Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Goldman Sachs are among the latest large multinational companies to pledge to move their businesses to renewable energy.
Representatives from these organizations spoke on a discussion panel on the last day of Climate Week NYC in September.
The Climate Week discussion panel was run by the RE100 campaign, a global initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. The goal of RE100 is to support, recruit, and showcase businesses which are committed to renewable energy. The panel featured Anthony Cammarata, Managing Director, Global Head of Facilities Management at Goldman Sachs; Hannah Jones, Chief Sustainability Officer at Nike; and Len Sauers, Vice President for Global Sustainability at Procter & Gamble. All three representatives used Climate Week to make a clear public commitment to transitioning their companies to renewable energy.
The three big corporations are among nine that joined the RE100 initiative during this year’s Climate Week NYC, bringing RE100’s total corporate membership to 36. That number includes some very big players, including Unilever, IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, and Mars Incorporated. RE100 member businesses are based all over the world – the reach of the renewables movement is global. Nike’s Hannah Jones said on the discussion panel that “RE100 sends a signal to market that there is new business in town, that rapidly transitioning to 100% renewables is good business for a lot of people.” With increasing public awareness of impending climate change, companies that move towards a more sustainable existence get a public relations boost. It’s good for these companies to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce emissions in the interest of slowing climate change, but that commitment is easier for them to make if there’s good business sense in it.
Green Movement Moving Beyond Tech Giants
Tech giants Like Amazon, Google, and Apple have been pioneers in the renewable energy trend for many years, with Google and Apple powering large data centers on renewable energy and Amazon investing in large wind farms. But RE100, with its dozens of influential member companies, shows that anyone can go green. Their list of members is even more impressive when you consider that RE100 was launched only a year ago at Climate Week NYC 2014 – it’s evident that these businesses are in tune with what the public wants from the companies they do business with. A coalition like RE100 helps to organize the players and encourage others to commit to the same renewable goals.
The changeover to renewable energy can’t be instantaneous, of course, but the goals made public at Climate Week are ambitious and show how serious the new RE100 members are about making important changes. Goldman Sachs aims to be 100% renewable by 2020, and Nike hopes to do the same by 2025. Procter & Gamble plans to be at 30% renewable by 2020.
The private sector, including businesses and manufacturing, accounts for over half of the world’s total electricity consumption. When the biggest players decide they’re putting more thought into where their power comes from, it’s a sign of global change in the right direction.