Report / 24 Jan, 2018
Major Global Companies Spearheading Transition to Low Carbon

A new report published by RE100 highlights how leading multinational companies with a combined global revenue of USD 2.75 trillion are spearheading the transition toward a low-carbon economy by investing in renewable energy to power their businesses.

In a significant boost to global renewable energy efforts – crucial to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement - 25 companies already achieved their 100% renewable energy target by the end of 2016.

Falling costs of wind and solar power are helping businesses translate their renewable energy commitments into tangible investments. In early 2017, renewables became the cheapest source of electricity in 30 countries and by 2020, solar power is slated to have a lower cost of electricity than coal or natural gas-fired energy generation throughout the world.

122 companies –part of the RE100 global corporate leadership initiative led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) – have so far committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity. Their collective electricity demand is more than enough to power Malaysia, New York State or Poland. RE100 brings together companies that are committed to 100% renewable electricity across their operations.

Speaking of the report, Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, said: “I’d like to congratulate every RE100 member accelerating the roll-out of renewable energy through their investment decisions. Their leadership is vital for overcoming policy challenges, shifting global markets, and inspiring many more companies to reap the economic benefits of renewable electricity. Rapidly growing demand from world-leading RE100 companies – and increasingly their suppliers and peers – means governments can confidently look to ratchet up targets in 2020 for slashing greenhouse emissions, to deliver on the Paris Agreement.”

The release of the report coincides with the gathering of the world’s top politicians, businesses and experts in Davos, Switzerland, at the annual World Economic Forum where UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa will participate in a number of events to galvanize support for faster climate action to reduce greenhouse emissions and the effective implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Rapid deployment of and increased investments into renewable energy production are essential in order to achieve the central goal of the Paris Agreement, which is limit the rise of global average temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Published by RE100, the report “Accelerating the Tipping Point: How Corporate Users Are Redefining Global Electricity Markets” tracks progress made in 2016-17 by businesses that are members of the RE100 initiative. The findings suggest that on average, RE100 members are currently sourcing 32% of their electricity from renewables.

Below are some of the highlights from the report:

  • 25 members had reached 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2016, with Autodesk, Elopak, Interface, Marks and Spencer and Sky reaching this goal during 2016, while Equinix and Kingspan surpassed their interim targets during the same year;
  • The biggest achievers in 2016 included Bank of America, Astra Zeneca and Coca Cola Enterprises Inc., whose share of renewable electricity increased more than threefold;
  • The proportion of renewable electricity being sourced via power purchase agreements grew fourfold in 2016, while the quantity of electricity sourced from onsite generation increased x15 (via supplier-owned projects) and x9 (via member-owned projects);
  • 88% of respondents cited the compelling economic case for renewable electricity as a major driver – with 30 out of 74 reporting that renewable electricity was either cost competitive or delivered significant savings on energy bills;
  • Policy barriers represent the most common challenge for RE100 companies, alongside a lack of availability of suitable contracts or certificates in some markets.

Read the relevant press release from the Climate Group.

Download the report here.