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New frontiers in corporate leadership on renewable power ahead of Global Climate Action Summit - News

10 September 2018, 1:00 BST 8 min read

  • First in a series of corporate announcements in the week of the Global Climate Action Summit, San Francisco
  • Sony Corporation, one of the world’s largest electronics and entertainment companies, with consolidated sales of approximately $77 bn (FY2017), commits to sourcing 100% renewable electricity for its global operations – spanning Europe, North America, and Asia
  • McKinsey & Company – the first management consultancy to globally step up and join RE100 - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the innovative shared workplace company WeWork, also join RE100, commit to source 100% renewable electricity

San Francisco: In the global entertainment industry’s biggest move on renewable electricity yet, one of the world’s largest electronics and entertainment companies, Sony Corporation, joins RE100, alongside management consulting leader McKinsey & Company, global coworking and community company WeWork and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

RE100 is a global corporate leadership initiative led by The Climate Group  in partnership with CDP, bringing together more than 140 multinationals committed to 100% renewable power.

RE100 members are creating demand for 182.4 TWh of renewable energy per year – more than enough to power a medium sized country, such as Thailand or Poland. Their operations span a wide range of geographies and sectors, highlighting diverse business action in a pivotal year for clean energy leadership.  

Further corporate leadership announcements on clean energy are expected this week as leaders from business, states, regions and cities come together in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit (September 12-14). The Climate Group is leading work on Healthy Energy Systems and hosting the Under2 Coalition General Assembly (September 12).

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “By stepping up and joining RE100 these leading companies are saying loud and clear that 100% renewables are the solution – they reduce business risk and drive down greenhouse gas emissions. By putting renewables at the heart of their business strategies, RE100 members are sending the demand signals needed for national governments to increase their own ambitions on clean energy.” 

Welcoming Sony Corporation to RE100, she added: “We are excited to welcome Sony aboard RE100. From PlayStation® and image sensors to consumer electronics, music, and film, this is the largest entertainment and technology business in the world stepping up and switching its entire operations to 100% renewable electricity. Sony is at the forefront of cutting edge innovation and is showing the global market that renewable energy is the future.”

California Governor and Global Climate Action Summit Co-Chair, Edmund G Brown Jr., said:

“The Global Climate Action Summit is a call to action and these companies, with their bold commitment to clean energy, are setting the pace.”

Business leadership

Sony Corporation is the parent company of Sony Group, including Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Picture Entertainment, Sony Mobile Communications and more. By sourcing renewable energy, Sony has already avoided 154,000 tons of CO2 emissions since FY2016

Sony is now targeting 100% renewable electricity by 2040; 30% by 2030. Already sourcing 100% renewable electricity in Europe, its next steps will be in North America and China, and installing on-site solar panels in Thailand and Japan. Japan is home to Sony’s semiconductor manufacturing sites and accounts for the largest energy consumption within the Group. Here, Sony will establish a transfer scheme of electricity generated at Sony sites to fully utilize excess renewable electricity generated by on-site solar panels, while working with other RE100 members to call on Japanese energy companies to provide affordable and reliable supplies of renewable energy.

Kenichiro Yoshida, President and CEO, Sony Corporation, said: “For many years, Sony has been an industry leader in actively addressing climate change and other environmental issues. As part of our “Road to Zero” initiative to eliminate our environmental footprint, we are pleased to join RE100 and contribute to the realization of a society that operates on fully renewable energy.

“In anticipation of the coming autonomous driving era, Sony aims to contribute to the safety of mobility and to the reduction of environmental impact through its automotive CMOS image sensor business. We have positioned these initiatives as one of our pillars of our societal contribution from a long-term perspective. At the same time, we are also proactively taking measures to assess and minimize the impact of our overall business activities such as semiconductor manufacturing on the environment. By joining RE100, we hope to contribute to the expanded usage of renewable energy not only within Sony but by the industry at large”.

Paul Simpson, CEO, CDP, commented: “We are delighted that Sony Corporation has joined RE100 with a bold commitment to source 100% renewable electricity. This strong uptake of renewables will help them achieve their science-based target. One of the first to move in their industry, Sony is leading the pack in the transition to the new low-carbon economy, and we will be transparently tracking their progress along the way.”

He added: “With a heavy reliance on fossil fuels, Japan’s electricity market is a hard nut to crack if you’re looking to source 100% renewable electricity, but Sony is showing what can be done. We welcome Sony’s intention to work with RE100 peers to demonstrate growing demand to suppliers – just the kind of leadership we need to see.”

McKinsey & Company, WeWork and RBS operate in largely developed renewable energy markets. McKinsey & Company and RBS are both committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity by 2025, and WeWork is targeting 2023. McKinsey is the first management consultancy firm to join RE100 and is transitioning to 100% renewable electricity as part of its broader commitment to become carbon neutral. The firm plans to achieve this by purchasing green tariffs and by working with its landlords where they provide the electricity in offices it leases. Where this is not possible, it intends to purchase energy attribute certificates to send a clear demand signal and support the development of renewable energy in those markets.

Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company, said: “McKinsey has been researching and working with our clients on sustainability for more than a decade. It is important to us that as firm we operate in a way that is environmentally sustainable. That is why we are going to become carbon neutral and why we are proud to be joining the RE100 group of companies who are demonstrating their leadership by committing to 100% renewable electricity.”

Thanks to green tariffs purchased in the UK and Ireland, RBS has already reduced its emissions by approximately 80% over three years (391,000tCO2e in 2014 to 76,000tCO2e in 2017). After reaching 90% renewable electricity by 2020, RBS plans to reach 100% by 2025 using renewable energy attribute certificates equivalent to its Indian operations. In 2017, 80% of RBS’s energy project financing went to renewables. The bank has also been recognised as the UK’s largest lender to renewables projects by numbers of transactions from 2012-2017, according to InfraDeals, a renewables and infrastructure market-data provider.

Kirsty Britz, Director of Sustainable Banking, RBS, said: “We want to help build a cleaner, more sustainable economy for the future. So we’re pleased to be joining the RE100 network as we work towards using 100 per cent renewables for all our electricity across our global operations. This is part of our work towards building a more sustainable bank; we lend to more renewables projects in the UK than any other bank, and we’ve recently changed our lending policies to ensure that we no longer fund high polluting projects like new coal fired power stations or new thermal coal mines”.

Today, WeWork has locations in over 80 cities around the world. The company itself has negligible energy consumption and expects to play a leading role in the clean energy transition by designing, building and operating spaces powered by renewable electricity. Its sustainability strategy addresses the impact that the community of WeWork employees, members and partners can have on energy, materials and the health of spaces all around the world.

Miguel McKelvey, WeWork Co-founder and Chief Culture Officer, said: “Together with our global community, we are redefining the way we work, live and learn. As globally conscious citizens, we believe that WeWork has a responsibility and an opportunity to create a new forum for discussion and new forms of action. We have committed to making all of our global operations carbon-neutral by 2023.”

“We are also actively exploring sustainable sources and circular models for materials, and pushing the boundaries of how we design and operate spaces.  Our company, employees, members and partners are dedicated to creating meaningful positive impact in our buildings, neighborhoods and cities and ultimately building a better future.”

The new member announcements follow the launch of an RE100 leadership paper on how businesses can go further and faster in the transition to renewable electricity. Notable examples include taking a leadership position and influencing key stakeholders in more difficult market contexts (Sony, Japan) and setting global end goals in the near future (WeWork – 2023, McKinsey & Company, RBS – 2025).

About RE100

Led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDPRE100 is a collaborative initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power. Renewables are a smart business decision, providing greater control over energy costs while helping companies to deliver on emission reduction goals. RE100 members, including Global Fortune 500 companies, have a total revenue of over US$2.75 trillion and operate in a diverse range of sectors – from information technology to automobile manufacturing. Together, they send a powerful signal to policymakers and investors to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. Japan-CLP is the local engagement partner acting on behalf of The Climate Group in Japan. | #RE100

About The Climate Group

The Climate Group’s mission is to accelerate climate action to achieve a world of under 2°C of global warming. We do this by bringing together powerful networks of business and governments that shift global markets and policies. We focus on the greatest global opportunities for change, take innovation and solutions to scale, and build ambition and pace. We are an international non-profit organization, founded in 2004, with offices in London, New Delhi and New York.

Our business campaigns are brought to you as part of the We Mean Business coalition.

Visit and follow us on Twitter @ClimateGroup and Facebook @TheClimateGroup.

About CDP

CDP is an international non-profit that drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Voted number one climate research provider by investors and working with institutional investors with assets of US$87 trillion, we leverage investor and buyer power to motivate companies to disclose and manage their environmental impacts. Over 6,300 companies with some 55% of global market capitalization disclosed environmental data through CDP in 2017. This is in addition to the over 500 cities and 100 states and regions who disclosed, making CDP’s platform one of the richest sources of information globally on how companies and governments are driving environmental change. CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, is a founding member of the We Mean Business Coalition. Please visit or follow us @CDP to find out more.