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Business and government affirm climate commitments on World Environment Day

5 June 2020, 6:42 UTC 5 min read

Over 20 major companies have pledged ambitious climate action on World Environment Day today. As leaders from around the world discuss how to organise a green economic recovery after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over, these businesses are leading the charge by signing up to international non-profit The Climate Group’s corporate leadership initiatives on renewables (RE100), electric vehicles (EV100) and smart energy use (EP100). Together, these initiatives aim to drive carbon reductions at scale in the shortest time possible. 

Governments also have an important role to play. Today the Japanese Ministry of Defence becomes an Ambassador of the global RE100 initiative, the third Japanese government ministry to do so after the Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs.  Government support is crucial in order to promote and advocate for renewable energy in countries such as Japan, where it is currently difficult for companies to access affordable supply. 

Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, said: “On World Environment Day, it's encouraging to see such a display of corporate leadership on accelerating climate action and government endorsement of our RE100 initiative. By working together, businesses and policy makers can get us on track to achieving net zero emissions by the middle of the century.”  

More influential companies commit to 100% renewable power 

Five companies from Japan, Germany and Denmark today join the RE100 initiative across their global operations: 

  • One of Japan's largest pharmaceuticals, ONO Pharmaceutical, commits to 100% by 2050.  ONO is the first Japanese pharmaceutical company to join RE100.   

  • Continental, a Germany-based technology company, commits to sourcing 100% by 2040.  

  • Online e-commerce provider Zalando aims to reach 100% by 2025 by equipping their warehouses in Europe with solar panels and increasing their power purchase agreements (long-term contracts for purchasing electricity directly from renewable energy generators). 

  • Novozymes, the world's largest provider of enzyme and microbial technologies, commits to 100% by 2030.  

Dr Elmar Degenhart, CEO, Continental, said: “Continental is fully committed to the Paris climate agreement and our goal is to have a CO2-neutral value chain. As a technology company we are convinced that this is achievable. Our production processes will be CO2-neutral by 2040 and our supply chains and product usage by 2050.”  

Gyo Sagara, President, Representative Director, and CEO, ONO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD, said: “At Ono, we aim for a healthier and sounder society. We regard this as the last opportunity to pass on a rich and healthy society to the next generation. Joining the RE100 initiative is our important step to achieve our global renewable energy goals.”   

More companies set to switch tens of thousands of vehicles to electric by 2030 

Five UK businesses today join the EV100 initiative: 

  • UK energy provider OVO commits to transitioning its fleet and installing charging infrastructure to support electric vehicle (EV) uptake by employees. 

  • Business services provider Rentokil Initial plc commits to transitioning its fleet in the UK and Europe, with a view to expanding to its global fleet. 

  • Salary Sacrifice vehicle provider Tusker commits to switching its 20,000 vehicle customer fleet and increasing charging to support EV uptake by employees. 

  • Sustainable building materials and construction solutions company Tarmac commits to converting its 2,000 strong car and van fleet, as well as installing charging infrastructure for employees and customers at corporate locations across the UK. 

  • Drover, a flexible London-based vehicle subscription service, commits to transitioning its 30,000 customer vehicle fleet, motivated by concerns of air pollution and high CO2 levels caused by road transport. 

Paul Gilshan, CEO, Tusker, said: “Joining EV100 was a natural step in pledging our future commitments to the adoptions of EVs and so we’re proud to continue with this. With the (UK) plan to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2035, we’re confident we can support our drivers with the transition to EVs by EV100’s deadline of 2030.” 

Felix Leuschner, Founder & CEO, Drover, said: “The transport sector is a significant contributor to air pollution in the UK and across the world. Drover wants to be a pioneer in the electric vehicle market and play a significant part in enabling a large increase in the number of Zero-emission vehicles on the road and with that combat climate change. 

Companies make strides in energy productivity  

13 businesses from the financial services, facilities management and utilities sectors have all signed to up to EP100: 

  • Leading UK energy provider OVO has committed to doubling its energy productivity by 2030 based on a 2018 baseline, through measures such as the adoption of LED lighting and replacing inefficient chillers throughout its facilities.    

  • Netherlands-based global financial services company DLL Group pledges to increase the energy productivity of its operations within 10 years through resource optimization and employee behavioral changes such as reducing business travel.  

  • UK facilities management firm Derwent fm is committing to reduce its energy consumption by 40% by 2050 from a 2019/20 baseline.  

  • 10 companies* from Finland, the Netherlands, the Philippines and the UK are committing to owning, occupying and developing buildings that operate at net zero carbon emissions by 2030. They join EP100 via the World Green Building Council.   

Bill Stephenson, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of DLL, said: “Nothing is more important than the world we will pass along to our future generations.  That is why DLL is proud to become a member of EP100 and join other leading companies who are committed to improving their energy productivity.”  

Kate Weinberg, Director of Sustainability, OVO, said: "We all need to take action towards a world beyond carbon and businesses need to lead the way. In our sustainability strategy, Plan Zero, we pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions from our operations by 2030.  So we're proud to sign up to EP100 and EV100 crystallising our commitments to electrify our fleet and improve energy productivity."  

Today’s news comes as the United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC) launches a new campaign, Race to Zero, to encourage more companies, states and regions to pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The Under2 Coalition, for which The Climate Group acts as Secretariat, already has 19 members with net zero targets. These members have been globally recognized as part of the Climate Ambition Alliance: a group bringing together countries, businesses, investors, cities and regions that are working towards achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.