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How big brands are using renewable energy to their advantage

BY ADAM MAIDMENT on how some of the world's biggest brands have embraced green power and the lessons to be learned.

Being green is more of a necessity than a lifestyle these days, with more awareness being built on the fact that the more conventional resources of energy on the planet are finite. So it was only a matter of time before some of the leading brands in the world would start to go green – but what are they doing?

The latest infographic from makeitcheaper looks at five of the biggest brands right now and what they’re doing to turn their businesses, and their ways of working, into eco-friendly companies. Last month, it was reported that Bill Gates is going to be investing around US$2 billion over the next five years into renewable technology initiatives – a move that most likely will cause many other CEOs and business-owners to follow a similar suit.

Microsoft

Whilst Gates may no longer work at Microsoft, it seems the company still shares similar interests with their previous chairman as the company is determined to become a green company. Since 2013, the company has been committed to being carbon neutral and states that being environmentally sustainable is one of their most important business practices.

Just recently, the company signed two separate 20-year agreements for wind energy – 175 MW of energy from Illinois and 110 MW from Texas. Microsoft has also clamped down on the energy use that its staff are using too by implementing an internal carbon fee. Individual departments are responsible for their energy use and must pay an appropriate fee for any carbon emissions. This then goes into the company’s investment fund for their carbon neutral plan.

Sony

Meanwhile, in 2008 Sony stated that it “acknowledges that our businesses have an impact on the environment” and that it “aims to provide more environmentally friendly products and services to our customers”. In the same year the company was able to reduce its CO2 emissions by 92,000 tons through renewable energy alone.

Sony aims to reduce its annual energy consumption by 30% by 2020, which works out at around 300,000 tons of CO2. It will do this by continued use of renewable energy and by improving production lines to ease their environmental footprints. Sony's Austrian manufacturing site is also one of only a small few in Europe that uses 100% renewable energy, whilst the company has been the largest purchaser of green energy in Japan since 2012.

Google

Google has been carbon neutral since way back in 2007 and are 35% of the way towards becoming a 100% renewable company. It has invested over $2 billion in renewable energy products, with $300 million of this coming from an investment in 25,000 rooftop power plants. Google runs cogeneration units at its corporate campuses which help to convert gas from local landfills into heat and electricity.

The search engine giant recently invested $76 million towards a wind farm in Oklahoma and has contributed $145 million towards the funding of a solar facility in California that will help generate power to supply 10,000 homes and will create over 650 jobs. Not only that, but the company also boasts the world’s largest corporate solar panel at its headquarters.

IKEA

It’s not only Google that has ambitions to be a 100% renewable company. By 2020, Ikea is determined to be completely run on renewable energy. By the end of 2015, it believes it will have reached 70% of that goal by meeting its total energy consumption through renewables. IKEA has committed £1.5 billion towards its investment into solar and wind energy with the company owning wind farms all over the world.

In its 2014 Sustainability Report, IKEA announced that it would be installing 550,000 solar panels on 120 of its stores and warehouses across the world. By the end of 2016 its energy consuming products will be, on average, 50% more energy efficient than eight years previously. The company also plans to have all its electric hobs to be switched to energy efficient induction hobs and its entire lighting range switched to LED. It intends to offer the most energy efficient home appliances at the lowest price by 2017.

Walmart

Walmart, the world's largest company by revenue, has also been working towards using 100% renewable energy - it is already 32% of the way there. Walmart has over 335 renewable energy projects around the world including wind farms, wholesale energy purchases and by working with the renewable energy industry to buy up more long-term power purchase agreements, it intends to meet its commitment of producing 7 billion kilowatthours of renewable energy by 2020.

Lessons to be learnt

So what lessons can be learnt from these leading brands? It’s unlikely that individuals can afford to invest in wind farms but by putting the effort into buying energy efficient products and being more self-aware of electrical use can still make a massive impact. It can even save money on energy bills.

Small businesses can also learn from these big brands and try to use as many renewable technologies as possible. They can also look for government schemes and initiatives to help fund the improvement of energy efficiency in their buildings and business. Have a look at the infographic for some more great insights into what our leading businesses are doing right now to go green.

FURTHER INORMATION

For an infographic on these big brands and what little small businesses can learn fromt them, see http://www.makeitcheaper.com/blog/small-business-renewable-energy.aspx#ixzz3hTASs9Ra

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Maidment is Digital PR Specialist at NeoMam Studios, an infographic design agency.
 

Posted 31/07/2015 by Libi Israeli

Tagged under: renewable energy , big brands , Microsoft , Sony , Ikea , Walmart , CO2 emissions , wind energy , Solar , Google

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