Corporate sourcing of renewable electricity can be a major driver of the transition to a robust, zero-emissions economy, according to this year’s RE100 Annual Report, released today to coincide with the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

RE100 is the global, collaborative initiative of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

The report highlights the speed of the corporate transition to cleaner energy. Many RE100 members have set an end goal for achieving 100% renewable electricity before 2024, and 11 members already achieved 100% renewable electricity prior to 2015 – sending a clear market signal to governments and investors around the world that growing demand for renewable energy must be met sooner rather than later.

Based on the latest available electricity consumption data (2015) from RE100 members, other findings in today’s report show:

  • Member companies (87 and growing) are now creating demand for approximately 107 TWh of renewable power annually; around the same amount of electricity as consumed by The Netherlands;
  • Members making fastest progress towards their 100% renewable electricity targets include Goldman Sachs, which jumped from 14% renewable electricity in 2014 to 86% in 2015; Elopak, which went from 18% to 86% renewable during the same year; and H&M, which went from 27% to 78%;
  • Around half of the electricity being consumed by members reporting electricity use in the U.S. is from renewables, accounting for the highest amount of renewable electricity being sourced in any country worldwide (6.8 TWh in 2015, with unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases (RECs) being the most popular approach that year);
  • Almost all of electricity usage reported by members in Europe is from renewables (14.4 TWh in 2015, with an even split between unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases and green tariffs as the most popular approaches that year);
  • Nearly a quarter of the electricity usage reported by members in China is from renewables (0.4 TWh in 2015, with unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases being the most popular approach that year);
  • Around a tenth of RE100 electricity use being reported in India is from renewables (0.1 TWh in 2015, with Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) being the most popular approach that year, followed by on-site generation);
  • Of the 34 RE100 members reporting the use of self-generation on-site at their facilities, wind and solar PV were by far the most popular technologies.

The report also shows that, within the membership, Telecommunication Services is the closest sector to reaching 100% renewable electricity (97% in 2015).

Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group said: “It is really encouraging to see that more companies than ever are committing to bold climate action, helping us move towards a net zero-emissions economy. But we need to see faster progress. In order to deliver on the Paris Agreement and keep global warming well below two degrees, we need governments to remove policy barriers and create investment incentives that can provide easier access to renewable energy. And we need more business leaders to influence the usage of renewable power right along their supply chains.”

Speaking from Davos, Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, CDP said: “From the US to China, the global energy landscape is transforming before our eyes. The RE100 report shows this change is in no small part thanks to an increasing number of corporations demanding renewable energy. This powerful market signal should embolden investors to shift capital and spur policy makers to ensure an enabling environment to meet the growing appetite for renewable power.”

New RE100 members announced today

Also today, coinciding with the 2017 RE100 Annual Report launch, three major European businesses have joined the campaign; Danske Bank Group, Gatwick Airport Limited and Royal Philips, with a commitment to 100% renewable electricity across their global operations.

Danske Bank Group is a Nordic universal bank, headquartered in Copenhagen and listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen. The bank reached 100% renewable electricity in 2015 by purchasing unbundled renewable energy attribute certificates equivalent to its entire electricity consumption. Gatwick Airport Limited in the UK took a similar approach to become 100% renewable in 2013, and now has a further target to increase its share of direct purchasing by 2020. Leading Dutch health technology company Royal Philips has a goal of reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2020. Philips is currently working with four other international companies to sign long-term PPAs in the countries in which they all operate.

Frans van Houten, President and Chief Executive Officer at Royal Philips, who is co-chairing the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week, said: “We are the first generation that can really feel the impact of climate change and we believe we are the last generation that can do something about it.”

RE100 members recognise the value of transitioning to renewable electricity; from greater control over energy costs and financial savings, to delivery on sustainability goals and enhanced reputations.

General Motors has reported savings of US$5 million annually from using renewable energy, with this figure likely to increase significantly with prospective projects coming online and the supply of renewable energy increasing.

Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer at Mars, Incorporated, the first U.S. company to have joined RE100, said: “The rapid expansion of membership in RE100 is a great indicator of the momentum behind renewable electricity. The business case is now evident and we expect continued acceleration of corporate engagement.”

Click here for the full report.