News

  • Newsletter: What's on at COP, PPA advice & influencing EU policy

    COP22 - WHAT'S ON

    Although RE100 will not have an event at COP this year, we have been collaborating with a number of organisations such as CDP, IRENA and UN Global Compact, to ensure that corporate demand for renewables is integrated into high level discussions in Marrakech. We have been able to secure speaker slots for several RE100 members.

    Event highlights

    Wednesday 9: Business & Industry Day - a Blue Zone event from 13:30 -16:00hrs will showcase mitigation-focused initiatives that are in line with the Paris goals. Facebook and Unilever will be speaking. A dialogue session carbon pricing will follow 16:30 - 18:30hrs

    Friday 11: Energy Day - a Blue Zone event is being coordinated by SE4All and IRENA. The morning session (energy efficiency and renewables) will be 10:00-12:30hrs in the Atlantic Room. The afternoon session (energy access), will take place 13:30-16:00hrs - room TBC. IRENA is approaching RE100 members about speaking slots. 

    The Climate Group will be focusing its COP22 communications efforts around this day, when we will be announcing new members to our corporate initiatives, including RE100. We will aim to create a buzz around the hashtags #RE100, #REenergise and #COP22.

    Sunday 13: World Climate Summit - This year’s Summit is taking place at the Hotel Palm Plaza. From 11.30 - 12.30hrs there will be a panel discussion on how corporate sourcing of renewables can accelerate progress towards climate goals, between governmental representatives, corporate buyers and suppliers. Facebook is among the confirmed speakers. 

    Monday 14: EU Energy Day - This day will provide an overview of the latest progress and achievements of the EU energy policies, and their implications and relevance for other world regions. RE100 member IKEA is confirmed to speak. Further information here.


    OTHER NEWS - ALL REGIONS

    RE100 in the spotlight

    Congratulations to members Apple, Bank of America, General Motors, IKEA, Mars, Tetra Pak and Wal-Mart - recently featured by CNBC as big businesses embracing renewable energy.

    New guidance on PPAs

    The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has released a new report to help corporates take out Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). RE100 members BT, DSM, Nestlé and Unilever fed into the report, which illustrates the benefits for companies and developers alike. Damian Ryan, Acting CEO, The Climate Group called it “a helpful read for all RE100 members.” 

     


    EUROPE

    Members join forces on renewable power

    Congratulations to DSM, Google and Philips who have partnered with AkzoNobel on a long-term PPA to jointly purchase renewable power for part of their operations in The Netherlands. Read all about it here.   

    Examining strategies for going 100% renewable

    EY, RECS International and RE100 have held a unique forum for corporates to learn more about renewable strategies and network with industry peers. RE100 members Nestlé and Unilever shared success stories of getting board sign-off on their 100% renewable power targets. Technical experts Pedro Faria, Technical Director at CDP and Jared Braslawsky, Secretary-General, RECS International, who both sit on the RE100 Technical Advisory group, also spoke at the event and offered best practice advice on establishing robust energy strategies and transparent reporting.  

    Influencing EU energy policy

    RE100 has commissioned a new report from E3G which makes policy recommendations to help companies go 100% renewable in Europe. Many thanks to those companies that shared their experiences for the report. We will be sending it to EU policy makers to influence key discussions ahead of the new EU Renewable Energy Directive, for which a draft is expected in early December. All RE100 members will receive the final copy. 


    NORTH AMERICA

    Bank of America shares its story

    Bank of America, which joined RE100 during Climate Week NYC, has spoken to RE100 about its drive to achieve carbon neutrality and 100% renewable power by 2020. In an interview Alex Liftman, Global Environmental Executive, said: "by joining forces with other global sustainability leaders, we will have a much greater impact than we would if we approached it individually."


    CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

    Webinar: using PPAs in Mexico & Chile

    In a joint webinar from RE100, Rocky Mountain Institute's Business Renewables Center and WBCSD, Rob Threlkeld. Global Manager - Renewable Energy at General Motors, and other experts shared their experiences of using Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in Mexico and Chile. GM's first wind project was a PPA in Mexico with Enel Green Power. 


    DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES

    January 14-15, 2017: IRENA General Assembly, Abu Dhabi

    There will be a session dedicated to the private sector at the IRENA General Assembly, and speaker slots will be open to RE100 members. Gold Members will be given priority. More information to follow.

    January 16-19, 2017: World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi/launch of RE100 Annual Report

    We are working closely with CDP on the development of our RE100 Annual Report for 2017, in which we will report on the progress of the RE100 campaign and its members in working to 100% renewable power globally. This year we will be taking a closer look at where members are creating demand for renewable power, and the strategies they are using to get there. 

  • Newsletter: Apple, General Motors & more make waves at Climate Week NYC

    ALL REGIONS

    New joiners at Climate Week NYC

    Apple, Bank of America and General Motors are among 12 world-leading companies that joined RE100 around Climate Week NYC, taking the total number of members to 81, and the overall renewable electricity demand being created to over 100TWh - a significant milestone.

    Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple and Andrew Plepler, Global Environmental, Social and Governance Executive at Bank of America announced their companies’ RE100 commitments on stage at the Opening Ceremony, organised by The Climate Group.

    Speaking on Apple’s commitment to work with its manufacturing partners to expand 100% renewable power into its supply chain, Jackson said: “We have to be the ripple in the pond. We can’t just be 100% renewable energy - we have to bring others with us.

    In an exclusive interview for Climate TV, Plepler said that when it comes to addressing climate change, “the success of our business strategy depends on it”.

    Other highlights included an interview with The Climate Group’s acting CEO Damian Ryan on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, and stories on CNBC.com and Mashable.  We also generated 24.5 million impressions of #RE100 on Twitter - creating by far the biggest online moment for RE100 since COP21.

     

    Scaling the Clean Economy: Using Better Energy, Better

    David Tulauskas, Director of Sustainability at General Motors championed the business case for renewable power at a special event hosted by global law firm Baker & McKenzie. Tulauskas said: “This is what being part of RE100 is about. By working together we're stronger, more influential and effective”.

    A panel discussion including Alex Liftman, Global Environment Executive at Bank of America examined how new, innovative and potentially disruptive technologies, business models, financing and policy can help to accelerate the clean energy transition. 

    Demonstrating progress  

    During Climate Week NYC, Swiss Re and Johnson & Johnson both announced new investments in renewable energy, taking them closer to being 100% powered by renewable electricity.

    Already 85% renewable, re/insurance company Swiss Re announced plans to build its own solar plant at its U.S. headquarters in Armonk, New York. Lasse Wallquist, Senior Environmental Management Specialist at Swiss Re, said itbenefits the bottom line, increases resilience, and underlines our sustainability commitment.

    Global healthcare company Johnson & Johnson meanwhile announced a new contract to source 100MW of wind energy from E.ON’s new wind farm in Texas.

           

    BMW Group targets 100% renewable electricity   

    BMW Group has been interviewed by Bloomberg New Energy Finance as part of the inaugural issue of its monthly analysis of corporate renewable energy procurement. Jury Witschnig, Head of Sustainability Strategy, Product and Production at BMW Group, said: “Renewable technology will improve. A few years ago, this technology didn’t make sense as an option, but it is now getting cheaper and a more attractive investment.”


    INDIA

    More than 30 people attended a RE100 webinar on Tuesday September 27 which gave an overview of India’s REC market and policy, and looked at the future role of voluntary standards in making credible claims about renewable electricity use there. The speakers were Shailesh Telang, Senior Project Officer at CDP India, and Jared Braslawsky, Secretary-General of RECS International.


    DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES

    Monday 10 - Tuesday 11 October: BNEF EMEA Future of Energy Summit, London - Through executive interviews and expert panels, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Future of Energy Summit aims to facilitate constructive debate, create a forum to exchange ideas among industry peers, and provide the latest insights to drive change in the energy industry. This year's speakers include Google and The Climate Group. This event is invitation-only.

    Sunday 16 - Tuesday 18 October: ‘Renewable Energy Markets 2016’, San Francisco, U.S. - Organized by the Center for Resource Solutions and co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this event will bring together generators, marketers, utilities, purchasers and policymakers, and help to set the renewables agenda for years to come. Confirmed speakers include RE100’s Roberto Zanchi, Technical Manager - Renewable Energy at CDP, as well as member companies Google, General Motors, and Bloomberg L.P.. Learn more here.

    Thursday October 27: Joint RE100-BRC webinar - corporate PPAs in Mexico and Chile, 16:00 - 17:00hrs BST - All members of RE100 are invited to take part in this webinar jointly hosted by RE100 and The Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center, together with WBCSD. Expert industry practitioners (tbc) will comment on the opportunities for renewable energy procurement in two increasingly-attractive international markets: Mexico and Chile.

    November 7-18: UNFCCC COP22, Marrakesh, Morocco: There will be a number of speaking opportunities for senior executives of RE100 members, including: Wednesday 9 (Business & industry session of Global Action Agenda day), Friday 11 (energy day), Sunday 13 (CEM7 event), Tuesday 15 (100% RE multi stakeholder event) and Friday 18 (possible high level action event). 

    REVISED DATE: Friday December 9, ‘Powering a cleaner future: Unlocking business demand for renewables in Europe’, Brussels, Belgium - In the context of the development of the new EU Renewable Energy Directive, RE100 and Google are co-hosting a corporate leadership event to highlight the high level of corporate demand for renewable power across Europe. Please contact Sandra Roling with any questions - SRoling@theclimategroup.org.

  • Blog: Johnson & Johnson on caring for the planet like our health depends on it

    One year on since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and a year since Johnson & Johnson joined RE100 at Climate Week NYC 2015, Paulette Frank, Vice President, Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability at Johnson & Johnson, explains why human health is still the biggest driver for the company's leadership on addressing climate change. 

    As I drove along an industrial stretch of Highway 95, my five-year-old son who was sitting in the backseat asked if the smoke coming out of the smokestacks he saw – “those tall things,” as he called them – made God cough. The truth was the smoke was steam, but I still marveled at the connection my son had just made between the health of people and the health of the planet. This made me wonder, if more people saw this connection, would we, as a society, do more to care for the planet, including our climate? Would more people take action to lower their own carbon footprint? Would there be more demand for things like renewable energy?

    At Johnson & Johnson, we believe the health of people and the health of the planet are inextricably linked and that a changing climate resulting in extreme weather, droughts, floods, air pollution and vector-borne diseases will ultimately impact human health and wellbeing. And, we’re not the only ones. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Center for Disease Control and the US Environmental Protection Agency all have websites dedicated to the human health effects of climate change. The World Health Organization even went so far as to declare climate change as one of the greatest threats to global health in the 21st century.

    As the world’s most broadly based healthcare company, this challenge inspires us to advocate and create demand for a low-carbon economy. We do this not only through our efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of our own facilities, but also by influencing our extended supply chain and collaborating with like-minded organizations.  

    Johnson & Johnson has had a formal energy management program for over 30 years. For more than a decade, we’ve been building clean and renewable energy systems on our properties – from cogeneration to solar, wind and geothermal – establishing our energy program from the ground up. We’ve significantly invested in over 70 renewable energy projects at our facilities, which today, equate to 7% of our global electricity usage.

    Realizing we needed to pick up the pace to meet our goal of powering our facilities with 20 percent renewable energy by 2020, we shifted gears and accelerated our progress by complementing our “build” strategy with a “buy” strategy. This approach resulted in the latest milestone in our clean energy journey of executing a long-term power purchase agreement with E.ON Climate and Renewables from their new 200MW wind farm in Texas. Johnson & Johnson has contracted usage of 100MW, which will generate electricity equivalent to 50% of our consumption in the U.S..

    This will equate to an approximate carbon dioxide savings of more than 3.7 million metric tons over the next 12 years, helping to meet our 2020 goal four years earlier than anticipated. In the spirit of continuing to pick up the pace, we have decided to increase our goal another 15% to producing or procuring 35% of our global electricity needs from renewable sources by the end of 2020.

    Beyond our four walls, there’s also work to be done. We know that our actions are one ripple in a large ocean. We need to work together with our suppliers and other organizations to turn that ripple into a tsunami of demand for renewable energy. This is why we’ve participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the CDP Supply Chain Program since its launch. This is why we partnered with the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute and an alliance that has grown to 51 corporations to launch the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers Principles.

    And, it is why we joined RE100 – a global campaign that brings together the world’s most influential companies – and made public our aspirations to achieve 100% renewable power and a science-based target of 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Joining this collaborative is one of the most impactful steps corporations can take to amplify their voice and the demand signal for renewable energy – no matter the size of the corporation.

    Climate change is a big problem that requires big solutions. No one person, no one company, no one government can do it alone. Instead, we must continue to create a global movement of people, companies and organizations all working together to care for our climate like our health depends on it. Because it does. Even a five-year-old knows that.  

    First published in USA Today Special Edition, September 19, 2016

  • Blog: Why it’s time to acknowledge rising consumer demand for renewable energy

    Jared Braslawsky is Deputy Secretary-General of RECS International, which implements and standardizes electricity tracking systems around the globe. He is also a member of the RE100 Technical Advisory Group, which provides best practice guidance for RE100 members working towards 100% renewable electricity goals. Here, he calls for EU legislation that requires national governments to report national renewable energy consumption figures, in addition to renewable energy production.

    Across Europe, consumers are choosing renewable electricity and are doing so on a large scale. It’s time to recognise this demand for renewable energy by reporting on national consumption, and not only production, of renewables. This dual reporting of renewable electricity can support consumer choice, showing the impact of collective action – and is in line with EU ambitions to empower consumers.

    Citizens are at the core of the EU's most ambitious energy strategy to date, the Energy Union, according to the European Commission. Today, there is legislation in place that requires national governments to report national figures of renewable energy production; mandatory reporting of national consumption figures would ensure consumers are also part of the national statistics.

    This is the first step towards placing the energy consumer in the driver’s seat. If we expect the consumer to play a larger role in the energy transition we must also acknowledge their decision to purchase renewable electricity, and not only measure the production of renewables as we do now.

    Historically, electricity producers have been centralised, state-owned, top-down entities. The consumer had no choice of supplier, or of the source of their household electricity supply. The legacy of this traditional mode of energy production means that the energy sector is the only sector where we are measuring the production – and not the consumption – of a commodity. Take electric vehicles for example: to measure real progress on the ground, we count how many electric vehicles are on the road in Norway, not how many are being produced in Germany.

    Across Europe, consumers are actively choosing renewable electricity and are doing so on a large scale. Last year European consumers made the conscious effort to purchase renewables for more than 550-TWh of electricity, equivalent to roughly 20% of all electricity consumption in Europe. If we include electricity that is not eligible for private consumption – such as German production that receives the feed-in tariff and is consumed equally by all German electricity end-users – nearly 770-TWh of citizen-led renewables was consumed in Europe.

    Many businesses are already voluntarily reporting their CO2 emissions from electricity usage as part of calculating their annual carbon footprint. One reporting agency alone, CDP, had more than 5,500 companies voluntarily reporting their emissions in 2015 – accounting for nearly 17% of global emissions. Linked initiative RE100 supports companies in achieving a public goal to meet 100% of their electricity with renewable sources of energy, and includes global players such as Google, IKEA, Philips, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble.

    The demand for renewable energy from these companies and millions of households around Europe is not currently recognised in any European statistics. Shouldn’t we recognise this positive choice for renewable energy in national reporting?

    How it works

    CDP companies report CO2 emissions from electricity usage based upon a national/regional production mix (location-based accounting) and a company-specific consumption mix (market-based accounting), a method developed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This voluntary dual reporting ensures companies are responsible – for both where they consume electricity, but also, what market choices they make for their company’s electricity consumption. Dual reporting would be similar for national governments: report the national production of renewables and report the national consumption of renewables.

    Already member states measure national renewables production through the Guarantee of Origin (GO) instrument defined in the Renewable Energy Directive (Article 15). GOs are electronic certificates issued to renewable energy producers for every 1 MWh of energy produced. The electronic document is used to guarantee to the consumer that the energy delivered is produced from renewable sources. Once the energy is sold, the GO is then cancelled to avoid double counting. Collaboration over the last fifteen years between national regulators, market players, stakeholders and consumers has resulted in a robust and reliable GO system.

    The European market for renewable energy, documented with GOs, increased by 26.5% in 2014 compared to 2013. In 2014, the demand surpassed 300 TWh for certificates adherent to the European Energy Certificate System (EECS) standard, held by the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB). This is nearly one tenth of all electricity demand in Europe (ca. 3,300 TWh) and one third of all electricity from renewable sources in Europe (ca. 900 TWh).

    In 2015, for the first time, an increase in cancellations of GOs, (and therefore of renewable energy demand) together with the decrease in issuing volumes, created a shortage of supply. This scarcity of supply marks a turning point in the development of Guarantees of Origin, setting the market in a good state for 2016 and the years to come.

    With limited exceptions, Guarantees of Origin are issued by members of the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) – mostly transmission system operators, electricity regulators and energy market operators. Measuring consumption of renewables based on GOs is therefore relatively simple to implement, and will highlight the increasing demand from consumers and businesses for renewable energy.

    What now?

    The European Commission is currently preparing proposals for a new renewable energy directive (REDII) for the period 2020-2030, with a draft anticipated before the end of 2016. It’s not too late to include a dual reporting obligation in the new directive to support the citizens and businesses that are driving the European energy transition – and show that collective action can make big changes.

    First published on Euractiv, September 7, 2016.

  • Using better energy, better: Climate Week NYC shows renewables and energy productivity go hand-in-hand

    General Motors and Bank of America, new members of RE100, shared their visions of a net-zero emissions economy at a special event run by The Climate Group during Climate Week NYC.

    The sell-out event, hosted by Baker & McKenzie, drew a diverse audience of corporates, policymakers, NGOs and the media.

    It showcased the companies’ new RE100 commitments to 100% renewable power, and examined how new, innovative and potentially disruptive technologies, business models, financing and policy can help to accelerate the clean energy transition.

    RE100 is led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. The Climate Group also showed how its new energy productivity campaign, EP100, is designed to work hand-in-hand with RE100, to help companies maximize the economic benefits of the energy they consume – and ensure what they do use for power, is renewable.

    According to various studies, adopting both approaches provides the least cost decarbonization pathway for businesses.

    Changing the narrative

    In her keynote speech, Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative for the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), said corporate uptake of renewable energy has changed the narrative on climate change by demonstrating mainstream investment opportunities.

    But she added that a real transition to fair and sustainable energy for all would not happen if only 1% of corporates are leading the way: "If you're not a member of RE100, I question why not.”

    David Tulauskas, Director of Sustainability at General Motors said there were many business benefits in transitioning to 100% renewable power, including significant cost savings. He gave the example of a power purchasing agreement for renewable power in Texas, which is expected to save U.S.$2.8 million. He was also clear to point out that the pitch to the board was not about a 100% renewable strategy – it was about a solid business plan to save money.

    He then said that being part of RE100 allowed GM to work as part of a greater team, learning from other businesses that have set the same goals, and working together to scale efforts and impact.

    “That's what being part of RE100 is about”, he said, “by working together we're stronger, more influential and effective”.

    Technological, financing and policy solutions

    Following a discussion with John Gaylen, North America President of Danfoss, which this week joined EP100 with a goal to double its energy productivity, there was a wider discussion on how best to scale efforts and accelerate the transition to cleaner and smarter energy.

    Alex Liftman, Global Environment Executive at Bank of America, joined fellow panelists Anirban Ghosh, VP of Sustainability at Mahindra & Mahindra; Melanie Nakagawa, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation, US Department of State; and Greg Wetstone, President, American Council on Renewable Energy.

    The conversation began by recognizing the barriers to scaling renewables – in many cases due to lack of supportive policy and in some cases, conflicting policies.

    However, the good news far outweighed the constraints. There was recognition that the falling costs of renewables are making the technology impossible to ignore. And corporate commitments to renewables are providing a clear signal to the market that there are credible offtakers and this is helping to build confidence among investors.

    Alex Liftman referenced the growing number of financial products that Bank of America is developing to support growth of new renewable energy projects, and stressed that collaboration across government, businesses and investors was critical to get to the scale needed.

    The diplomatic role of the US Government was also praised in helping to push forward renewables in India and Mexico.

    Nigel Topping, CEO of We Mean Business, summarized the positive mood of the event by highlighting the incredible position we are now in because we can clearly demonstrate the business case for 100% renewable power.

    He acknowledged that there is still a lot more to be done – particularly in the energy intensive sectors - but as he pointed out, "all of our partners are committed to growing business leadership's voice so we can really accelerate climate action".

    Amy Davidsen, North America Executive Director, The Climate Group, reflected on Climate Week NYC 2016: “One of the key takeaways from this year’s Climate Week NYC is the clear pivot from talk to action in the way major businesses are approaching their energy use. It is hugely inspiring to see this leadership from US and global businesses continue, with further commitments to use 100% renewable energy across their operations, and others setting clear goals in doubling their energy productivity.”

    For more information on General Motors’ drive for 100% renewable power, read our exclusive interview with David Tulauskas, here.

  • Blog: Swiss Re steps up investment in own solar power supply

    As a founding partner of RE100, Swiss Re is committed to becoming 100% powered by renewable electricity by 2020 - a lot of it coming from the company’s own energy production. Lasse Wallquist, Senior Environmental Management Specialist at Swiss Re, explains why investing in solar PV makes environmental and economic sense.

    As global re/insurance company Swiss Re must consider climate change risks in its business; the need for risk-transfer solutions that help companies mitigate and adapt to climate change is growing.

    For example, we can help businesses around the world to better protect themselves from and prepare for extreme weather events like hurricanes, heat waves and ice storms, which increase in frequency and severity. At the same time, Swiss Re is committed to raising awareness and advocating a worldwide policy framework for fighting climate change. And, staying true to the cause, in our own offices around the world Swiss Re is vigorously tackling its own carbon footprint.

    In 2003, we launched our Greenhouse Neutral Program and started to operate carbon neutrally. This commitment included building our operations as energy efficiently as possible, sourcing as much green power as possible and buying carbon offsets for the remaining unavoidable CO2 emissions. Co-founding the RE100 initiative in 2014 was a logical next step in our strategy.

    Energy consumption that sets effective incentives

    We consider the purchase of carbon credits as a last resort to ensure carbon neutrality. In our view, emissions should be avoided directly at the source related to our energy consumption whenever possible.

    Similarly, we strive for a direct impact of our power purchasing on the development of new renewable power production capacities. Therefore, we prefer the physical consumption of "green" electricity or long term contracts with producers over certificates bought retrospectively, which do not offer similar effective incentives.  

    In recent times we have seen that solar PV is becoming increasingly economically viable in some of our locations.  

    The Armonk Solar Project

    We have been installing smaller solar plants with capacities of 50-100kW on the rooftops of some of our offices in Switzerland, Italy and the UK in recent years.

    Now we are entering a whole different ball game.

    This year we are investing approx. US$7 million into a 2MW solar power plant to be developed at Swiss Re Americas headquarter in Armonk, NY. Ten acres of panels, ground-mounted on our property, will generate more than 60% of the campus' power requirements. Construction begins in October 2016.

    Making environmental and economic sense

    One may ask whether it make sense for a financial service company to become a power producer and also whether this is of relevance. I could argue it does, and here are the main three reasons.

    1. It benefits the bottom line

    The Armonk solar project has an attractive payback of less than seven years. Federal and state incentives contribute to the economic benefit for Swiss Re. With a life expectancy exceeding 25 years, the plant will allow Swiss Re to save millions of dollars in the coming decades.

    This is of relevance, because many companies - due to the nature of their business - don't yet worry about the cost of their electricity bills. They are however missing out on the new opportunities to significantly reduce their own energy consumption costs and do something good for the environment.

    2. It will increase resilience of energy infrastructure

    Although off-grid solutions with battery storage are not yet fully economically feasible today, they will most likely be in a few years. It will be a simple task to retrofit the Armonk solar plant with such a system. The resilience of the electricity grid is increased through active demand management. Our own resilience is improved by providing the Armonk campus with additional power in the event of an outage and by making us less dependent on fluctuating power prices.

    3. It underlines Swiss Re's sustainability commitment

    In the context of Swiss Re's extensive climate engagement, the Armonk Solar Project is an important milestone example of how we "walk the talk". It helps us to illustrate our concrete efforts for our customers, society and our employees. Already in the ideation phase of the project, enthusiasm from stakeholders and foremost from many employees was remarkable.

    All of Swiss Re's solar projects offer great opportunities to engage employees on the topic of renewable energy. Our group-wide "COyou2 reduce and gain" program makes solar energy personally relevant. It encourages our colleagues to install their own solar panels on the rooftops of their homes. The COyou2 program subsidizes residential photovoltaic installations and other low carbon investments made by employees with up to US$4,000 or the equivalent in a local currency.

    And what comes next? The direction is towards achieving 100% fossil free operations.

  • World’s most influential companies join RE100 and announce investments in renewable power

    Wells Fargo & Co.Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and VF Corporation - owner of many apparel and footwear brands including The North Face, Timberland, and Wrangler - are among a group of world-leading businesses from diverse sectors of the economy that today, during Climate Week NYC 2016, joined RE100.

    RE100 is a global collaborative initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power. The initiative is led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

    The eight new joiners also include cloud computing companies VMware Inc. and Rackspace Inc.; global alcoholic beverage company Diageo; and Norway’s largest financial services company DNB.

    They follow hot on the heels of Apple and Bank of America, both of which joined RE100 with announcements on stage at the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC yesterday. Amalgamated Bank has also joined the initiative just days after General Motors did the same.

    Speaking on their RE100 announcement, Mary Wenzel, Senior Vice President and Head of Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo, said: “We are very pleased to have joined RE100 and be in the company of others who have also committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity for their operations.  

    “Learning from RE100 experts and other members is going to be critical as we work toward meeting our 2020 sustainability commitments, including our goal of powering 100 percent of our global operations with renewable  electricity by 2017 and transitioning to long-term agreements that directly fund new renewable electricity projects by 2020.” 

    Letitia Webster, Vice President of Global Corporate Sustainability at VF Corporation, said: “Climate change is the defining issue of our generation and it’s incumbent upon us as large global businesses to take action and lead by example.

    "VF and our brands such as The North Face, Timberland, Vans, and Wrangler are committed to achieving our 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2025 and doing our part to address the global climate challenges.”  

    Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group, welcomed the new commitments: “It is widely acknowledged that we will not succeed in keeping a global temperature rise below two degrees without significant corporate leadership on energy, and that is what we are seeing here today.

    “Dozens of world leading companies joining RE100 are showing there's a clear business case to invest in cleaner energy pathways that will accelerate the transition to net-zero emissions economies. Investors and policymakers must respond to rising corporate demand and ensure that supportive policies are in place.”

    There are now 81 members of RE100. The 12 new companies joining the campaign at Climate Week NYC 2016 are helping to drive demand for over 19.3TWh of renewable electricity, almost enough to power the whole of Long Island [21.6TWh]. This takes the estimated total demand being created by all RE100 members to over 100TWh.

    Demonstrating progress against goals

    Just two years since the launch of RE100 at Climate Week NYC 2014, existing members are already demonstrating clear progress towards their 100% goals. Re/insurance company Swiss Re, a founding partner of the RE100 campaign, today announced plans to build and operate its own solar power plant at the company's US headquarters in Armonk, New York. Construction of the 2MW facility will begin in October 2016. HereLasse Wallquist, Senior Environmental Management Specialist at Swiss Re, explains why investing in solar PV makes environmental and economic sense.

    Global healthcare company Johnson & Johnson last week strengthened its interim RE100 goal with a commitment to powering its facilities with 35% renewable energy by 2020. The company has contracted usage of 100MW of wind energy from E.ON’s new wind farm in Texas, an agreement that will generate electricity equivalent to about 60 percent of its consumption in the U.S..

    Cleaner, smarter energy

    Also today, new joiners were announced to EP100, The Climate Group's new global initiative run in partnership with the Global Alliance for Energy Productivity that works with businesses committed to doubling their energy productivity.

    The Climate Group’s two corporate initiatives RE100 and EP100 are designed to work hand-in-hand to help companies maximize the economic benefits of every unit of energy they consume – and to ensure that what energy they do use for power, is renewable. 

  • Bank of America, Apple and Amalgamated Bank join RE100 at Climate Week NYC with goals for going 100% renewable

    Major U.S. corporates have announced new commitments to renewable energy at the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC.

    Leading by example

    Demonstrating strong leadership in the transition to a net-zero economy, Bank of America announced on stage that it is joining RE100, with a goal of purchasing 100% renewable electricity and going carbon neutral by 2020.

    The bank also announced plans to go carbon neutral and set new environmental operations goals for water, paper, waste and LEED certification. And, as well as reducing emissions in its own operations, Bank of America for the first time announced quantitative goals to address emissions in its supply chain.

    Andrew Plepler, Global Environmental, Social and Governance executive at Bank of America, said: “These new commitments build on our existing environmental strategy for both our operations as well as our business activities. This includes our $125 billion environmental business initiative, which is providing much-needed capital to catalyze greater investments in clean energy and other low-carbon projects. Overall, we have provided more than $53 billion dollars to sustainable business activities since 2007.”

    Speaking on the bank’s 100% renewable electricity commitment, he added: “We’re joining RE100 to help keep these critical issues at the forefront of the business agenda, recognizing the role of the private sector in addressing challenges associated with climate change. Together we can accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and low carbon economy.”

    Influencing supply chains

    The second major corporate announcement of the day was by Apple. Already an established leader in renewable energy, with 93% of its global operations in 23 countries running on renewable power last year, Apple also announced it is joining RE100 and is committed to reaching 100%.

    The company said it wants its customers to be able to use its products without contributing to climate change, and also unveiled its investment in a new 50MW solar project in Arizona, generating 151,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year.

    The technology giant said it was most interested in working with RE100 on pushing renewable energy into supply chains – an emerging focus area for the campaign as it works to bring more and more companies on board. Apple estimates that some 77% of its emissions come from its supply chain.

    Last year Apple launched a clean energy program to help its manufacturing partners in China to lower their carbon footprint. It is now working with them to install more than 4GW of new clean energy worldwide by 2020, and today announced that its plastics supplier Solvay SA, and phone casing supplier Catcher Technology, would both work to use 100% renewable energy by the end of 2018.

    "Apple is committed to running on 100% renewable energy, and we’re happy to stand beside other companies that are working toward the same effort", Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice president for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said in her keynote speech to an audience of business and government leaders.

    “We’re excited to share the industry-leading work we've been doing to drive renewable energy into the manufacturing supply chain”, she added, “and as Tim Cook says, “we have to be the ripple on the pond… we can’t just be 100% renewable energy – we have to bring others with us.”

    Jackson said that Apple looks forward to partnering with RE100 to advocate for clean-energy policies around the world. Specifically, she called for a price on carbon as a driver for action, saying that clear market signals were needed.

    73 members and rising

    Also today, Amalgamated Bank joined RE100 with a goal to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2017. The bank has called on the rest of the banking industry to follow its lead and take significant steps to proactively address climate risk and reduce carbon pollution.

    There are now 73 members of RE100, spanning more than 20 sectors of the economy. More announcements are to follow during Climate Week NYC. Follow the action on social media at #CWNYC and #RE100.

  • General Motors joins RE100 campaign and commits to 100% renewable electricity by 2050

    General Motors, one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world, has joined RE100 with a commitment to use 100% renewable electricity by 2050.

    GM has pledged to meet its electricity needs across its global operations, at 350 sites in 59 countries, using only renewable power including wind and solar energy.

    The company, based in Detroit, Michigan, in the U.S. has become the 70th member of RE100, and the new commitment is part of its overall strategy to strengthen its business, enhance local communities and address climate change.

    Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, GM said: “Establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal helps us better serve society by reducing environmental impact. 

    “This pursuit of renewable energy benefits our customers and communities through cleaner air while strengthening our business through lower and more stable energy costs.”

    GM currently saves an estimated US$5 million annually from using renewable energy, with this figure likely to increase significantly with prospective projects coming online and the supply of renewable energy increasing.

    David Tulauskas, GM’s Director of Sustainability added: “It makes business sense for companies to pursue the use of renewables because it improves the bottom-line and takes advantage of energy cost certainty for long-term planning.”

    The new pledge builds on GM’s previous target of using 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, and the company expects to exceed this goal later this year when two new wind projects come online in Texas and Mexico.

    GM is also currently installing 30 megawatts of solar arrays at two facilities in China; the company’s Jinqiao Cadillac assembly plant in Shanghai will feature 10 megawatts of rooftop solar and 20 megawatts of solar carports will cover its vehicle distribution center parking area in Wuhan.

    The company, which has 22 facilities with solar arrays, three sites using landfill gas, and four that will soon have wind power installations, has been a leader in the use of renewable energy for over 20 years, saving an estimated total of $80 million.

    Amy Davidsen, US Executive Director, The Climate Group, welcomed the latest development: “This bold and ambitious commitment from General Motors will undoubtedly catch the attention of the global automotive industry.

    "GM has already saved millions of dollars by using renewable energy, and like any smart business that recognizes an investment opportunity, they want to seize it fully. From reducing fluctuating energy costs to providing energy security – going 100% renewable makes clear economic sense.

    “We hope that through this leadership, other heavy manufacturing companies will be inspired to make the switch too. Business needs to remain active and engaged as we transition to a clean economy, a critical factor to help keep global warming well under two degrees and ensure a prosperous future for us all.”

    David Tulauskas will be speaking during Climate Week NYC at The Climate Group’s high-level networking event, ‘Scaling the Clean Economy: Using Better Energy Better’, hosted by Baker & McKenzie on Tuesday, September 20. The event will bring together members of The Climate Group’s RE100 and EP100 corporate campaigns to analyze the key solutions and best practices towards using 100% renewable electricity or doubling energy productivity, respectively.

  • Newsletter: Corporate action, Climate Week NYC & dates for your diaries

    ALL REGIONS

    Countdown to Climate Week NYC

    The countdown has begun: coinciding with the first UN General Assembly post Paris - and with the U.S. election fast approaching - Climate Week NYC 2016 (19-25 September), is less than three weeks away. The Climate Group’s flagship event will gather leaders from business and government to demonstrate how continued investment in innovation, technology and clean energy will drive profitability and lead us toward net zero emissions. RE100 will be announcing some news.

    Insurers call on G20 leaders to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020

    Insurers and investors worth $1.2 trillion have called on G20 leaders to set a 2020 deadline for ending fossil fuel subsidies. Mark Wilson, CEO of Aviva - a member of RE100 - said: “Climate change in particular represents the mother of all risks – to business and to society as a whole. And that risk is magnified by the way in which fossil fuel subsidies distort the energy market. These subsidies are simply unsustainable.” To read the full statement, coordinated by the Overseas Development Institute, click here.

    1000 corporate commitments to climate action

    A milestone of 1000 corporate commitments to bold climate action has been reached through We Mean Business’ ‘Take Action’ campaign. This includes 69 business commitments to 100% renewable power through RE100, so far - with more to be announced in the coming weeks. The recent gathering pace of commitments shows clear momentum in corporate efforts to help keep global warming below two degrees.


    INDIA

    Philips Lighting India sponsors India Energy Access Summit

    More than 400 leaders from business enterprises, financial institutions and government have renewed their commitment in supporting India to deliver access to sustainable energy, at this year’s India Energy Access Summit in New Delhi, India. The Climate Group’s flagship event in India was made possible with the support of summit partners including Philips Lighting - a member of RE100.

    Speaking in an interview for Climate TV, The Climate Group’s digital TV channel, Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Philips Lighting, said: “the business model fits as a solution glove to all the things that we need to address in the climate change challenge”


    DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES

    August 31- September 1: The second summit (II Climate Summit of the Americas), Guadalajara, Mexico - Walmart and Nestlé are among the speakers at this major annual event convening subnational governments of the Americas, business, academic and civil society sectors. This year the summit is hosted by the government of Jalisco. The Climate Group is using this platform to increase awareness of the need for policy to support corporate sourcing of renewables.

    Monday September 19: Opening Ceremony, Climate Week NYC, U.S. - Climate Week NYC is The Climate Group’s global flagship event; a milestone in the international climate calendar and a focal meeting point for leading governments, investors, businesses, innovators and opinion formers. We are currently confirming speakers - to include RE100 members.

    Tuesday September 20: ‘Scaling the Clean Economy: Using Better Energy, Better’, 15:45 - 20:00hrs, New York City, U.S. - This networking event, hosted by The Climate Group, will show how energy productivity, when combined with renewables, can provide the least-cost decarbonization pathway for leading businesses, helping to keep the world on course for reaching net-zero emissions well before the end of the century.

    Speakers confirmed to date include Rachel Kyte, CEO of SE4All; John Gaylen, North America President of Danfoss; Anirban Ghosh, VP of Sustainability, Mahindra & Mahindra; Melanie Nakagawa, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation, US Department of State; and Nancy Pfund, Founder, Managing Partner, DBL Partners. This event is by invitation only.

    Late September (date tbc): RE100 webinar on renewable energy tracking systems in India. 

    November 7-18: UNFCCC COP22, Marrakesh, Morocco: We are collaborating with REBA, IRENA, WBCSD, CEM7, the Global Solar Council and CAN International to ensure corporate demand for renewables is integrated into key events and discussions at COP22. There will be a number of speaking opportunities for senior executives of RE100 members.