How renewable friendly are SA’s top 5 retailers?
Fin24 - Apr 19th 2016, 09:41
Cape Town – South Africa’s top five retailers would make space for 178 400 households to connect to the grid without risking load shedding. All they have to do is become 100% dependent on renewable energy.
That’s the key finding in a report by Greenpeace Africa on Tuesday, which highlighted who was winning the race towards becoming 100% renewable energy.
This comes as Eskom pushes ahead with a plan to roll out electricity infrastructure to thousands of South Africans still living in the dark, while trying to ensure it can also meet that new demand without causing load shedding.
The Shopping Clean report details the status of renewable energy investments and commitments from each of the top five retailers in South Africa. The retailers were ranked against energy transparency, commitment to renewable energy, greenhouse gas mitigation, and lobbying for clean renewable energy.
Woolworths ranked highest against retailers Pick n Pay, Massmart, Spar, and Shoprite.
Woolworths and Pick n Pay currently have solar PV installations that contribute a small percentage of renewable energy to their overall operations. Massmart and Woolworths have both identified pilot solar PV projects for distribution centres and stores respectively that will be rolled out in 2016. Shoprite received the lowest ranking because of its lack of transparency with regard to the company’s energy information.
The report shows how the retailers can free up enough energy to power at least 178 400 households. As an example, the report shows how by removing itself from the grid, Pick n Pay would free up electricity for 65 000 households, Woolworths would free up 55 000 households, and Massmart would free up 53 000 households.
Retailers still have a long way to go – Cooke
“Ranking the five retailers against one another makes it clear that none of them are doing particularly well when it comes to a commitment to a 100% renewable energy vision,” explained Cooke.
“Also, none of the retailers are engaged in active lobbying for the barriers to renewable energy to be removed, which is an essential step if a 100% vision is to be achieved, and this has heavily impacted on their scores.”
“This campaign provides an opportunity for (the retailers) to take the lead and show the millions of South Africans who support them that they really care about the future of this country.
“Renewable energy provides a real opportunity for South Africa to move away from a developmental path based on polluting coal and expensive nuclear power.
“The five leading South African retailers have begun to take steps towards a renewable-powered future, but the current levels of ambition are clearly inadequate, which means that there is significant room to improve,” said Cooke.
“Greenpeace believes that Pick n Pay, Massmart, Spar, Woolworths, and Shoprite can lead South Africa to a clean energy future by making a commitment to 100% renewable energy.
"They also need to articulate how they will achieve this vision in the short and long term, make the required investments and take the next step by lobbying government to remove the barriers to renewable energy for the benefit of their loyal consumers and the country,” said Cooke.From Fin24.com
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