Companies seize new markets in clean energy drive to cap global warming at 1.5°C

15 November 2018
  • RE100 initiative goes truly global with members now operating in over 140 markets;
  • 41% increase in amount of renewable electricity sourced by RE100 members in one year;
  • 37 leading members already sourcing over 95% renewable electricity globally.

London, UK: A dramatic upsurge in demand for renewable energy from ambitious multinational companies is now shifting markets away from fossil fuels in more than 140 markets worldwide, a new RE100 report reveals.

RE100 is the corporate leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power.

Identifying Japan, Australia, Mexico, Turkey and Taiwan as growth hotspots, the RE100 Progress and Insights Annual Report Moving To Truly Global Impact shows a 41% increase in renewable electricity sourced by RE100 companies in 2017, compared to 2016.

With the falling cost of renewables strengthening the business case for switching, 37 companies are already over 95% renewable, and six members reached their 100% goal for the first time.

RE100 now has 155 members with a total electricity demand greater than Argentina and Portugal combined – 188 TWh per year. If RE100 were a country, it would have the 23rd largest electricity consumption in the world. With a combined revenue of US$4.5 trillion – 5% of global GDP – the companies represent a major source of finance for clean energy infrastructure.

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “With so much depressing news at the moment, here we have a refreshing, positive story of how ambitious corporate action is changing the world for the better.

“We congratulate RE100 members on the progress they are making by building renewables into their growth strategies, and engaging policymakers and suppliers. This is what all leading multinationals should be doing.

“There’s no room for complacency – we’ve still some way to go – but this unstoppable momentum should give national governments the confidence to set more ambitious emissions reduction goals, in line with the latest science and no more than 1.5°C warming.”

Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, added: “Over the past year we’ve seen rapid geographic expansion of our membership that has transformed RE100 into a truly global movement. This is hugely exciting and has the potential to shift entire markets in places like Japan, where policymakers are taking note of the demand signal being sent by our members. 

“2019 will be all about building that demand across sectors and geographies with the highest potential to effect change, accelerating the clean energy systems of tomorrow.”

Other key findings:

  • More than three in four members are targeting 100% renewable electricity by or before 2030;
  • Most members are based in Europe (77), followed by North America (53), Asia (24), and Oceania (1) – with 10 of the 37 new joiners in 2018 based in Japan;
  • On average, members are sourcing over a third of their electricity from renewables (38% in 2017);
  • Several members have surpassed interim targets – showing businesses can go faster than they first expect;
  • IT companies lead on progress (averaging 73% renewable electricity in 2017), and there has been significant improvement from Health Care and Financials;
  • The highest share of renewable electricity is still being sourced in Europe (62% in 2017), with Denmark (93%), the UK (82%) and Switzerland (81%) coming out on top;
  • Renewable electricity sourced via power purchase agreements (PPAs) almost doubled in 2017, compared to 2016 – an increasingly popular sourcing method;
  • As last year, companies see the economic case as a key driver for going 100% renewable, and policy barriers are the most commonly cited barrier;
  • Increasingly, members are engaging with policymakers and suppliers to further increase the uptake of renewable electricity.

Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP Inc., which made the most progress of all RE100 members in 2017, sourcing 50% of its electricity from renewables in 2017 (compared to 16% in 2016), and surpassing its interim target of 40% by 2020 three years ahead of schedule, said:

“In light of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming issued in October 2018, it’s clear that businesses must accelerate their transition to renewable energy sources as a way to reduce the devastating consequences of climate change.

“We are committed to reaching our goal of using 100% renewable electricity in our global operations and urge other companies to aggressively set and pursue their own renewable energy goals, thereby ensuring a sustainable future for everyone.” 

Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science Based Targets and Renewable Energy, CDP, said:

“The global expansion of the RE100 initiative is a hugely encouraging indicator of the strengthening business case for renewable energy. As clean energy costs continue to plummet globally, and business leaders are becoming ever more aware of the risks of a high-carbon business model, it’s clear that renewable power is the future for global business.

“RE100 members are leading the market by showing it’s possible to go 100% renewable, and fast. This is precisely the kind of ambition the recent IPCC report on limiting climate change to 1.5°C demands. For the growing number of companies aligning their strategies with climate science, procuring renewable energy is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to meet their emissions reduction goals. As science-based target setting becomes standard business practice, the stage is set for companies everywhere to step up and commit to a 100% renewable future.”

Today’s RE100 report comes ahead of a major event in Amsterdam on November 20-21, bringing together renewable energy buyers and sellers. Organized by SolarPower Europe and WindEurope together with The Climate Group and CDP (RE100) and WBCSD, RE-Source 2018 is Europe’s premier PPA event, demonstrating the potential to expand corporate sourcing of renewables into new markets and industries.

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