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Most of world’s largest companies say clean energy is good business

Most of world’s largest companies say clean energy is good business
Business man with suit, backpack and helmet riding rented bicycle in Trafalgar Square in London.

Most of the world’s largest companies initiate and do not take cues from the government in taking efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and employ clean technologies, according to a new study.

“Power Forward: Why the World's Largest Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy,” a report co-authored by environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature, sustainability leadership consultant Ceres and investment management company Calvert Investments, found that majority of Fortune 100 companies have implemented renewable energy and emissions reductions targets.

In an interview with Fortune and Global 100 executives and assessment of public disclosures, it is revealed that 56 percent of them have set up their own emissions reduction goals while 13 percent have set up renewable energy goals.

Hence, these figures proved that many companies are shifting from short-term to long-term commitment to renewable energy, through strategies like Power Purchase Agreement and on-site clean energy projects.

Similarly, the study suggested that clean energy practices are becoming standard procedures for some of the largest and most profitable companies worldwide, including AT&T, DuPont, General Motors, HP, Sprint, and Walmart.

“The world’s largest companies are expanding their use of renewable energy because it makes good business sense – they see the value in diversifying their energy supply, mitigating fuel cost risk, cutting their energy-related emissions, and, in some cases, providing a physical asset with real value for the enterprise,” said Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President for Sustainability and Research Policy of Calvert Investments.

“We strongly encourage all companies to set renewable energy targets and disclose these commitments, which we believe will help companies—and those who invest in them—address clear risks and seize concrete opportunities,” he added.

However, despite remarkable progress, the report noted that some companies still lag behind due to inconsistent policies.

The report suggested that the United States’ policymakers should promote tax credits or other incentives that level the cost renewable energy sources, specifically the extension of the Production tax Credit for wind energy in the United States, which will expire this year. Additionally, Renewable Portfolio Standards should be adopted in all states and policy hurdles in states that prevent companies from contracting to buy the cheapest renewable power available should be removed.

Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres, said one can truly recognize the “value” when most of the world’s largest companies are investing in clean energy. “It speaks volumes that almost all of these companies set their renewable energy and greenhouse gas goals after the economic downturn, precisely because they understand the economic benefits of efficiency and renewable energy. We encourage lawmakers to support policies that help companies meet and strengthen their clean energy goals.” – Catherine Dominguez

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