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Top green companies

EBR Staff Writer Published 27 October 2017

As many nations step up efforts for a transition to a low carbon future, businesses across the world have been accelerating their efforts to increase the use of renewable energy over the past few years. As private sector companies account for a significant part of the world’s electricity consumption, they have also become responsible for emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere.

Playing their role in addressing climate change issues, many companies across all the industries have committed to switch to 100% renewable energy. A sharp reduction in the prices of electricity generated from wind and solar power plants is also enabling companies to expand their usage of renewable energy.

It is estimated that prices of wind and solar power will be lower than those of electricity generated from coal or gas in most countries by 2030, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  Besides, costs involved in building solar power projects are estimated by fall by 47% by 2040, while those of wind projects are anticipated to decline by 32%. To keep a 2 degree Celsius average global warming threshold, 42% of power requirements will need to be met from renewable sources by 2030 globally, according to the projections made by the International Energy Agency.

Here is the list of top green companies:

Biogen: It is an US-based multinational biotechnology company that started meeting all its electricity needs from renewable energy sources in 2014, according a report by RE100, which was set up by The Climate Group and CDP. Biogen specializes in the discovery, development, and delivery of therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative, hematologic, and autoimmune diseases. By purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs) in the US and Guarantees of Origin in Denmark, Biogen has been powering its operations with renewable electricity since 2014.

Commerzbank: Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, Commerzbank is one of the leading global banking and financial services companies. The lender had begun meeting all its power needs from renewable energy sources from 2013, through purchase of Guarantees of Origin. Commerzbank is one of the major funders of renewable energy through the Centre of Competence Energy. As of 2016, it offered $5.7bn in loans to finance renewable energy projects. According to its website, the bank aims to reduce its own CO2 emissions by 70% by 2020, compared to its 2007 levels. As of January 2013, the lender met all the electricity needs for its 1,150 bank buildings in Germany from renewable energy sources. 











Image:As of 2016, Commerzbank offered $5.7bn in loans to finance renewable energy projects. Photo courtesy of Commerzbank AG.

KPN: Based in The Hague, Netherlands, KPN is a landline and mobile telecommunications company. In 2013, the company achieved the target of meeting its 100% electricity needs from renewable energy. KPN buys Guarantees of Origin for operations in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Microsoft: With headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft is a multinational technology company that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and services. The company started meeting all its electricity needs from renewable energy sources in 2014. In October 2017, Microsoft agreed to buy energy generated from GE’s 37MW Tullahennel wind farm in Ireland to support its cloud services in the country. In November 2016, the company signed two agreements to purchase electricity and renewable energy certificates from wind farms totaling 237MW in the US. The agreement increased Microsoft’s investment in wind energy to over 500MW in the US.

SAP: It is a German multinational software corporation that develops enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations. The company meets electricity needs of its entire operations globally through the purchase of RECs. SAP achieved its 100% renewable power target in 2014. While it produces a small amount of renewable power through solar panels in some locations, the company mainly depends on RECs for renewable electricity. In May 2017, the company had set a goal to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2025. According to its website, SAP has created a completely “green cloud” powered by 100% renewable electricity.












Image: SAP Headquarter, Building WDF01. Photo courtesy of MichaelBr90/Wikipedia.

Steelcase: Founded in 1912, it is an US-based furniture company that makes office furniture, architectural and technology products for office environments and the education, health care and retail industries. Since 2014, the company has invested in renewable energy credits equivalent to 100% of its global electricity consumption. In February 2016, the company executed a 12-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 25MW of wind power from Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power’s Grant Plains Wind Facility. The VPPA was expected to account for nearly half of Steelcase’s renewable energy purchases. Steelcase’s renewable energy usage stood at 198,263,220kwh in 2015.

Swiss Post: It is the national postal service of Switzerland that meets all its electricity needs through renewable energy. The company achieved the goal of 100% renewable power in 2008. Its solar power installations produce nearly 5GWh annually. It also meets its clean power needs by buying certified renewable electricity from the grid. The company claims that its entire fleet of electric vehicles is powered by green electricity produced in Switzerland, according to its website. The renewable energy is sourced from small-scale hydropower plants, biomass plants, solar plants or wind turbines. It also operates PV systems on the roofs of its letter and parcel centers in the country.












Image: Swiss Post solar power installations produce nearly 5GWh annually. Photo: Courtesy of Anusorn P nachol/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Voya Financial: Based in New York, New York, it is an American financial, retirement, investment and insurance firm. It buys wind energy credits equivalent to 100% of electricity consumption of entire operations. Voya Financial reached its target of 100% renewable power in 2015.