9 Large Companies Pledge To Go 100% Renewable

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Originally published on Solar Love.

To listen to the right wing crazies tell it, global warming and climate change are fictions created by treehuggers and do-gooders on the left who want to interrupt the neverending flow of government dollars that prop up the global business community — those public spirited business leaders who are willing to trade away a nation’s sovereignty in order to squeeze out a few more shekels in profits. But what if using renewable energy actually increases profits instead of diminishing them? What would those hard-headed business people say then?

There’s Money In Renewables

RE100 is a global organization dedicated to getting leading business corporations to commit to using 100% renewable energy. Begun in 2014, it has already attracted several dozen major corporations. Now, 9 more have taken the 100% renewable energy pledge, including such internationally known companies as Nike, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Salesforce, Starbucks, Steelcase, and Voya Financial.

According to the RE100 website:

“RE100 is a global initiative to engage, support and showcase influential companies committed to using 100% renewable power. It is led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, and is supported by the We Mean Business coalition. RE100 shares the compelling business case for renewables, while working with others to address barriers to wide-scale adoption and to develop transparent reporting mechanisms for companies.

“The private sector accounts for more than half of the world’s electricity consumption. By massively increasing business demand for renewable power as a proportion of the energy it uses, RE100 will accelerate the transformation of the global energy market, enabling the transition to a prosperous low-carbon future.”

Mark Kenber, CEO of the Climate Group says, “Research shows that the most ambitious companies have seen a 27% return on their low carbon investments. Today these companies are signaling loud and clear to COP21 negotiators that forward thinking businesses back renewables and want to see a strong climate deal in Paris.”

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The Divestment Movement Gains Momentum

Ah, ha! Now it becomes clear. Rather than sucking money out of the economy, investments in low-carbon strategies pay off — big time, as Dick Cheney was fond of saying. That may be why the move among major financial organizations to divest themselves of investments in fossil fuels and extractive technologies is gaining steam. To date, 436 institutions representing $2.6 trillion in assets have pledged to stop investing in fossil fuels for either moral or financial reasons. Large pension funds and private companies make up 95% of the assets, according to an analysis released this week by Arabella Advisors.

“Mainstream financial views of fossil fuels will never be the same,” Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Daniel Fund, said recently. “It is increasingly clear that it is neither OK nor smart to be invested in fossil fuels.” The divestment movement has two primary components: The idea that owning fossil fuel investments is tantamount to funding climate change, and the idea that the fossil fuel industry itself is poised to lose value over the long term.

“The movement has exposed the embedded vulnerabilities in the fossil fuel industries, from carbon reserves that can never be burned to wasting of company funds on continued exploration for new fossil fuels that can never be used,” Dorsey said. “You are increasingly risking the value of your portfolio if you stay invested in fossil fuels.” Another analysis found that Massachusetts’ pension plan lost half a billion dollars in the last fiscal year through its fossil fuel investments, ThinkProgress reported this week.

The Takeaway

The US Congress remains one of the few bastions of climate deniers in the world, now that Australia’s Tony Abbott has been sent into exile by his own government. That is because they all feed at the money trough supplied by the Kock Brothers and their avaricious acolytes. The rest of the business community is waking up to the reality that there is money to be made in renewable energy investments. They are also starting to realize that it will be really bad for business if the Earth is destroyed and most of their potential customers are dead or dying.

Chew on that, David and Charles!

Photo Credit: Walmart

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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