Growing number of corporations - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Industrial, Commercial, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 27, 2017

Almost half of Fortune 500s have clean energy goals

The number of Fortune 500 that are making public goals around reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using renewable energy and curbing their energy usual overall through energy efficiency continued to accelerate in 2016, according to a new report from investor and environmental groups including Ceres and the World Wildlife Fund.

More than half of largest U.S. companies — the Fortune 100 — have set one or more clean energy targets, according to the report; of the full Fortune 500, nearly half have at least one climate or clean energy target, up 5% from 2014. Accompanying that growth is rising ambition, with significant numbers of companies setting 100% renewable energy goals and science-based GHG reduction targets that align with the global goal of limiting global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius.

The report also highlights the financial benefits companies receive from their clean energy strategies: Nearly 80,000 emission-reducing projects by 190 Fortune 500 companies reporting data showed nearly $3.7 billion in savings in 2016 alone. The emission reductions from those efforts are equivalent to taking 45 coal-fired power plants offline every year, according to the report, which named Praxair Inc., IBM and Microsoft Corp. among those 190 companies.

The report, third in the "Power Forward" series focused on how U.S. businesses are pursuing low carbon strategies and saving millions in the process, is a joint effort between Ceres, WWF, Calvert Research and Management and CDP. Findings from "Power Forward 3.0: How the largest U.S. companies are capturing business value while addressing climate change," are based on 2016 company disclosures to CDP, which holds the world's largest collection of self-reported corporate environmental data, and other public sources.

"American businesses are leading the transition to a clean economy because it's smart business and it's what their customers want," Marty Spitzer, WWF's senior director of climate and renewable energy said in a statement. "Clean energy is fueling economic opportunity from coast to coast without regard for party line. Washington policies may slow this boom, but these companies are making it very clear that a transition to a low-carbon economy is inevitable."

The 240 companies with targets have set one or more of the following goals: GHG reductions, energy efficiency improvements, or renewable energy sourcing. Two hundred and eleven companies have set a GHG reduction goal, making it the most common target.

"We are encouraged to see significant improvement in both the number of Fortune 500 companies setting climate and clean energy goals and the ambition of those goals – in particular commitments to setting science-based and 100% renewable energy targets" Anne Kelly, senior director of policy and the BICEP network at Ceres, said in a statement. "But in order to meet our national and global emissions goals, more companies will need to join the champions highlighted in this report, both in setting goals and in becoming vocal advocates for continued federal and state policies in support of climate and clean energy progress."

In total, 10% of companies — 53 — have set renewable energy targets, and almost half of those — 23 — have committed to power 100% of their operations with renewable energy; among them: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., General Motors Co., Bank of America Corp., Google, Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., according to the report. The growth in the number and ambition of renewable energy commitments, the report says, is primarly the result of recent sharp declines in renewable energy costs, which saves companies money, and of price certainty that comes with renewable energy. 

Keywords: CDP, Ceres, wwf

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