Why making the switch to renewables is the fastest action your company can take on climate
As the global race to achieve ambitious net zero targets gains momentum, every business around the world will face increasing pressure to rapidly reduce their emissions. Committing your corporation to a net zero or science-based target can be complex, but the simplest pathway to achieving the goal is to switch to 100% renewable energy.
Switching your corporation to renewable energy will bring benefits to both the planet and your business. To meet global commitments to the Paris Agreement, every business will need to rapidly lower emissions, and buying renewable energy is one of the most effective ways to achieve that.
“Purchasing renewable energy is a smart business strategy with a number of benefits including brand building, investor appeal and improved social licence to operate. Aside from these benefits, there are also good business reasons to commit at least part of your business electricity load to a long-term renewable energy purchase arrangement… many businesses view it as an opportunity to have certainty on electricity costs within a market with volatile grid electricity prices.”
~ Monica Richter, Business Renewables Centre Australia
“Pathways to Purchasing Renewable Energy”
To understand how your electricity purchasing contributes to your overall carbon emissions, you can look at your emissions breakdown by scope, and get a clear picture of where electricity is currently used to generate power:
Scope 1: These are your direct emissions that come directly from your owned operations (such as manufacturing, logistics, transportation, facilities).
Scope 2: These are your indirect emissions that come from the purchase of your electricity (this is either generated by the burning of fossil fuels like coal and gas, or through renewable sources like solar, wind or hydro)
Scope 3: These are your supply-chain emissions that you do not control, but which you directly impact (such as purchased goods and services, business travel, employee commuting, investments, leased assets)
As you can see, the purchase of your electricity is such a significant contributor that scope 2 is entirely dedicated to measuring these emissions. If you’re committed to emissions reduction through either a net zero target or a science-based target, you’ll need to measure and reduce your scope 1 and 2 emissions. By switching your corporate electricity to 100% renewable energy you can rapidly reduce your scope 2 emissions to zero.
If you want to accelerate your emissions reduction target further, you can then start to electrify areas of your operations that were previously powered by fossil fuels – for example, transitioning your corporate vehicle fleet from petrol or diesel to electric vehicles. By electrifying your scope 1 emissions, you are then effectively moving them into scope 2, and since your scope 2 emissions will be sourced by renewables, you’ll have slashed your carbon emissions.
Depending on the size and complexity of your business, there are a variety of pathways to achieving 100% renewable energy:
The most common pathways for a corporation to make the switch to renewable energy are through Greenpower (for smaller users of energy) and Power Purchase Agreements (for organisations with higher energy usage).
There are resources available to help businesses navigate the options – signing up to the RE100 initiative is a common starting point, and the Business Renewables Centre exists to help companies purchase large-scale renewable energy through PPAs.
(Image by Scott Webb via Unsplash)
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