Big Business Leading the Way on Renewable Energy?

AirPollutionThinkProgress has a very encouraging report on nine major corporations, some of the biggest in the world, committing to reaching a goal of using 100% renewable energy and stop using fossil fuels. I’m talking Walmart, Goldman Sachs, Proctor and Gamble and several other really big companies. This is happening as multinational talks on addressing climate change continue in Paris.

Nine more giant corporations, including Nike and Walmart, pledged to transition to 100 percent renewable energy Wednesday. The announcement, made during Climate Week, is intended to show international governments that there is broad-based business support for going off fossil fuels in advance of the United Nations climate talks in December.

Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Salesforce, Starbucks, Steelcase, and Voya Financial also took the RE100 pledge, organized by the Climate Group, an international sustainability non-profit.

“Research shows that the most ambitious companies have seen a 27 percent return on their low carbon investments,” Mark Kenber, CEO of the Climate Group, said in a statement. “Today these companies are signaling loud and clear to COP21 negotiators that forward-thinking businesses back renewables and want to see a strong climate deal in Paris.”

Swiss bank UBS joined the pledge last week. In total, 36 companies have joined RE100 since it was launched at Climate Week last year.

Some of the companies are also part of a White House initiative for sustainability investment announced in July. Those companies, which include Goldman Sachs and Walmart, will invest $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and build more than 1,600 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy capacity.

This is really encouraging, I think. We’ve seen this happen more often, big corporations deciding to be good citizens, though obviously not all the time. We’ve seen it on LGBT issues, where the business community has been way ahead of the government in adopting policies that ensure equality for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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