Two big-name companies, telecommunications giant Vodafone and data storage behemoth Iron Mountain, have this week announced 100% renewable energy targets and committed to joining RE100, the initiative spurring corporate renewable energy targets around the world.
In the space of four days, RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), announced that Vodafone Group and Iron Mountain had both joined RE100 with individual targets to source 100% of their electricity needs from renewable energy sources.
Vodafone’s commitment will see it aim to secure 100% renewable energy by 2025 — up from its current position of only 13%. The company will focus primarily on signing long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that will also support the growth of renewable energy in markets around the world — though the company has acknowledged it will use a variety of efforts to meet its target, including buying renewable energy certificates.
“I’m delighted to welcome Vodafone Group to RE100,” said Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group. “Setting a target to source 100% renewable power by 2025 demonstrates real leadership and a commitment to be a driving force in the clean energy transition.”
Vodafone has committed to not only sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 but to also reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2025.
Iron Mountain, on the other hand, has set its goalposts a little further out, aiming to be 100% renewable energy by 2050. In addition, however, Iron Mountain will also use its new renewable energy commitment to ensure it meets its science-based target for lowering its greenhouse gas emissions levels — a target it has promised to set by the end of the year in cooperation with the Science Based Targets Initiative.
“We’re proud to be among the earliest adopters of renewable energy,” said William Meaney, president and chief executive officer of Iron Mountain. “Understanding the impact of our energy usage has led to the adoption of energy and greenhouse gas reduction strategies that are helping the company save money, reduce environmental impacts and better serve our customers. In making these commitments today, we are setting aggressive public goals with the endorsement of well-respected non-profit organizations, accelerating our efforts to foster strong economic growth while operating as a responsible, ethical and sustainable company.”
Iron Mountain currently has 1,400 facilities spread across 54 countries, meaning it has a significant carbon and energy footprint, as do all data storage companies. However, the company has also made impressive strides to mitigate its impact on the environment. In 2015 the company only secured 1% of its electricity from renewables, but this skyrocketed to 30% in 2017 — and all its data centers are now powered by renewable energy, and it has an on-site 6 megawatt (MW) solar installation.
“We applaud Iron Mountain for taking these important steps to address climate change,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. “By committing to 100 percent renewable electricity and setting an ambitious science-based carbon-reduction target, Iron Mountain is joining a growing number of major companies that understand the huge economic benefits and clear competitive advantage of climate action.”
The double announcements also serve as an important indicator of the continuing growth and longevity of corporate sourcing of renewable energy.
“We are very happy to welcome two significant new additions to RE100,” said Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Technical Director at CDP, who spoke to me via email about the double announcements.
“Vodafone’s target to source 100% of its power by 2025 shows real leadership in the clean energy transition, while Iron Mountain’s renewable target will help the company deliver on its own science-based target for lowering its emissions in line with the goals set in the Paris Agreement.
“Two more major companies committing shows the momentum behind setting renewable energy targets. More than 130 of the world’s pioneering companies – who together use as much power of Poland – have now joined RE100, while CDP data showed a 23% jump in companies setting renewable targets last year. These targets and their increasing uptake by global corporate leaders show how quickly the energy transition can happen.”