Supermarket giant Woolworths has announced a 100% renewable power pledge that will see all of its operations powered by renewable energy by 2025.
The announcement came after Woolworths signed up to the RE100 initiative which boasts 268 members across 140 markets worldwide, and states that companies must achieve 100% renewable energy across its operations, and communicate their environmental journey to key stakeholders.
Woolworths says its 100% renewable power pledge marks the most significant announcement for a company of its size to become powered by renewable energy, which will see more than 2-terawatt-hours of power supplied by solar, wind and hydroelectric power.
Woolworths says in its Sustainability Plan that “our electricity use is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,” adding that “climate change impacts are already apparent in shifting weather patterns and extreme weather events. Global science tells us that we need to limit global warming to 1.5C to avoid the worst of these effects, and we have aligned our goal to decarbonise our business to this aim.”
“But we want to go further than that, and by 2050, and earlier if possible, we want to become a net positive business, supporting future generations by giving back more than we use,” Woolworths says.
Key amongst its environmental commitments is the pledge to transition its energy supply to 100% renewable power by 2025, powering all of its stores with renewable energy.
Other important environmental commitments made by Woolworths is its pledge to become a net positive business through encouraging regenerative farming practices, and make changes to its supply chain to ensure that zero food waste enters landfill by 2025.
Woolworths is aiming to become net positive in terms of its carbon emissions by the year 2025, reducing its emissions by 63% when compared to figures from 2015. Woolworths says that “in line with climate science, we aim to reach positive emissions for our operations no later than 2050, and much earlier if possible,” as well as detailing that “all new property developments will achieve a 4 Green Star design and as-built rating, and by 2025 we aim to have a 5 Green Star minimum standard.”
Woolworths has also said that 100% of its packaging will be sustainably produced by 2025, ensuring its suppliers are operating sustainably and to encourage healthier buying habits from its customers.
RE100’s Australian Coordinator, Jon Dee has said in a statement that “with Woolworths joining RE100, we expect that this will trigger a domino effect across Australia, with many more businesses stepping up to transition to 100% renewable energy.”
“As Australia’s largest retailer, Woolworths is demonstrating that renewable energy not only makes environmental senses, it makes business sense too,” Mr Dee added. “To date, 14 Australian companies with a combined market capitalisation of over $470 billion have joined RE100. Most will have switched to 100% renewable electricity for their operations before 2025.”
Woolworth’s CEO, Brad Banducci has issued a statement saying the company is responding to growing sentiment amongst its customers to move to a more environmentally responsible means of operating.
“We use around one per cent of Australia’s national electricity, so we have a unique opportunity to use our scale for good and make a real impact,” Banducci says. “Over the coming years, we’ll invest tens of millions of dollars into renewable energy partnerships and prioritise new green energy projects to spur growth in the industry and new jobs in the sector.”
“We believe this will not only be a positive for our business, but also contribute to a better tomorrow by making green energy accessible to more Australians,” he said.
According to a report from Renew Economy, “in terms of on-site generation, Woolworths flagged plans for a 320MW rooftop solar rollout back in 2010, but had installed little more than 1.2MW on 27 of its retail sites by 2015.”