In the last couple of weeks, there has been a veritable scramble among corporate household names to make big renewable energy commitments.
Supermarket giant Tesco has pledged to go 100 per cent renewable this year in the UK, and by 2030 worldwide. Coca-Cola has pledged similar for all its European operations, while Whitbread, owners of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, its sourcing all its electricity from green sources.
LEGO has gone even further, managing to hit its existing all-renewables target three years ahead of schedule. Naturally, it celebrated by bulding a giant wind turbine out of its ubiquitous bricks.
While some outsource, some go DIY
While some companies are hitting their targets by buying in certified renewable energy, others are choosing to invest in the infrastructure themselves. It's a serious undertaking, requiring major planning.
From key stakes in wind farms across Europe to installing massive solar farms near manufacturing sites, some of the moves being made by these firms are eye-opening.
Big pledges become the norm
These familiar names of commerce are not the first to make sweeping moves towards green energy, and they won't be the last. It's perhaps the frequency of such announcements now – and the scale of ambitions - that is so striking.
Within companies of this sort of market size, gone are the twenty, thirty, forty per cents – there seems to be a clear move towards the standard being to go the whole way. In recent years, renewable generation has more than proved that it is more than up to producing the volumes required to do just this, so there's less and less of a convincing argument for fossil fuels.
Sustainability push is needed
Of course, these are major multinationals that can afford to plough millions into technology and resource-sourcing that both reduces long-term overheads and improves company reputation to boot.
Regardless, though, such moves do lay down a gauntlet to less carbon-conscious companies of similar size. It can also encourage smaller enterprises to explore how renewable technologies and energy efficiency can work for their own business models.
While the international message is ‘green growth’, there is a massive responsibility on businesses to clean up a lot more than their image.
There needs to be clear visions laid out to decarbonise manufacturing processes, packaging and transportation of goods, and big steps forward in recycling and waste management. It’s going to take time, but it has to already be in progress now – which means that moves like this can only be welcomed.