Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever, within its target of RE100, to become a ‘carbon neutral’ company by 2030, announced last week that its its factories, offices, R&D facilities, data centres, warehouses and distribution centres across five continents are now powered by 100% renewable grid electricity in the Five continents.
Unilever has worked with partners around the world to generate renewable electricity at their own locations, with solar energy being used at Unilever facilities in 18 countries. To the extent possible, Unilever’s transition to renewable electricity was accomplished through the support the development of local renewable energy markets, with 38% of grid electricity supplied through corporative energy purchase agreements (PPAs) and electricity tariffs. Green electricity.
Where it has not been feasible to do this, Unilever has purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) – openly-traded certificates linked to renewable electricity generation.
”On its RE100 goal as it works to become a ‘carbon neutral’ company by 2030. Through its membership of RE100, global companies like Unilever are sending a strong demand signal to the few markets where renewables remain harder to access. They want to be able to source renewable electricity locally at an affordable price – and they want to do that now,” said Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100 at The Climate Group.
Marc Engel, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Unilever, said: “Of course, there is more work to do, but we hope that today’s announcement will inspire further action elsewhere and help to prove that it is possible to combat the climate crisis and hold global warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius. Renewable is doable.”
A substantial contribution to today’s announcement comes from Unilever’s investment in energy efficiency programmes, which have led to a reduction in total energy consumption of 28%, and to the halving of carbon emissions per tonne of production since 2008, as well as the introduction of on-site solar electricity generation.
There have been no net on-costs to get to this point. Savings that Unilever was able to generate through mechanisms such as PPA’s have counterbalanced additional costs.