6 June 2019, source, Sarah George at the edie newsroom

Transatlantic banking giant Barclays has pledged to source 100% renewable electricity by 2030, with an interim goal of 90% by 2025.

More than 170 companies have set 100% renewable targets under RE100 to date

More than 170 companies have set 100% renewable targets under RE100 to date

Given that the majority of its carbon footprint is currently accounted for by Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions, Barclays claims that the move will reduce its absolute global emissions by 80% by 2025.

In order to reach the new target, the company will sign a series of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with energy suppliers that own or operate external wind and solar projects across its two main markets – the UK and the US. These two markets account for 70% of the company’s total energy consumption.

Barclays has made the new commitment after joining The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, which has garnered the support of more than 170 companies to date. This week has also seen Australian insurance major QBE join the RE100, setting its 100% renewable electricity target for 2025.

“Banks have broad environmental and social impact – both through our own operational footprint and through the ways that we mobilise capital, advise clients and develop products,” Barclays’ global head of sustainability and citizenship Alsa Palanza said.

“Joining RE100 and committing to sourcing 100% of our electricity needs from renewable sources enables us to minimise our direct carbon emissions while we continue to work with our clients to help facilitate the global transition to less carbon-intensive sources of energy”.

According to the latest RE100 progress report, Barclays is far from alone in choosing to use PPAs to decarbonise its electricity mix. In 2017, 16% of the renewable electricity consumed by RE100 members was sourced through PPAs.

(Green) power surges

As of November 2018, 155 companies across 140 global markets had joined the RE100 initiative, with the group collectively sourcing 188TWh of clean power annually. RE100 members leverage a combined annual revenue of $4.5trn or 5% of global GDP, making the group a powerful source of financing for clean energy infrastructure.

The likes of 3MMerlin Entertainments and Vodafone are among the newest additions to the scheme, with The Climate Group aiming for 500 RE100 members by 2020. Earlier this month, Landsec and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) became the first two companies to join all three of The Climate Group’s business initiatives – RE100, EV100 and EP100, the latter of which focuses on energy efficiency.