Go RE100 steady and for sure!
RE100, an international network of companies that have committed to using electricity 100% generated by renewable energy in their businesses, has compiled a 2019 report. 28 Japanese companies have joined RE100. Famous major companies such as Ricoh, SEKISUI HOUSE, and ASKUL have committed their goals for each to achieve a decarbonized society. The report introduces trends, achievements, and examples of activities of member companies around the world, and according to the report, there are 211 RE100 companies worldwide.
It recorded the highest number of newly joined companies, increasing 56 companies in 2019. Nearly half of these companies are based in the Asia-Pacific region, and the rate of companies in countries other than Europe and the United States has increased. The RE100 started in the UK, and the diversity of this initiative seems to be increasing with each passing year.
The target year for operating businesses with 100% renewable energy varies from company to company and is around 2028 on average: Three out of four companies are aiming to achieve by 2030. Currently, more than 30 companies have already achieved 100% renewable electricity, and one in three has achieved 75% or more.
The report focuses on the leadership of the member companies. 44% of companies are encouraging related companies, such as raw material suppliers, to use renewable energy, and it is expected that PPA (Power Purchase Agreement), a method in which a company enters into a direct purchase contract with a power generation company, will increase further in the future. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer that is famous for Budweiser, generates electricity through PPA and seeks to increase the total amount of renewable energy by producing new energy rather than using existing energy.
As an example of activities for Budweiser, the company’s advertising strategy to strengthen the tendency that aims for a sustainable society through the RE100 commitment is also introduced. It is said that nearly 100 million people watch the live broadcast of the “Super Bowl,” the largest sporting event in the United States. In a commercial between broadcasting, the company declared that all electricity used to brew beer would be generated by renewable energy. A video of a wind power plant was played accompanied by Bob Dylan’s famous song “Blowin’ in the Wind” as a BGM. It received feedback from consumers about being high quality and innovative. The company plans to make breweries around the world shift to 100% renewable by 2025.
Adobe Systems, a computer software company known for its Photoshop and other products, has also announced that using renewable energy will help attract talented employees. The company started construction of a new building in June 2019. During its planning phase, an employee responsible for sustainability strategies recognized the encouraging interest in sustainability among employees. The company designed a building that does not use fossil fuels, and the building will be all-electric upon completion in 2022. It also set a goal of switching to 100% renewable electricity by 2035.
In this report, the ranking of countries where it is difficult to achieve the goal based on surveys of companies is posted. China is ranked first, followed by Japan in fourth. Despite the different reasons for each country, the barrier to the spread of renewable energy in Japan is that the cost of electricity generation is more expensive than other sources. According to a proposal submitted in June 2019 by the RE100 Members Group, which consists of member companies, to the government, in order to realize price-competitive renewable energy, it is required to creating a transmission and distribution network and to introduce wind power which can be expected to reduce costs. In the proposal, members have asked the Government to raise their 2030 renewable electricity target in Japan from 22-24% to 50%.
By the way, do you know the annual electricity consumption of countries? According to the RE100 report, the first place in 2018 was 6,349TWh in China. The second place was 4,099TWh in the United States, and Japan ranked fourth with 1,028TWh. The RE100 members in 2018 had a total electricity usage of 228TWh, which is equivalent to electricity usage in Indonesia or South Africa. If you look at the ranking in this way, you may feel that the proportion of renewable energy is low at the moment; however, by indicating by a figure, you will see that it is moving forward little by little toward the ideal state.