Renewable energy is dismissed by some as being only for ‘greenies’ or as some kind of fringe technology, but a recent report has shown mainstream Fortune 500 companies are using it to save hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Collectively, they are saving about $1.1 billion dollars, according to the report put out by Ceres, David Gardiner & Associates, Calvert Investments, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Some of the companies and their annual savings mentioned are:
- UPS ($200 million)
- Cisco Systems ($151 million)
- PepsiCo ($120 million)
- United Continental ($104 million)
- General Motors ($73 million).
AT&T has installed 11 MW of renewable energy (as of 2013). Hewlett-Packard purchased 13% of their electricity from renewable sources in 2012. IBM has saved about $477 million from its efforts to conserve energy. Both Wal-Mart and Dell could save about one billion each through similar efforts.
“The world’s largest companies are demonstrating that investments in clean energy drive strong returns. Setting and meeting renewable energy targets helps companies and their shareholders to address clear risks and seize concrete opportunities, explained Bennett Freeman, a sustainability research and policy executive at Calvert.
UPS doesn’t invest in renewable energy because it is a ‘nice’ thing to do. They see it as a viable business opportunity, “At UPS, investment in renewable energy production is subject to a rigorous for return on investment. UPS has created a viable business model by developing, engineering, purchasing, overseeing construction, and operating the solar panel arrays in-house. By utilizing a direct ownership approach, UPS has uncovered valuable best practices to produce a strong return on its investment in current and future developments.”
Pepsico reportedly gets about 4% of its energy from renewables and wants to go fossil-fuel free by 2023 in the UK and Ireland. The fact that a mainstream corporation with a global impact wants to go fossil-fuel-free at all almost seems mind-boggling.
Wal-Mart is a leader among companies for solar power capacity, with about 89 MW. The huge chain has also been accused of overstating its efforts to begreen and using them as a PR strategy. A Grist article from several years ago, doubted Wal-Mart’s commitment to clean energy, saying it would take the retailer about 300 years to achieve 100% renewables at its current rate.
The same Fortune 500 companies listed in the Ceres report have also reduced their CO2 emissions by 58.3 million metric tons, which is similar to retiring about 15 coal power plants.