RE100: Global corporate renewables procurement eclipses UK electricity use

RE100: Global corporate renewables procurement eclipses UK electricity use

Climate Group touts achievement as sign of catalysing role corporate clean energy procurement is having on clean energy markets and policy frameworks

The total electricity demand of companies signed up to the Climate Group’s corporate renewable energy initiative RE100 is now greater than that of the UK, the NGO has revealed this morning.

In a new update, the Climate Group said the growth of its RE100 initiative, which now covers 310 companies with $6.6tr in annual revenue, was evidence of how big businesses were increasingly abandoning fossil fuels and helping to drive the roll out of clean energy capacity worldwide.

Just seven years after the scheme’s launch, RE100’s corporate members now boast combined demand for clean energy of 334TWh annually, a figure that eclipses the 326TWh of electricity used by the UK last year.

Sam Kimmins, head of RE100 at the Climate Group, urged companies around the world to ditch fossil fuels and reap the economic benefits of switching to renewable power.

“Business demand for renewable electricity is racing past that of G7 countries, because it makes business sense as well as environmental sense,” he said. “But many hundreds more, big corporates are yet to take this relatively easy step towards net zero carbon.  To meet global climate targets, and to remain competitive in a world driven by cheap, clean electricity, it quickly needs to become the norm to power your business with renewables.”

The Climate Group has calculated that RE100 member companies, which include a host of blue chip brands such as Unilever, Apple, AB InBev, Microsoft, H&M, and BT, are collectively on track to save CO2 emissions equivalent to the burning of more than 118 million tonnes of coal annually.

COP26 President Alok Sharma commended the milestone and urged other companies to join the RE100 initiative ahead of the vital UN climate talks set to be held in Glasgow this autumn. “The rapid growth of RE100 demonstrates that businesses around the world support bold climate ambition,” he said. “We urge more companies to join RE100 ahead of COP26, and for governments to respond to this growing market demand for 100 per cent clean energy.”  

UK businesses signed up to the scheme have made the fastest progress in decarbonising their electricity sources of any other country group, RE100 revealed noting that only the US and Japan are better represented than the UK in the initiative.

On top of pledging to pivoting their operations to 100 per cent renewable power, RE100 members are committed to work together to influence clean energy policy and markets. The group claims to have played a role in the development of supportive clean energy policy frameworks in a range of countries, including the US, Japan, and Korea.

Gabrielle Giner, head of environmental sustainability at BT, said the scheme’s progress highlighted the importance of organisations to work together on climate solutions.

“As one of the first members of RE100, it’s great to see how the initiative has grown over the years,” she said. “RE100 has demonstrated the power of collaboration – bringing businesses and organisations together to send market demand signals for sustainable solutions.”

The update comes just days after the International Renewable Energy Agency published a new report reiterating how plummeting renewables costs meant new renewables projects provided the most cost-competitive form of new generation capacity in nearly two thirds of markets last year.

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