RE100 is a global, collaborative initiative of businesses committed to using 100% renewable electricity, accelerating the transformation of the global energy market towards a low carbon economy.
Since launching at Climate Week NYC in 2014, RE100 has just reached a major milestone of 100 members with the addition of AkzoNobel, AXA, Burberry and Carlsberg Group.
“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,” stated Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
— The Climate Group (@ClimateGroup) July 11, 2017
RE100 supports and promotes businesses making their global operations sustainable, with a powerhouse membership with a total revenue of about US$2.5 trillion. The four new members to take it to 100 members:
AkzoNobel, the Dutch paints and coatings company, is the second largest electricity user to join RE100 after Walmart, consuming around 16 TWh annually. It plans to be carbon-neutral and use 100% renewable energy (heat and electricity) by 2050.
The French insurance giant AXA is also targeting 100% renewable electricity by 2025. To that end it’s buying electricity directly from providers and compensating for non-renewable electricity.
Burberry is aiming to procure 100% of its electricity from renewable sources to power its entire business by 2022.
The Carlsberg Group, one of the world’s biggest brewers, is switching to 100% renewable electricity at its breweries by 2022, part of a wider target to become carbon neutral in 2030.
“At Carlsberg our founders had a passion for brewing for a better today and tomorrow,” The Carlsberg Group’s Sustainability Director Simon Boas Hoffmeyer said.
“170 years later we are still driven by this sense of purpose. We are shifting to 100% renewable electricity by 2022 because it is the right thing to do, both for us as a business and for society as a whole.”
The initiative already includes Apple, Facebook, Google and Unilever, and counts 30 Global Fortune 500 companies in sectors ranging from Information Technology to automobile manufacturing.
Together, they are 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.
RE100 is a project of The Climate Group, an international non-profit with offices in Beijing, London, New Delhi and New York. Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, said that “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 wanted to lead by example, and support a movement towards a low carbon economy,” commented Pia Heidenmark Cook, Acting Chief Sustainability Officer for the IKEA Group, a founding member of RE100. “We are excited that so many companies have joined – it simply shows renewables are the right thing to do for the business.”
— The Climate Group (@ClimateGroup) July 13, 2017
As Bloomberg notes, the RE100 member companies are “following a path forged by technology companies including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which expects to be powered entirely by clean energy this year.” That said, “renewable electricity is no longer just a tech story. Corporations are finding that wind and solar power is competitive with thermal fuels, including gas-fired generation.”
RE100 members’ key sustainability statistics in this latest update:
• 2016 saw record additions of installed renewable energy capacity, rapidly falling costs for solar PV and wind power, and the decoupling of economic growth and energy-related CO2 emissions for the third year running.
• Renewable power accounted for more than half of all new net electricity generation for the first time in 2016, with renewables surpassing coal to become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world.
• Equipment prices for solar PV fell by 80% between 2009 and 2015.
• Solar and wind power is now either the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries.
• 765 companies and investors are now committed to climate action through We Mean Business.
• The number of people employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016 was 9.8 million.
• Capacity from renewable sources is expected to grow faster than oil, gas coal or nuclear power in the next five years.
“For the first time in my career, it’s very encouraging to realize we’re actually ‘winning’ on a global scale,” said The Climate Group’s Sam Kimmins.
“Our ‘small dent’ is becoming a mighty crack in the status quo… our members are stepping in with calls for bold action – backed up with gigawatt-scale, business focused investments in renewable electricity infrastructure,” he added.
“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.”