At the Global Sustainability Summit, on August 9 – 11, stakeholders in the food and consumer products industry will take a deep dive into sustainability challenges and solutions. John Martin and John Hoekstra of Summit sponsor, Schneider Electric, will be leading a session called Clean Tech Across The Portfolio: How Companies are Creatively Deploying Renewables to Reach Carbon Reduction Goals, Achieve Economic Prosperity, and Manage Risk. The following interview gives a preview about what you will learn.
What is Schneider Electric?
Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. The company’s Energy & Sustainability Services: Renewables & Clean Tech (RCT) group is a pioneering global supplier of renewable energy and clean technology products and services for commercial companies, including those in the retail, grocery, and food manufacturing sectors. The RCT group serves customers in over 100 countries and provides unparalleled experience and expertise on strategic renewable energy execution, having advised clients on more than 2.3 GW of new wind and solar capacity.
Can you outline some things companies should consider when looking to start using renewable energy or using more?
One initial consideration is what the company hopes to achieve by using renewable energy. Is the goal to save money? Reduce environmental impact? Engage stakeholders? Respond to requests by consumers or NGOs? Differentiate from the competition? Impact a local economy or community? The goals that a company has may alter the technology type, location, or flavor of renewable energy that it pursues. It’s also very useful to understand where a company has electricity consumption worldwide in order to match available products and technologies to those geographic regions.
Are there common misconceptions about using renewable energy that you can clarify for the CPG and retail industry?
One of the most common misrepresentations about renewables is that they are expensive. While it is true that in the past cost was a barrier to adoption, the price of renewables has dropped dramatically—and is predicted to continue to fall. Today, companies can use a portfolio approach to acquiring renewables or reducing their carbon footprint by combining traditional Energy Attribute Certificates (like RECs) with onsite solar and offsite generation. In some cases, companies may save money by using renewables because they have surpassed conventional fuels on price in many global markets.
What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year with your work?
The energy market is in a period of rapid and remarkable transformation. In the coming year, we can expect to see ever increasing advancement of renewable energy, supported by the accelerated growth of affordable storage technologies. This will allow more and more companies to adopt clean energy solutions for their business. Other, more radical changes—including widespread decentralized electricity grids, electric vehicle fleets, and more—are close behind.
What opportunities or trends do you see developing in the renewable energy or carbon reducing technology fields?
An advantage clean technology has over conventional electricity is rapid innovation. New developments in batteries, fuel cells, microgrids, microturbines, blockchain, and carbon capture—just to name a few— will continue to provide companies with new, increasingly affordable ways to meet their goals. Other trends include the adoption of science-based targets as a means to limit overall global warming to no more than 2 degrees. We find that our clients commonly set a science-based carbon reduction goal that is bolstered by their adoption of renewables in order to address climate action holistically. Now is an opportune time for companies to explore and take advantage of these opportunities for themselves, and, more broadly, for their supply chains (think Walmart’s gigaton reduction goal).
ABOUT THE GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT
The Global Sustainability Summit is the only event this year designed with the specific needs of the food retail and consumer products industry in mind. It is the one conference you will attend that will focus on the interconnected issues impacting retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. The Summit is designed BY the food and CPG industry FOR the food and CPG industry. Each element of the Summit will represent a deep dive into the serious issues impacting sustainability, offering real-life solutions to the important challenges as companies face an uncertain future. Find out more about the Summit here.
This Interview first appeared on the GMI/FMA Global Sustainability Summit website. To view the original, click here. John Martin and John Hoekstra will be speaking at the Summit on August 10th at 10am.