As awareness of climate change increases alongside stringent environmental targets, social acceptance of renewable energy technologies has also increased. As a result, consumers have increased expectations of suppliers of good and services to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, particularly in relation to renewable energy.
1) Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)
Either from an electricity supplier or direct engagement with a renewable electricity generator, in more recent times this has been referred to as a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement.
2) Production of renewable electricity
A business can invest in renewable technology to generate renewable electricity, which satisfies either part or all the businesses electricity demand.
RE100 is a collaborative, global initiative, that some of the world’s most influential companies have joined and committed to 100% renewable electricity. Companies who have committed to RE100 primarily adopt the methods mentioned above to ensure they achieve their targets. Sky is one of the companies committed to RE100, since 2010 all electricity consumed in the UK and Ireland has been 100% renewable. They currently adapt both the procurement of renewable electricity PPAs and have invested in renewable generators to meet some of their facilities demands, including technologies such as solar panels, biomass boilers, a trigeneration plant and a wind turbine.
It's not only large multinational companies that are committing to renewable energy, recently there has been an increase in ‘green procurement’, which focuses on sourcing and purchasing products and services that use fewer resources and minimises their impact on the environment.
Many countries have implemented the EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) and created action plans which detail minimum levels of compliance with environmental law, by which contractors and sub-contractors must demonstrate. One way in which, those tendering for work could demonstrate compliance with GPP is through sourcing their electricity from renewable generators. For private or multinational companies, the driver for green procurement may be demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
For companies who measure their carbon footprint, either for mandatory compliance (UK quoted companies – those listed on the London Stock Exchange) or for voluntary schemes (companies who have joined the Carbon Disclosure Project CDP), some of these companies choose to include scope 3 emissions in their own carbon footprint. Scope 3 emissions are those created outside a company’s direct control, i.e. from the goods or services they purchase, hence it is in the supplier’s benefit to demonstrate they have acted to reduce their own carbon footprint. One way in which they could demonstrate this is by committing to renewable energy.
With environmental awareness and targets only set to increase in the future, it stands to sense for businesses to begin exploring their options in relation to sourcing renewable energy, if they have not already done so. This will enable them to ensure business operation remains competitive with other companies such as those committed to RE100, who are leading the way.