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.
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
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.