Corbion is the global market leader in lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives, and a leader in functional blends containing enzymes, emulsifiers, minerals, and vitamins. Already sourcing 20% of its electricity from renewable energy, the company has set an interim goal of reaching 50% by 2020.
To begin its journey to this interim goal, Corbion has recently installed 462 solar panels across two separate buildings at its Gorinchem warehouse in the Netherlands. The installation will generate enough renewable electricity to power 25 homes and save 61kg in CO2 emissions annually – the equivalent to driving a car around the world eight times.
“I congratulate Corbion on putting words into action, with the installation of solar PV,” said The Climate Group’s Head of RE100, Sam Kimmins.
“Solar PV investments can pay back in just a few years, which means that in addition to reducing the company’s carbon emissions, they can lead to long term financial savings. Renewables make business sense and are fast becoming the norm for forward-thinking companies.”
Diana Visser, Sustainability Director, Corbion, said, “We believe in a transition from a linear to a circular economy, where resources are continuously recycled and reused. Of course a circular economy needs to be powered by renewable energy and this is why we have started our journey and also why we have joined RE100.”
She continued, “RE100 is a great initiative, it’s a platform to show different companies that are committed to renewable electricity, to show that there is demand for renewable electricity, and in this way we can accelerate the transition.”
Corbion’s announcement follows the news that RE100 recently reached its 100 members milestone, with companies from a wide range of sectors and operations around the world creating around 146 terawatt-hours (TWh) in demand for renewable electricity annually – about as much as it takes to power Poland or New York State.
Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group said “Renewables are now a more affordable option for business. They also offer greater control over energy costs and hedge against rising prices of fossil fuels. All of this increases competitiveness while delivering on sustainability goals and cutting carbon emissions.”
“The more companies that make the switch the faster we will move to a strong, low carbon economy supporting millions of jobs.”
To find out more about the members of RE100, click here.
As RE100 reaches a milestone of 100 member companies, Arvind Bodhankar, CSO, Tata Motors, reflects on why it makes sense to transition to 100% renewable electricity and future proof business operations.
At a time when the onus lies equally on companies and governments to demonstrate climate action, manufacturers, including car manufacturers, are very keen on moving towards renewable energy. This is not only necessary, given the need for collective efforts to address climate change, but also makes good business sense.
Going 100% renewable implies establishing reliable sources for procuring renewable energy, setting up solar and wind energy farms at manufacturing plants, and consciously moving away from fossil fuels.
Looking at the policy measures in India that can support this intent, open access regulations need to be consistent across states. Even in states with open access, the rules can effectively be unviable.
There also seems to be a lack of clarity on transmission and wheeling charges, taxes in different states and on expected trends. There are challenges around power banking and net metering is capped at 1 megawatt (MW) which is discouraging to large on-site projects. This makes it harder for companies in India to self-generate renewable energy. Looking at government’s commitment, I am confident that it will ease out in coming days.
On the other hand, there is much to be gained by engaging in long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), as power becomes more affordable due to falling tariffs while the cost of grid electricity rises.
On joining RE100, Tata Motors had already advanced several steps down the path to renewables, enabling us to source around 8% of our electricity from renewable sources in Financial Year (FY) 2015-16 and adding about 8.25 % in 16-17. We currently procure or generate around 4,818 MWh of renewable power.
Presently, our renewable electricity consumption stands at 16.25%. Our progress comes from both on-site and off-site approaches, but mostly from renewable electricity sourced from the grid, as space will always be a constraint for renewable energy installations on-site.
In addition to increasing our own green power capacity, Tata Motors is working with vendors and suppliers to increase their uptake of renewables. In FY 2016-17, we influenced our suppliers by conducting awareness sessions on sustainability, and collecting baseline sustainability data and on-site assessments from more than 50 suppliers. We are encouraging our suppliers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by motivating them to increase their operational efficiency and transitioning to renewable power. Following this, some of our suppliers like Shriram Foundries have already converted their major operations to renewables.
Ever since we committed to RE100, many organizations have reached out to us to seek guidance on kick-starting their renewable journey. We have presented our case study at RE100 webinars with other member companies and have also spoken about our commitment to renewable energy and RE100 at various events. I have personally spoken at various industry forums and have been actively participating in corporate PPA forum.
Photo credit: Tata Motors
Why it makes business sense
Basic business value propositions for companies to go renewable include hedging against the risk of higher costs through the conventional energy market, establishing leadership in corporate delivery of the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and reaping related reputational benefits for the brand at large.
For Tata Motors, the case for 100% renewable electricity is aligned with our sustainability objectives and our efforts to be ‘Future Ready’. But in addition to helping to mitigate climate change, procuring electricity from renewables is turning out to be extremely beneficial for our business.
Going 100% renewable is a huge task for a heavy industry operating in less developed markets, but initiatives like RE100 are sending a clear signal in the market that corporates are moving to renewable energy. There are substantial rewards and RE100 is helping us to identify and overcome challenges to achieve our 100% renewable electricity goal.
Our efforts in this space will intensify in the months and years to come as we work towards our goal of using 100% renewable electricity. We plan to reduce the environmental impact of our manufacturing operations, and generate awareness among our stakeholders. We also strive to develop cleaner and more efficient vehicles as we move towards a sustainable future.
As 100 leading businesses transition to 100% renewable power through RE100, The Climate Group’s Sam Kimmins reflects on the growing corporate movement for renewable energy and its impact on the global economy.
When one global company stands up and declares an interest in renewable electricity, people take note. When 100 global companies stand up and declare their commitment to 100% renewable electricity, we create a tsunami of change.
This is an important milestone. When The Climate Group launched RE100 in 2014, many businesses considered 100% renewable electricity to be an impossible stretch goal, largely due to the additional cost and a lack of options in developing markets. But 13 leading companies including IKEA Group, Swiss RE, BT and Mars were prepared to put their heads above the parapet.
Three years later, more than half of our 100 members are going 100% renewable by or before 2020 – and several have already made it. Leading companies are recognizing that affordable options are increasingly available, and that future success means embracing renewables – sooner rather than later. RE100 has succeeded in changing the conversation around business and renewable energy, and what was deemed impossible is quickly becoming the norm.
Our members now represent 146 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year of renewable electricity demand – the equivalent of the electricity required to power Poland or New York State. That’s a long way from where we were in 2014, with 13 companies representing 19 TWh. And with members operating around the world, from Europe and North America to Asia, South America and Africa, RE100 is at the forefront of a truly global movement.
So – how important is this in terms of addressing climate change? Are we about to reach a ‘tipping point’, whereby a transition to a renewable electricity system becomes unstoppable, and the end of fossil fueled power becomes a medium-term certainty?
For the first time in my career, it’s very encouraging to realize we’re actually ‘winning’ on a global scale. Back in the year 2000, I was a consultant working on B&Q’s first solar store in Sutton in Ashfield, UK, featuring almost 200m² of roof mounted solar – generating just under 8 kilowatt peak. At that time, the total global solar power capacity installed was around 4 gigawatts (GW). According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) 2002 outlook, renewables were only supposed to “make a small dent” in global energy capacity – around 4.4% by 2030.
The technology is certainly ready, and rapidly falling costs are proving to be a game changer. The World Economic Forum reports that solar and wind generation is now the same cost or cheaper than new gas and coal in 30 countries worldwide. Power Purchase Agreement prices for solar power have fallen by about 75% over the last seven years, meaning they are now around $50/megawatt-hours (MWh) per year in the US, and close to $30/MWh in many other areas of the world. It’s making renewables a more affordable option for business.
Battery production is also stepping up to the plate to deliver storage to cover intermittent demand, and smart technologies are enabling both demand and supply side load management.
So maybe we have already hit that elusive tipping point. How will we know? Gigawatts of new renewable installations have exceeded new fossil fuel installations every year since 2012. It’s likely that the fossil fuel power industry has already hit its ‘Kodak Moment’, after which its decline and replacement by new technology becomes an inevitability.
But a 200-year-old fossil fuel habit can be hard to shake off, even when it makes great business sense.
Outdated policy and market structures, designed for old centralized power systems, must be updated to enable the flow of capital from companies and others wishing to buy renewable electricity – whether it be in Europe, China or South Australia.
Awareness of the new opportunities presented by renewables is lower than it could be even in the corporate world, and we need to supercharge the often-glacial pace of energy policy review before government programs lock much of Asia and Africa into long-term investments in expensive and polluting legacy technologies.
With RE100, we are determined to accelerate change at a global scale. Through collective corporate demand for renewable electricity, and the huge investment this represents, RE100 companies represent an unavoidable force for action – a call for governments, utilities and other solution providers to create electricity markets fit for a low carbon economy.
At EU level, progressive policymakers have found unexpected allies in our membership. Google and IKEA have led calls for ambitious targets and plans enabling long-term investment in renewables, as part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package. We look forward to helping our members promote a progressive, modern Package once parliament reconvenes in September.
But the fact is, to keep warming well under two degrees Celsius, we need to pick up the pace. That’s why The Climate Group is calling on leading companies to influence their peers and suppliers to switch to 100% renewable electricity too, so that we may move faster to a strong, low carbon economy supporting millions of jobs.
Some of our members, such as Apple and H&M, are already doing this. Already 96% renewable in its own operations, Apple has now secured commitments from eight of its suppliers to produce all of their Apple products using 100% renewable electricity.
Business action spurs business action. We have ambitious plans for growing both our membership and our influence over the next three years – we’d welcome you to join us.
AkzoNobel becomes the second biggest electricity user to join RE100 after Walmart, consuming around 16 TWh annually. The Dutch paints and coatings company aims to be carbon neutral and use 100% renewable energy – heat as well as electricity – by 2050.
French insurance company AXA is targeting 100% renewable electricity by 2025. Operating in more than 60 countries with diverse energy markets, AXA intends to achieve this target by using a mix of approaches, notably buying electricity directly from providers and compensating for non-renewable electricity.
Global luxury fashion brand Burberry is aiming to procure 100% of electricity from renewable resources to power its whole business by 2022.
Reflecting on the growth of RE100 since it launched in 2014, Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, said: “We are really pleased at the success of our campaign; by championing the compelling case for business action, we have reached 100 members three years earlier than expected. Changes in the market such as the falling cost of renewables have also worked in our favor.
“We are increasingly seeing large multinationals such as Google, IKEA and Dalmia Cement demonstrating real leadership on renewables because it makes business sense – as well as helping to lower emissions, providing stable energy costs and increasing competitiveness.
“We are now calling on companies to go one step further, and inspire their suppliers and peers to follow their lead so that together, we can speed the transition from fossil fuels to renewables to keep warming well under two degrees Celsius.”
Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, CDP, said: “Transitioning to 100% renewable electricity through RE100 shows true leadership in our new sustainable economy. It’s hugely encouraging that so many members are reporting clear progress, and fast. Following the vital steps of disclosure and insight on climate change activities, action is key to ensuring we move the global energy system to a tipping point by 2020.”
Cees 't Hart, Chief Executive Officer, Carlsberg Group, which recently announced it would target zero carbon emissions at its breweries by 2030, said: “Business leadership is key to addressing climate change, so we must all step up and take bold collective action. Through RE100, we are joining forces with other like-minded companies, which are also leading the change towards a low carbon future. Switching to 100% renewable electricity offers a holistic business case with financial, social and environmental benefits. Hopefully together, we can inspire others to step up and do the same.”
Leanne Wood, Chief People, Strategy & Corporate Affairs Officer, Burberry, said: “Procuring 100% of our energy from renewable resources by 2022 is a principal goal of Burberry’s five-year Responsibility agenda. We are proud that over half of our offices, stores, warehouses and internal manufacturing sites globally are powered by either on site renewable resources or through renewable tariffs. However, access to renewable resources is still limited in some places. By joining RE100 we aim to drive wider demand for low carbon power and encourage all providers to introduce renewable energy options.”
André Veneman, Corporate Director of Sustainability, AkzoNobel, a company which firmly believes that sustainability is business and business is sustainability, said: “We have put considerable effort into learning how to source renewable energy in a cost competitive way and the opportunities for our business are huge. We’re convinced that embracing renewable energy is an excellent way to create both short- and long-term value that will enable a true business transition. We’re delighted to be joining RE100 because it’s all about working with our suppliers, our customers and other leading companies to help make this change happen all over the world.”
Alice Steenland, Group Head of Corporate Responsibility, AXA, said:“In 2015, the portion of renewable electricity consumed by AXA was 36%, and this increased to 53% in 2016. Our target is to have 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025. When large corporations like AXA switch to renewables, we are collectively creating significant new demand but also more broadly helping to accelerate the global transition to green energy. RE100 represents another opportunity to combine efforts to better tackle this important global issue.”
Pia Heidenmark Cook, Acting Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group, added: “IKEA Group was a founding member of RE100. We wanted to lead by example, and support a movement towards a low carbon economy. We are excited that so many companies have joined – it simply shows renewables are the right thing to do for the business.”
Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “Congratulations to all the companies, and all the individuals within those companies, who have joined the journey to a low carbon, resilient and dynamic future.
“This would not be happening without leadership—and not just at the level of the CEO or a company board. It has been a huge collective effort of people at all levels from those responsible for the business energy needs or the running of manufacturing facilities to those managing retail outlets or working in finance and purchasing,” she said.
“Moreover this ‘100 moment’ is part of an alliance of inspiring actions flourishing across the globe by corporations but also cities, regions, states, territories, investors and citizens—actions supporting and empowering governments to go further and faster with the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” added Ms Espinosa.
Dominic Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum said “Reaching the milestone of 100 companies that have committed to 100% renewables and joined RE100 shows the potential for business to lead, and collectively shift markets to a more sustainable future. This is hugely important in the race to implement the Paris Agreement in the most efficient and prosperous way possible.”
For more information about the members of RE100 and their commitments for transitioning to 100% renewable electricity, click here.
Philips Lighting has announced it is purchasing renewable electricity in the Gulf – taking the company a step closer to its goal of sourcing entirely renewable electricity across its global operations.
Philips Lighting is a member of RE100 - The Climate Group's leadership initiative now uniting 96 influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power, delivered in partnership with CDP. Philips Lighting aims to make the transition by 2020, helping to deliver on its wider goal of being carbon neutral by the same year.
In collaboration with ECOHZ, the leader in energy efficient lighting will source traceable renewable electricity from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA’s) Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, in Dubai, using the pioneering International REC Standard (I-REC).
The I-REC Standard is a system for documenting renewable energy consumption in regions where no similar scheme exists. It is available in a growing number of countries and meets the RE100 criteria.
Philips Lighting is the first major international company to secure its renewable energy consumption in the Gulf region in this way. The renewable energy certificates will be issued by the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (Dubai Carbon).
Nicola Kimm, Head of Sustainability, Environment, Health & Safety, Philips Lighting, said: “To keep our planet on course with the Paris Agreement to mitigate climate change, we must fully switch to renewable sources of electricity. “Partnering with ECOHZ enables us to keep to our part in this fiduciary duty.”
The business case
But transitioning to 100% renewable electricity isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also good for business – with benefits ranging from increased competitiveness and innovation, to stable costs and financial savings.
Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said: “Going 100% renewable makes business sense, and solutions are possible – wherever operations are based.
“It is inspiring to see Philips Lighting working to source renewables in an oil dominated market. Together, RE100 members are creating change, and accelerating progress to a low carbon economy.”
Driving the transition
According to ECOHZ, currently only 1% of electricity in the Gulf region is generated from renewable sources, and with great interest in renewable energy from multinationals operating in the region, this is not enough.
“Philips Lighting is taking a bold first mover step and is a great example of how corporate action can show this demand for traceable, credible renewable electricity,” said Tom Lindberg, Managing Director at ECOHZ.
Pedro Faria, Technical Director, CDP, added: “We urge other international companies in the region to follow suit by procuring and reporting renewable energy in 2017. We can all help the transition to a low carbon economy.”
To find out more about Philips Lighting’s journey to 100% renewable power, read our interview with Nicola Kimm, Head of Sustainability, Environment, Health & Safety.
RE100 commitments reaffirmed US President Trump may be pulling back from the Paris Agreement, but this will not slow the momentum of businesses committed to renewable energy, according to a blog by Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group. RE100 members have joined the We Are Still In campaign and are helping to develop markets for renewable energy. “Our experience shows us that these investments and innovations are good for our planet, our company, our customers and the economy,” said Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft.
RE100 webinar: European market insights We held a webinar for members on recent policy developments at the EU level, with guest speaker Jared Braslawsky, Secretary-General of RECS International.
June 16, 2017: RE100 markets and policy webinar; India – Deepak Krishnan, Manager, Energy Program, World Resources Institute (WRI) India, will provide an overview of solar net metering policy in leading Indian states. Invitations have been sent to members of RE100.
July 20, 2017: RE100 markets and policy webinar; Japan –Kae Takase, Project Manager, CDP Japan will give an overview on Japan’s renewable electricity market and new J-Credit scheme, through which the Government certifies as credits the amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduced through renewable energy. Invitations to follow to members of RE100 and selected contacts in Japan.
September 18-24, 2017: Climate Week NYC, US – The Climate Group’s annual flagship event will gather business and government leaders to demonstrate how continued investment in clean energy can drive innovation, jobs and prosperity.
Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Day, an official side event of the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8) in Beijing, saw RE100 join forces with leading companies, governments and international partners, to highlight the progress of the private sector in growing China’s renewable energy market and accelerating a low carbon economy.
The event comes as global energy policy network REN21 published a new report showing record renewable energy capacity in 2016 installed at lower cost, thanks to the falling prices of solar and wind power.
Going 100% renewable
“The business case for switching to renewables is stronger than ever,” said Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, who introduced the morning’s discussions.
“Over the last year we’ve seen more and more companies join RE100 and commit to the highest level of leadership on renewable power – it’s affordable and reliable, and makes sense financially.”
RE100’s 96 members are now collectively creating demand for around 128TWh of renewable electricity annually –around the same amount of energy needed to power Argentina. Many of these leading companies aim to reach 100% renewable electricity before 2024 – and several have already got there.
Photo: Moderator Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, IRENA talks with Griffin Thompson, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, US Department of State; Robert Andrén, Director-General Energy, Swedish Ministry of Environment and Energy; Li Junfeng, Former Director, China's National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation; Katie Hill, Head of Global Supplier Clean Energy Program, Apple; Marsden Hanna, Lead Global Energy Policy and Markets, Google and Pascal Brun, Global Production Sustainability Manager, H&M.
Speaking at the event, Marsden Hanna, Lead Global Energy Policy and Markets, Google, said the internet giant was on track to reach 100% renewable electricity by the end of this year. The company is using a combination of Power Purchase Agreements and installed solar photovoltaics.
Katie Hill, Head of Global Supplier Clean Energy Program, Apple – now 96% renewable – explained that 70% of Apple's carbon impact lies in its supply chain, so it makes sense to help its suppliers to transition to 100% renewable electricity.
As Hill spoke, Apple announced the biggest clean energy commitment seen yet from its suppliers; US manufacturer Jabil Circuit Inc., which has facilities located in China. Jabil uses around 1 billion megawatt-hours of electricity per year, and will convert this to renewables by the end of 2018.
“We see real momentum here,” Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Apple, told Chinese news website Xinhua. “Jabil has already achieved 67% renewable energy for its Apple production, so the work they are doing now is really advancing the green transition in China.”
Hanna and Hill were joined on stage by Pascal Brun, Global Production Sustainability Manager, H&M, which is already sourcing more than 90% of its electricity from renewables and also encouraging its suppliers to make the switch. The popular fashion retailer aims to be climate positive in its supply chain by 2030.
Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs, Philips Lighting also shared their progress to date.
Growing the market in China
In the morning’s discussions, Li Junfeng, Former Director, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, China, championed The Climate Group’s role in bringing corporate sourcing of renewables to China through RE100.
He said that RE100 had facilitated important introductions to Apple and other companies operating locally, helping the development of a new renewable electricity certification system due to be introduced in China next month – which will be voluntary until 2018.
Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, echoed Apple’s comments that by increasing the use of renewables along their supply chains, RE100 members were helping to develop the renewable energy market in China, and sending a powerful market signal that demand is on the up.
Kimmins also highlighted the role of governments in enabling companies to go renewable, referencing a recent survey by The Climate Group on behalf of Energy Foundation and the ‘Green Electricity Action Plan’, showing that 70% of businesses in China would increase their renewable electricity targets if there were favorable market and policy conditions.
“China has already become a powerhouse for renewable energy investments,” Kimmins said. “The right policy measures and business models will further drive innovation and bring down costs. The next step must be to increase transparency and knowledge sharing around solutions – that’s where RE100 comes in.”
Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Day was brought together by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in collaboration with Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), RE100, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Resources Institute (WRI), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It was held as part of the Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM’s) Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign, a government-led effort to increase corporate uptake of renewable energy globally, partnered by Facebook and Microsoft.
For the full findings of The Climate Group’s survey of businesses in China, please contact info@RE100.org.
Following President Trump’s announcement that the US will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, some of the world’s biggest businesses have reaffirmed their commitment to climate action and renewable energy. Here, Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, blogs on an unstoppable movement in the private sector.
The interesting thing about Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will be its lack of real impact on businesses in the US and globally. Let’s be clear, significant action on climate change is happening around the world, it’s gaining momentum, and it’s increasingly driven by the market.
Unsubsidized renewable energy has become the cheapest energy source in many parts of the world. The cost of solar power fell 85% in the last seven years. Offshore wind costs fell 28% in just one year. In the US, the renewable energy sector employed around 777,000 people in 2016 - with the solar industry adding workers almost 17 times as fast as the overall economy. The irrepressible growth of the electric vehicles market will make fuel efficiency standards irrelevant within a few short years.
The clean revolution
In any revolution, there are winners and losers and the clean energy revolution is no different. Donald Trump’s announcement will have two outcomes – firstly, it will enable China, India and Europe to take the lead in the new clean energy economy. Secondly, those who don't embrace this opportunity will be left behind.
Pumping billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money into propping up sunset-industries will not change these economic facts – it will just make it more likely that the wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars that flood into America’s markets are produced in the countries that see the advantages of being leaders.
What is there NOT to like about a global agreement that drives innovation, creates business opportunities, and accelerates progress?
The 96 pioneering member companies of RE100 agree. Now representing around 128TWh/yr demand for renewable electricity (that’s around the amount of electricity needed to power Argentina), our members have committed to sourcing 100% of their electricity from renewables. Why? This isn’t a CSR exercise – the Chief Finance Officers of global giants such as General Motors, Microsoft, and Dalmia Cement don’t sign off multi-billion dollar investments unless they make clear business sense.
RE100 is a group of smart businesses who see the opportunity that climate action presents - to secure reliable, low cost energy to drive their businesses forward. Being bold with a 100% target leaves no room for doubt for their employees, shareholders and customers – success lies in bold, ambitious leadership.
Our numbers are growing rapidly. Last week, Telefónica joined RE100 to accelerate its progress on renewable electricity, now targeting 100% by 2030. Enrique Blanco, Telefónica’s Global Chief Technology Officer, is clear the company’s rationale is about doing better business, saying “our Renewable Energy Plan helps us to improve our competitiveness, reduce our operational costs and to make growth compatible with a sustainable strategy.”
We’ll be welcoming more global businesses over the coming weeks and months and look forward to working alongside the sub-national governments and business leaders in the US who are continuing to drive forward and surf this unstoppable wave.
As the world’s leading cities, states, businesses and countries advance together towards the Paris targets, we may occasionally look back in our wake, and wonder if those who dropped out the race regret their decision.
Read The Climate Group's response to President Trump's announcement here.
“Despite ongoing fossil fuel subsidies we’ve seen the cost of renewables continue to fall, making them an increasingly affordable option for business,” said Kimmins, who heads up The Climate Group and CDP’s RE100 initiative for leading companies that have committed to 100% renewable power.
Kimmins was speaking on the panel ‘The industry plays long and short’, moderated by Andrew Ward, Energy Editor, Financial Times, alongside fellow panellists Trevor Sikorski, Head of Natural Gas and Carbon Research, Energy Aspects; Kingsmill Bond, New Energy Strategist, TS Lombard; and Alexander Voight, Founder and CEO, Lumenion Energy and GRIPS.
The discussion addressed the likelihood of scenarios such as reaching ‘zero carbon’ by 2050 – in an audience vote, two thirds felt this was unlikely, despite the pressing need to address climate change.
While 89% of audience felt it was unlikely that oil prices would return to $100 a barrel, the panel was open to the possibility.
There was a 50/50 split on whether emerging markets would leapfrog to renewables, but Kimmins was optimistic: “RE100 members like Apple, H&M, Tesco and Walmart are pushing renewables into their supply chains, helping to accelerate the growth of renewables markets.”
Image credit: FT Live
The energy transition: How far, how fast?
Earlier in the day, there was a panel about the speed of the energy transition away from fossil fuels, including James Basden, Partner and Global Head of Utilities, Oliver Wyman; Lord Adair Turner, Chairman, Institute for New Economic Thinking and Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission; Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist, BP; and Juliet Davenport, Founder and CEO, Good Energy. It was moderated by Ed Crooks, US Industry and Energy Editor, Financial Times.
The timely discussion came as IRENA published a new report showing renewable energy already employs 9.8 million people worldwide, up from 7.1 million in 2012 – and with twice as many US jobs in solar compared to coal.
“In 2015 more money was invested in renewables than fossil fuels for the first time,” said Basden, in a keynote speech.
“There has been a fast transition, but we need to go faster still if we’re to deliver on our COP21 commitments,” he continued, highlighting the role of emerging battery technologies and electric vehicles.
“Consistent market signals are important so that investors can see the demand is there.”
Lord Turner said he was embarrassed that the UK’s Committee on Climate Change had failed to predict such a substantial fall in the cost of wind power, and hoped he would not feel the same 10 years from now.
He said he believed power grids could be run almost entirely on renewables alongside battery storage and small gas turbines, but that it would be harder for heavy industry and aviation to switch to renewables and that other sectors would have to go further.
Dale highlighted energy forecasts predicting increasing demand for energy until 2030, especially from developing countries.
Davenport spoke of the power of consumers in driving positive change. “This transition will not play by the rules,” she said, highlighting the demand for renewable power being created by companies like The LEGO Group, which joined RE100 last week.
Image credit: FT Live
There was a further discussion on whether it was possible to have an energy system based entirely on renewable sources – something business leaders called for at COP22 in November.
There was also a session on whether you can make money in renewables – during which keynote speaker Nancy Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Partners, showed the logos of companies that have joined the RE100 campaign. “To make money in renewables you have to create companies that innovate and delight;” she said, “Tesla is the best example.”
Throughout the day, speakers referred to the role of policy makers in driving forward the transition to renewable power.
“Electric vehicles are coming of age, in part driven by Chinese policy,” said James Basden. But he underlined that policy support globally was “nowhere near” strong enough currently to limit global warming to 2°C, let alone 1°C.
Lord Turner criticised the UK government on failing to publish its Clean Growth Plan on time, also highlighting that a greater emphasis was needed on carbon pricing.
Johannes Teyssen, CEO, E.ON said the energy transition was being driven not by German politics but by technology and customer demand – he said policy should be the enabler.
The soundbite of the day came from Kingsmill Bond. “Everyone thinks the most important green energy figure is Elon Musk. It isn’t. It’s Piyush Goyal,” he said, referring to India’s power minister.
To find out more about the FT Energy Transition Strategies Summit, click here.
The natural cosmetics company places the protection of nature at the heart of its brand. Recognising the importance of tackling climate change, L’OCCITANE aims to reduce its own carbon intensity by 30% in 2020, compared with 2010.
Already sourcing 100% renewable electricity in France across its stores and industrial sites, the next step will be transitioning its main subsidiaries to renewable energy by 2020, starting with stores in the UK and US.
“Global warming is something that concerns all of us – and private sector businesses, in particular, have an important role to play,” said Katia Michieletto, CSR Director for French subsidiaryLaboratoires M&L, in an interview with RE100.
“We have become aware of the impacts that climate change and the reduction in fossil fuels will have on our supply chains and all our activities. Switching to renewable energy is one of the key actions that companies can – and must – take."
Highlighting the business benefits, she added: “Our experience in France has shown us that the development of renewable energy contracts strengthens relations with electricity suppliers and the confidence of our stakeholders.
“By joining RE100, L’OCCITANE wants to be part of the collective effort that will lead to an increase in renewable electricity. This community is an incredible network for sharing information and helping us to accelerate our transition to renewables.”
The move was welcomed by Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group: “L’OCCITANE is already showing leadership by sourcing 100% renewable electricity in France – a country known for investments in nuclear power.
“Extending this renewable electricity ambition globally will help to protect our environment, increase the confidence of its stakeholders and deliver on the L’OCCITANE brand.”
L’OCCITANE becomes the 95th company to join RE100, uniting the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power. Earlier this month, Ebay, IHS Markit, Tesco, and The Lego Group also became members.
As well as transitioning to 100% renewable power globally, L’OCCITANE is aiming to equip all its stores with LED lighting by 2020, reducing the carbon footprint of its packaging and formulas, and working to cut carbon emissions from its logistics chain. The company is also educating and influencing its employees on sustainability.