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Who’s Buying Renewable Energy?

Marc Gunther's picture
, FORTUNE magazine

Marc Gunther is a writer and speaker who focuses on business and the environment. He worked for 12 years as a senior writer at FORTUNE magazine, where he is now a contributing editor. His most...

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Here are 10 companies that are putting real dollars behind their sustainability rhetoric:

Kohl’s, Whole Foods Market, TD Bank, Swiss Re, Nordea Bank, Adobe Systems, Vestas Wind, News Corp., CLP Holdings and Deutsche Bank.

They’re leaders in buying renewable energy, according to a new report from Vestas and Bloomberg New Energy Finance called the Corporate Renewable Energy Index (CREX) 2011. It’s available for download here.

Those companies are in the top 10, the study says, when ranked by the percentage of the electricity they use that comes from renewable energy. Kohl’s and Whole Foods, for example, buy 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources. Most companies do this by buying renewable energy certificates (RECs). Here’s a table from the report; it’s much easier to read if you click on it to enlarge it: 

The report also ranks companies by their absolute purchases of renewable energy. Here Intel is No. 1, followed by Kohl’s, CLP Holdings, Whole Foods, Koninklijke KPN, Desutsche Post, Starbucks, News Corp., Koninklikke Phillips Electronics and Deutsche Bank.

Because electricity from clean energy costs more than electricity generated by burning fossil fuels, these companies are spending more for a commodity (electricity) than they need to. This tells you more about their commitment than a glossy CSR report. (Think about some “green” companies that don’t make this list, which is drawn from a universe of global publicly-traded companies.) There’s lots more data and analysis in the full report. [PDF, download].

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