to be behind the curve - DBS Bank on the climate leadership challenge

    DBS Bank Ltd joined RE100 in the build up to Climate Week NYC 2017 with an interim goal of transferring its Singapore operations to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Here, Mike Power, Chief Operating Officer for Technology and Operations, DBS Bank, blogs on the case for corporate leadership.

    While President Trump was addressing the United Nations General Assembly (forever defiling the way I think about Elton John’s classic song “Rocket Man”!) I was across town participating as a panel speaker at Climate Week NYC. The event brought together government leaders and business people in a unique summit dedicated to real action on climate change. At one stage there was palpable excitement in the room when a delegate announced he had it on ‘good authority’ that Mr. Trump had called in his advisors to help him engineer an unlikely U-turn on his decision to withdraw the world’s largest economy from the Paris Agreement.

    Truth or fake news? Who can tell, but guess what… it’s irrelevant. He can ‘tilt at windmills’ all he likes, but the windmills (and the solar panels and electric vehicles!) are unstoppable. Climate Week NYC reinforced my view that these technologies are winning. It was a fantastic event. I returned to Singapore with a wealth of ideas, new contacts and a few new challenges.

    I’m very proud that DBS is playing a leading role in sustainability and is the first bank in Asia to sign up for the RE100 commitment on renewable energy. As a first step, we will target powering 100% of our operations in Singapore using renewable energy by 2030. We plan to do this by installing rooftop solar panels at our premises at Changi Business Park in Singapore, by exploring corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) and by procuring renewable energy certificates (RECs) from local solar energy providers.

    We also plan to work with the RE100 Technical Advisory Group as well as learn from other RE100 members to draw up similar renewable energy roadmaps for our other core Asian markets.

    But let me take a step back and tell you why we signed up for RE100 and why I think your company should too.

    It's more than the 'right thing to do'; it's the necessary thing to do

    It’s not just that climate change is a business continuity issue and that climate action is the right thing to do. Its impact is felt by everyone. Perhaps the most vivid example occurred while I was in New York. Hurricanes Irma and Jose were tearing their way through the Caribbean and heading up the coast towards New York City. These weather events have real physical and material impact – they destroy lives and livelihoods, and cause major economic damage. It’s no longer debatable, these events are caused by climate change.

    It’s also an issue that we need to act upon urgently. Failure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contain global temperature increase within 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century would be utterly catastrophic. Submergence of low lying islands and coastal cities, the displacement of millions of livelihoods and possibly many more casualties arising from unpredictable and highly disruptive climatic phenomena are just some of the inevitable consequences of not taking the necessary action now.  

    The Climate Group shares that 50% of carbon emissions come from private companies alone and therefore, I believe, that businesses must play a more significant role in climate action.

    The business case: beyond dollars and cents, think relevance

    The cost of renewable energy has dropped dramatically over the last 30 years. The World Economic Forum reports that the price of solar is already on par with fossil equivalents in many markets and will soon be cheaper.

    The case for businesses to adopt renewable energy at scale is clear and becoming more compelling all the time.

    A global energy revolution is already underway and banks can play a key role in the transition to clean energy. There are several ways to do this across the value chain – creating additional demand, driving greater efficiencies and financing on the supply side. New energy technologies are also spurring a wave of innovation and growth opportunities – smart grid, energy management, storage, trading etc.

    Perhaps just as compelling is the trend of more and more consumers demanding sustainable choices. A survey by Unilever showed a third of consumers are now choosing to buy brands based on their social or environmental impact.

    Companies need to “get with the program now” or risk losing relevance to their customers.

    The case for leadership

    We hear a lot about disruption, in banking and in other sectors, often in the context of the digital revolution and the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Alibaba and Amazon. The digital revolution is obviously changing the fabric of our lives and how we do business. As an industry and as a bank it’s something we must win at to be relevant today and in the future.

    I think we need to look at the energy revolution through a similar lens. It too will be life changing and perhaps on an even more fundamental level. It’s something we haven’t thought about enough though I suspect this is beginning to change. Firms need to rethink their purpose (and perhaps repurpose their thinking) and embrace the revolution. And for leaders, I believe, this means…

    Humility – Accept that what got you here isn’t going to get you there. Challenge your own assumptions and experience.

    Vision – Think longer-term and understand the implications on your business, your customers and the communities you operate in – not just in the next quarter but in the next decade and thereafter.

    Courage – Chart a new course even if that means relentlessly challenging existing business models. Expect plenty of pushback!

    Execution – Make sustainability and the energy transition a core part of your strategy, and start executing on it right away.

    Business leaders can’t afford to be behind the curve. That’s why, as a first step, you should consider signing up for RE100, make a commitment to make your business powered by 100% renewable energy and then figure out how to get it done. It’s a great marker to put down to mobilize your organization in the right direction and it will make a real and necessary difference.

  • Newsletter: Climate Week NYC, developing markets, and RE-Source 2017

    Leading businesses speed energy transition at Climate Week NYC 

    Nine new RE100 members were announced at Climate Week NYC 2017, including multinationals The Estee Lauder Companies, DBS Bank, Kellogg Company and JP Morgan Chase & Co.. Media highlights included pieces in Bloomberg, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)CNBC, The Independent, and IB Times.

    Sharing the business case for going 100% renewable

    Speakers at the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC included RE100 members Bank of America and Mars, Inc. (sponsors), Carlsberg Group and Walmart. Stephen Badger, Chairman of the Board, Mars, said there was a business rationale to invest in sustainability in supply chains; Mars recently pledged $1bn for its new ‘Sustainable in a Generation Plan’ and also launched its ‘Fans of Wind’ campaign to engage consumers. Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman of the Board, Carlsberg Group, meanwhile spoke on working with other corporate and university partners to ensure open innovation,

    Scale and speed of change

    ‘VELOCITY – Accelerating Climate Action’ saw the launch of The Climate Group’s new EV100 initiative on electric mobility, with RE100 members IKEA Group, HP Inc, and Unilever among the first global companies to join. Speakers also talked about the business case for joining RE100. Diane Holdorf of Kellogg said consumers expect global brands to act responsibly, highlighting the company's recent work with utilities; Mike Power from DBS Bank highlighted the fall in costs of renewable energy technology. 

    Meanwhile, RE100 members including AB InBev and Goldman Sachs gave updates on their renewables progress. David Tulauskas, General Motors, underlined the expectations of consumers and employees, and said GM would power its Ohio and Indiana plants entirely with wind energy. H&M spoke of also being a member of The Climate Group's energy productivity campaign, EP100, and Philips Lighting urged businesses to ready themselves for rapidly advancing smart technology like connected LED lighting.        

    RE100 members Dalmia Cement, DBS Bank, H&M, IKEA Group, Infosys, and Swiss Re shared their experiences of going 100% renewable in India, at a high-level RE100 roundtable. Mahendra Singhi, Group CEO and Whole Time Director, Dalmia Bharat Ltd., said social responsibility and carbon pricing were key factors in persuading the Board to invest in renewable energy. Read a recent blog from Infosys about its decision to lead on corporate sourcing of renewables in India.   

    Bringing renewables to Southeast US

    More than 80 people attended a joint RE100-Business Renewables Center (BRC) webinar on bringing renewables to the Southeast US – featuring Kenneth Davies (Microsoft). The Southeast region of the US is where 40% of US electricity production but only 5% of corporate renewable deals takes place, but a new inter-state transmission line will open up procurement options in the region. 

    Maximising uptake in Europe

    With the current update to the European Union’s energy policy framework set to impact the European energy market for years to come, Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100 at The Climate Group, recently blogged on an important change needed to the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) to maximize corporate uptake of renewables in Europe.

    Dates for your diaries

    October 5, 2017: RE100 Technical webinar – Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science Based Targets and Renewable Energy Procurement at CDP, Owen Hewlett, Chief Technical Officer at Gold Standard and Oliver Edberg, renewable energy specialist at Tetra Pak, will present on the new Gold Standard label for renewable energy market instruments. 

    October 10 - 11, 2017: RE-Source 2017 and RE100 peer learning event, Brussels, BelgiumRE-Source 2017 will discuss scaling up renewables in Europe. There will be a bespoke RE100 peer-learning session on October 10, featuring discussions led by Apple, BT Group, IKEA, CDP and The Climate Group. 

    November 6-17, 2017: UNFCCC COP 23, Bonn, Germany – The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be organized by Fiji and hosted at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat. RE100 will be taking part.

    November 9, 2017: Business Green Leaders Summit, London, UK – The Climate Group will be moderating a roundtable workshop answering questions such as ‘Is 100% renewable energy a commercially viable option?’ and ‘How do you build a robust business case?’. Click here for more information.  

    November, 2017 (date tbc): RE100-BRC webinar on the Dutch wind consortium – Four RE100 and BRC members, AkzoNobel, Royal DSM, Google and Royal Philips, have set up a consortium in the Netherlands to jointly sign PPAs with large wind projects. Speakers will share their stories and tips for executing successful aggregation deals.