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Nine huge US corporations pledge to go 100% renewable

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Some of the largest companies in the U.S. have joined a global project to commit to 100 per cent renewable energy, adding momentum towards a strong agreement to reduce carbon emissions at December’s UN Climate Conference in Paris.

walmart solar

Fortune 500-listed companies Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, NIKE, Inc, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Steelcase, Voya Financial, and Walmart have pledged to source 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable energy.

The pledges are part of the “RE100” global campaign by non-profit groups, The Climate Group and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which encourages companies to commit to 100 per cent renewable energy.

CEO of The Climate Group, Mark Kenber, said: “Research shows that the most ambitious companies have seen a 27 per cent return on their low carbon investments – no wonder new names keep joining RE100.

“Lowering risk, protecting against price rises, saving millions and boosting brand is what shaping a low carbon economy is all about,” Kenber said.

“Today these companies are signalling loud and clear to COP21 negotiators that forward-thinking businesses back renewables and want to see a strong climate deal in Paris.”

The private sector is key to reducing global carbon emissions as it accounts for more than half of the world’s electricity consumption.

Many of the companies joining RE100 have set target years for becoming ‘100% renewable’. Goldman Sachs has a goal to become 100% renewable by 2020; Johnson & Johnson by 2050; Nike by 2025; and Voya International by 2015. Steelcase became 100% powered by renewable electricity in 2014.

Kyung-Ah Park, Head of Environmental Markets Group of Goldman Sachs, said: “As a leading global financial institution, we have had a long standing commitment to finance and invest in clean energy around the world to help the transition to a low carbon economy. We are also committed to reducing our own carbon footprint, and will use 100 per cent renewable power to meet our global electricity needs by 2020.”

Eric Sprunk, Chief Operating Officer, NIKE, Inc.  said: “Climate change is a global issue that requires global solutions. We believe that collaboration is important to accelerate and scale sustainable innovations that have potential to change the world.”

A total of 35 companies around the world have joined RE100 since it was launched in 2014 with 12 participating companies; IKEA, Swiss Re, BT, Formula E, H&M, KPN, Nestlé, Philips, RELX Group, J. Safra Sarasin and YOOX Group and Mars, Incorporated


Elion Resources Group became the first Chinese company to join the campaign in March 2015, followed in May by the first Indian company Information Technology leader Infosys.

Last week saw the addition of Swiss financial services provider UBS, and earlier this week the first science-based company, Dutch business Royal DSM.

The U.S.’s business drive to a low carbon economy has been picking up speed recently. Goldman Sachs and Walmart were two of 13 companies in July to commit to reducing their emissions as part of the American Business Act on Climate pledge – and the White House is expected to announce new names next month.  

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  • If Trump and other climate change deniers turn out to be right, then the revolution in distributed renewable energy generation, electric vehicle transport and energy storage will only help to reduce health and environmental pollution for the benefit of the entire planet, especially in over populated areas, suffering the most, and democratise energy ownership at the same time.

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  • J&J have a target of 2050 for paying the difference between regular electricity and 100% offset? Why? Just pay someone to generate all your renewable energy offset. Why not have a 50% target as well? Taking the first step on the path is the hardest.

    • wideEyedPupil

      Agree, that’s just meaningless for a company to have a 2050 target without anything sooner. Bet each way pretty much. They could easily get to 2050 and push it out to 2075 and say oh well we set that target a long time ago. Has nothing to do with rapid emissions reductions. If it was a zero-carbon-embodied-energy target covering all the products they use and supply, well then it would more significant.

  • Beat Odermatt

    I wonder if a company in Australia has the “guts” and foresight to join RE100?

    • Maurice Oldis

      No-they are all umbilically joined to the backward thinking IPA and BCA

    • Peter Campbell

      Ikea is in Australia:
      “IKEA Australia’s sustainability manager Richard Wilson says the company plans to be using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
      The Canberra store will be the most sustainable and energy efficient IKEA in Australia with nearly 2000 solar panels, thick insulation, LED lights, and airlock revolving doors to retain comfortable temperatures throughout the year.
      The solar panels are on the store’s roof will produce enough energy to power 100 per cent of the store, or 106 family homes.
      “What we expect is in the heights of summer when you get the long daylight hours is it will fully power the store,” Mr Wilson said.”
      http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-life/ikea-canberra-says-store-construction-phase-is-almost-complete-20150810-giw6ij.html

      • Beat Odermatt

        Yes, companies like IKEA and UBS have operations in Australia. The public in Australia should learn more about these companies to enable them to get our support. I would love to see at least one of the large banks joining RE100 and what’s about Australian global companies like CSL? Where is a State Government of Council willing and able to join? The Commonwealth Government should join RE100 and show that Australia can lead in other areas outside sports and entertainment.

        • Peter Campbell

          “Where is a State Government of Council willing and able to join?” The ACT government has a 100% renewable energy target for electricity and has some policies in place that encourage electricity for transport.

          • Beat Odermatt

            What’s about the Government of Australia? Joining RE100 by the Government of Australia would be a challenging, affordable and wise move. It could show that Australia has moved to the 21st century after been held back in the coal age by Abbots flat earth society.

        • wideEyedPupil

          Banks are satans handmaidens, expect them to move last with enourmous florish and fanfair when they do. Westpac wins sustainable banking awards and meanwhile is vested in FF to their eyeballs. Hopefully greenwash precedes — rather than precludes — green action.

          • Beat Odermatt

            FF, do you mean Fossil Fuel or Fast Food? Clever banks shy away from Fossil Fuel as Fast Food is a lot less risky to them.

          • wideEyedPupil

            FF == fossil fuels. banks are one of the main obstacles to the divest movement. they carry a lot of influence on Australia’s corporate boards because they’re all heavily vested in FF (.i.e. exposed to losses and stranded assets defaulting on their loans)

  • neroden

    Some of these are big manufacturers, which is a big deal.