Global corporate leadership initiative RE100 announced late last week that several big-name companies had joined in commitment to securing 100% of their energy needs from renewable sources, including entertainment and electronics giant Sony Corporation.
RE100 — which is led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) — aims to inspire and support companies to make a commitment to source 100% of their energy needs from renewable energy sources, bringing together companies to collaborate and share their experiences. Toward the end of July, Japanese IT giant Fujitsu announced its own commitment to sourcing 100% of its needed electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050 in conjunction with its decision to join RE100, which pushed the number of companies partnered with RE100 up to 140.
Last week, however, RE100 was able to announce what it described as “the global entertainment industry’s biggest move on renewable electricity yet,” with one of the world’s largest electronics and entertainment companies, Sony Corporation, joining the RE100 initiative alongside other big names such as management consulting leader McKinsey & Company, global coworking and community company WeWork, and one of the oldest banks in Europe, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
“By stepping up and joining RE100 these leading companies are saying loud and clear that 100% renewables are the solution – they reduce business risk and drive down greenhouse gas emissions,” explained Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group. “By putting renewables at the heart of their business strategies, RE100 members are sending the demand signals needed for national governments to increase their own ambitions on clean energy.”
The announcements in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit to be held in San Franciso (September 12 – 14) which will see leaders from business, states, regions, and cities come together to collaborate on clean energy policy.
Sony’s announcement specifically builds on the company’s existing “Road to Zero” long-term environmental plan that aims to achieve a zero environmental footprint for the company’s operations and across the lifecycle of its products by 2050. Sony’s European sites are already powered by 100% renewable electricity, and now the company is expanding that goal to include its sites in North America and China. More specifically, Sony has announced that it will aim to use 100% renewable electricity for all its business sites by 2040 with an interim goal of 30% by 2030.
Sony also has its own mid-term targets underneath the “Green Management 2020” heading, which will see the company aim to use renewable energy equivalent to reducing CO2 emissions by 300,000 tonnes by fiscal-year 2020. The company will also accelerate the implementation of renewable energy in a range of areas, including the use of Renewable Energy Certificates and:
- Promote the installation of solar panels at manufacturing sites in Thailand, Japan, and elsewhere
- Within Japan, which contains many of Sony’s semiconductor manufacturing sites and has the largest energy consumption within the Sony Group, establish an intracompany electricity transfer plan generated at Sony sites. Consider supplying Sony sites through electrical grids owned by power companies with energy created by in-house generation facilities that use renewable energy such as solar panels
- Within Japan, work together with other RE100 member companies to strengthen outreach to renewable energy market to ensure sufficient and stable supply of economic renewable energy
“For many years, Sony has been an industry leader in actively addressing climate change and other environmental issues,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, President and CEO, Sony Corporation. “As part of our “Road to Zero” initiative to eliminate our environmental footprint, we are pleased to join RE100 and contribute to the realization of a society that operates on fully renewable energy.”
“We are excited to welcome Sony aboard RE100,” added Helen Clarkson. “From PlayStation and image sensors to consumer electronics, music, and film, this is the largest entertainment and technology business in the world stepping up and switching its entire operations to 100% renewable electricity. Sony is at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation and this commitment shows the global marketplace that renewable energy is the future.”
And The Rest
In addition to Sony’s commitment — which, given the size and nature of the company, has overshadowed the other three RE100 announcements — McKinsey & Company, WeWork, and RBS have all made their own 100% renewbale electricity commitments, made a little easier by the fact that each company operates in largely developed renewable energy markets. Specifically, McKinsey and RBS have both committed to sourcing 100% of their renewable electricity by 2025, while WeWork will aim to do so by 2023.
McKinsey & Company is the first management consultancy to join RE100 and will aim to accomplish its target by purchasing green tariffs and by working with its landlords where they provide the electricity in offices it leases. Where this is not possible, however, McKinsey will look to purchase energy attribute certificates.
“McKinsey has been researching and working with our clients on sustainability for more than a decade,” said Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company. “It is important to us that as firm we operate in a way that is environmentally sustainable. That is why we are going to become carbon neutral and why we are proud to be joining the RE100 group of companies who are demonstrating their leadership by committing to 100% renewable electricity.”
The Royal Bank of Scotland has already reduced its emissions by approximately 80% over the past three years and, after reaching 90% renewable electricity by 2020, the bank plans to reach 100% by 2025 using renewable energy attribute certificates equivalent to its Indian operations.
“We want to help build a cleaner, more sustainable economy for the future,” explained Kirsty Britz, Director of Sustainable Banking, RBS. “So we’re pleased to be joining the RE100 network as we work towards using 100 per cent renewables for all our electricity across our global operations. This is part of our work towards building a more sustainable bank; we lend to more renewables projects in the UK than any other bank, and we’ve recently changed our lending policies to ensure that we no longer fund high polluting projects like new coal fired power stations or new thermal coal mines.”
Finally, WeWork boasts locations in over 80 cities around the world, but has negligible energy consumption and expects to play a leading role in the clean energy transition by designing, building, and operating spaces powered by renewable electricity.
“Together with our global community, we are redefining the way we work, live and learn,” Miguel McKelvey, WeWork Co-founder and Chief Culture Officer, said. “As globally conscious citizens, we believe that WeWork has a responsibility and an opportunity to create a new forum for discussion and new forms of action. We have committed to making all of our global operations carbon-neutral by 2023.”
“We are also actively exploring sustainable sources and circular models for materials, and pushing the boundaries of how we design and operate spaces. Our company, employees, members and partners are dedicated to creating meaningful positive impact in our buildings, neighborhoods and cities and ultimately building a better future.”
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