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RE100: Greener companies are outperforming their peers

A new report shows financial success for businesses leading in renewables, but it's unclear if they're already market leaders or if it's due to their climate-friendly policies.

Companies sourcing renewable electricity outperform their rivals financially, according to a new report released Tuesday from RE100, the initiative from the Climate Group that encourages firms to commit to using 100 percent renewable power.

The report, compiled with assistance from Capgemini Invent, compared the 2016/7 financial performance of the 152 RE100 companies, which include a host of high profile brands such as Vodafone, Sony and RBS, against more than 3,000 rival firms.

It found that across all sectors, RE100 members consistently perform better than non-members in terms of net profit margin and earnings before interests and taxes (EBIT), with the difference ranging from 0.3 to more than 7 percentage points.

The results suggest wider business benefits can accrue from cutting emissions, such as reduced energy costs and improved reputational standing, although the study is clear the results do not necessarily prove a causal link between renewables sourcing and financial performance. 

Across all sectors, RE100 members consistently perform better than non-members in terms of net profit margin and earnings before interests and taxes (EBIT).
However, it suggests "more companies should ... commit to transformational 100 percent renewable electricity targets, either because it can help a business to outperform its competitors, or to follow those market leaders establishing renewable electricity sourcing as a priority."

"For years now, RE100 members have been telling us that sourcing renewables provides tangible business benefits, from stable, affordable energy costs and lower business risk, to increased competitiveness and delivery on customer expectations," said Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson in a statement. "Now we have the figures to show that good business and good energy go hand in hand — no matter which of these comes first."

The Climate Group also announced Tuesday new members of the RE100 movement, including U.S. ride-hailing company Lyft, Mexican bakery giant Grupo Bimbo and Turkish menswear retailer Gürmen Group.

Meanwhile, hotel giant Hilton has confirmed it has joined the NGO's EP100 initiative, which encourages corporate action on energy efficiency.

"Being energy-smart and being business-smart goes hand in hand and this has to be norm, sooner rather than later to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius," said Clarkson. "We congratulate those going further and faster on climate action and we urge others to do the same — a win-win for emissions and the bottom line."

The announcements are among the first in an expected flurry of corporate statements to emerge from this week's Climate Week in New York, held in parallel with the United Nations General Assembly.

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