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Mars signs new solar PPA to source 100% renewable power in Australia - News

31 May 2018, 1:00 BST 3 min read

Global confectionary giant and RE100 member Mars, Inc. has announced a corporate purchase of solar energy which will deliver 100% of the electricity needed to power its Australian operations by 2020.

Signing a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with renewable energy company Total Eren for the 200 MW Kiamal Solar Farm in Victoria, Mars will source electricity to match the power needs of its six Australian factories as well as two sales offices.

Mars was one of the first companies to join RE100, a global corporate leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, which now brings together more than 130 ambitious companies committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity.

The company is already using or purchasing renewable electricity to cover all of its operations in Belgium, Brazil, Lithuania, the UK and the US.

Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said, “Congratulations to Mars, one of the first RE100 pioneers to sign a power purchase agreement Down Under. As well as demonstrating to chocolate fans its high level of commitment to sustainability, investing in solar power is a sound business decision in light of fluctuating energy costs in Australia.”

A powerful business case

Mars’s announcement comes in the wake of volatile power prices in Australia, and as more and more Australian businesses choose to source cheaper renewable electricity to the benefit of their bottom line. 

Barry O’Sullivan, Mars Australia said, "The rise in electricity prices last year accelerated our plans to join Mars sites in the US, UK and 9 other countries in moving to renewable electricity. We acted quickly because the price volatility of energy in Australia made renewables the best option for our business, in addition to getting us closer to our commitment to eliminate greenhouse gasses from our operations by 2040."

The latest RE100 Progress and Insights Report revealed that 88% of RE100 members see the business case as an important driver for sourcing renewable electricity. As the price of renewables drops and becomes cost competitive with fossil fuels, switching energy sources makes increasing financial sense.

 Going further on corporate leadership

Mars has previously called on other companies to “double down in support of the Paris Agreement.” As part of its pledge to become ‘Sustainable in a Generation’, the company aims to reduce greenhouse gasses by 67% across its entire supply chain by 2040.

Kevin Rabinovitch, Mars Global VP Sustainability, said, “Last year we announced we’re spending a billion dollars in the next three years to start transforming our supply chain to get those impact reductions.”

He added, “We’ve made solid progress on the sustainability of our own operations since 2007, so now we’re in a good position to accelerate work and share lessons with our supply chain partners as we tackle impacts beyond our own operations.”

Sam Kimmins praised Mars’ leadership: “By adding renewables capacity and engaging suppliers, leaders like Mars can spur wider corporate action that can shift the local market away from fossil fuels and start bringing down the country’s high emissions.” 

A recent report by RE100 highlighted the importance of companies going beyond their own operations and engaging their supply chain in driving the clean energy transition. When doing so, global companies can further accelerate market change in favor of renewables.