In the lead-up to Climate Week NYC 2017 next week, organizer The Climate Group has announced that The Estée Lauder Companies, Kellogg Company, DBS Bank Ltd and Clif Bar & Company are the latest to join its RE100 campaign – in which companies commit to sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity across their global operations – run in partnership with CDP. The 106 members of the campaign are now taking the total demand for renewable electricity to around 150 TWh annually – more than enough to power New York State.
“By joining our campaigns, corporates are demonstrating the highest level of commitment to climate action and setting an example at Climate Week NYC,” Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson said in a statement. “But they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts – renewable power makes business sense, and corporate leadership is absolutely key to delivering on the Paris Agreement at speed.”
Indeed: Its first annual report, released in January, highlights the speed of the corporate transition to cleaner energy. Many RE100 members have set a goal for achieving 100 percent renewable electricity before 2024, and at that time 11 members had already achieved that goal prior to 2015 – sending a clear market signal to governments and investors around the world that growing demand for renewable energy must be met sooner rather than later.
And RE100 members are already seeing the value of transitioning to renewable electricity - from financial savings and greater control over energy costs, to delivery on sustainability goals and enhanced reputations. General Motors, for example, has reported savings of 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.
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Estée Lauder – a global leader in prestige beauty focused on makeup, skin care, fragrance and hair care with a diverse portfolio of 25+ brands sold in 150 countries – has joined RE100 with a commitment to meet its 100 percent goal by 2020; the company reported powering its operations with 45 percent renewable electricity in 2016.
Nancy Mahon, SVP of Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability at Estée Lauder, said: “As a global company and citizen, we at The Estée Lauder Companies strongly believe that we all play a part in the fight against global climate change. We look forward to partnering with RE100 as we work together to protect our planet and ensure a healthier world for generations to come.”
Kellogg has committed to achieve its 100 percent renewable goal by 2050, aligned with its commitment to reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent. Having already achieved 20 percent renewable electricity through contracts with local utilities in Europe and the U.S. that are bringing more renewables to local grids, the company has an interim target for reaching 40 percent by 2020.
Diane Holdorf, Chief Sustainability Officer, Kellogg Company, said: “As one of the first ten companies to have approved science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets in 2015, we’ve already invested in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies. Going 100 percent renewable is the obvious next step; lowering business risk, generating financial savings, and helping other companies make the switch, as well.”
Meanwhile, Clif Bar has been purchasing renewable electricity certificates equivalent to 100 percent of its total operations for the last 10 years, and is now exploring more direct ways of sourcing renewable energy. As CEO Kevin Cleary said: “For over 15 years, Clif Bar has remained strongly committed to using renewable energy and taking climate action. We source 100 percent green power for our operations, and promote renewables among our employees, our supply chain partners and the public. Climate action simply demands our collective action, and coalitions like RE100 send a clear message that the global business community knows our future success depends on a low-carbon economy and that we will use our combined influence to shift the market.”
DBS Bank Ltd, a leading financial services group in Asia, has joined RE100 with a commitment to 100 percent renewable power and an interim goal of transferring its Singapore operations (65 percent of global total) to renewable electricity by 2030. Mike Power, COO for Technology and Operations at DBS Bank, and co-chair of the bank's Sustainability Council, said: “Adding renewables to our energy mix will complement our existing energy efficiency initiatives and accelerate our journey towards becoming an environmentally responsible corporate citizen. Joining RE100 will provide us the opportunity to collaborate with experts and other RE100 members to explore various renewable energy options available in the markets we operate in.”
Further corporate commitments to RE100 are expected during Climate Week NYC – during which the Climate Group will also launch its EV100 initiative, to boost the uptake of electric vehicles across the world, and make electric transport the new normal.