More Companies Set 100% Renewable Energy Goals in 2017

100% renewable energy goals 2017
Credit: Jaanus Jagomägi

This year, 100 was the magic number as a slew of influential companies made commitments to use 100% renewable electricity in the future.

The RE100 global initiative, which was created by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP in 2014, reached a major milestone over the summer. A total of 100 companies joined the initiative, committing publicly to source all of their electricity from renewables by a set year, CleanTechnica reported.

In July, Dutch paint and coatings company AkzoNobel, French insurance company AXA, luxury fashion brand Burberry, and the brewer Carlsberg Group all signed on. Since then, even more companies have joined the RE100, bringing the total to 118. Given that the cost of wind and solar power went down last year, the uptick in businesses jumping for renewables makes sense. The Motley Fool’s Travis Hoium called it “a no-brainer.”

Challenges abound, however. A report from David Gardiner and Associates in September found that major manufacturers in the United States have had a hard time accessing the clean energy they want due to state policies that limit procurement. Of the 160 manufacturing companies DG&A analyzed, 18% had set 100% renewable energy targets.

Another challenge is translating sustainability ambitions into concrete actions and specific information across an organization, RE100 noted in its guide to integrating renewable electricity into a supply chain, published last month. The guide pulls together insights from interviews with Apple, BT, and IKEA Range & Supply. Tips include building a comprehensive analysis of electricity consumption in the supply chain, getting support for ambitious targets from key decision makers, reporting on progress, and choosing incentives for suppliers carefully.

The hurdles to achieving 100% renewable energy goals, which include plenty of political uncertainty, haven’t stopped businesses around the world from stepping up to the plate in 2017. Here are some highlights from this year:

—In March, the world’s largest brewer AB InBev committed to 100% renewables by 2025, which RE100 says will make the company the largest corporate direct purchaser of renewable electricity in the global consumer goods sector.

—Three large Apple suppliers committed to using 100% renewable energy to manufacture components, bringing the total making that pledge to seven, the consumer electronics company said in April.

—LEGO said in May that the company had reached its 100% renewable energy goal three years ahead of schedule, with help from the completion of a 258-megawatt wind farm.

—In late May, consumer goods giant Unilever announced that its UK manufacturing sites were powered entirely by renewable energy.

Citigroup announced in September that it will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2020.

—A new wave of companies joined RE100 in September: the Estée Lauder Companies, Kellogg, DBS Bank Ltd., and Clif Bar & Company.

—Schneider Electric said in December that the company will use 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2030.

Mark your calendars: The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.

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