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Renewable Energy

How — and why — the world's biggest buyers deploy clean energy

February 10, 2018

What do the nation's biggest brick-and-mortar retailer, an e-commerce giant and the U.S. military have in common?

They are some of the world's biggest buyers of energy, and they are all scaling their efforts to procure renewables. 

Here, the heads of sustainability at Walmart and Amazon and former assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force (now head of RMI's Business Renewables Center) tackle sustainability solutions at a global scale with a focus on economic prosperity. 

Walmart has set aspirational sustainability commitments since 2005, said Sustainability Director Zach Freeze. 

"We are in thousands of communities," he said, which means that Walmart is positioned to transform markets by changing the way it procures energy across its huge supply chains. "We are positioning to share value; it makes sense for business and society." 

Amazon's Kara Hurst said that as a "frugal and cost-effective" company set on driving waste out of packaging and operations, energy sustainability fits into its sustainability framework. 

And RMI's Miranda Ballentine sees clean energy as a means to security, resilient to changing weather patterns and other disruptive forces. 

"Renewable energy is a supply-chain-free source of electrons that I can have on base to ensure my mission even if the grid goes down," she said.