Website Climate Change Question 5

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Question 5

Is at least 10% of the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy?
Dutch version: Is tenminste 10% van het elektriciteitverbruik van het merk (bedrijf) afkomstig van duurzame bronnen, zoals wind en zonne-energie?
German version: Bezieht der Markenhersteller mindestens 10% der Elektrizität aus erneuerbaren Quellen wie Wind- oder Solarenergie?

Reference

Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished), see also the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The good thing is that the net carbon emissions from these energy sources are very low.

With the Cool IT report (p.24 and further) and campaign, Greenpeace urges website companies to publish the percentages of green energy, and recommends website companies to:
- (partly) generate renewable energy e.g. by solar panels or wind mills and use this for own consumption(so does not sell their green certificates to the market), and/or;
- directly purchase green energy (through power purchase agreements)

Additional to Greenpeace recommendations, we ask website companies to:
- refer to green energy percentage of the electricity product as purchased from the power supplier (= so NOT the grid average)
- purchase green energy certificates or carbon credits, on the condition that the source is mentioned, and the additionality is described (see also special note below);

AND DOES NOT only:
- refer to average green energy percentages in the grid without any furthers statement if- or why this percentage can be attributed to the brand (company) electricity use. For example, the green electricity portion in the grid average could have been sold through certificates to other parties, and should therefore not be attributed twice.
- mention to use green energy without providing any further details, or information about the type of resource.

Special note on additionality
In the Netherlands and probably other countries as well (see Cool IT report p. 27 about 'Renewable energy credits'), there is a clear issue about additionality when buying green energy certificates or credits. It is often questionable if green certificates do really contribute to the development of green energy. For example, companies can buy and sell cheap Scandinavian hydroelectricity generated with dams that were built in the 60's. As those certificates are still abundant, there is no additionality to business-as-usual, and certainly no reduction of carbon emissions or incentive to further invest in renewable energy. Therefore, this is a point of attention, and we require website companies at least to be transparent about the source of the green energy certificates and credits.

Answering Guidelines

‘Yes’:

  • [Brand] reports for [year] to have used [??]% renewable energy on total electricity consumption. This was purchased [e.g. where, what certificates, what type of renewable energy?]/ this was generated by own [windmills/solar panels etc..].

?::

  • [Brand] does not communicate its renewable energy policy through its website. Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices.
  • [Brand] refers to the grid average of ??% renewable energy, but does account for the reason why this portion can be attributed to the brand.
  • [Brand] mentions to use green energy, but does not make clear from what kind of resource, or does not give any details.
  • [Brand] mentions the use of green energy, but does not specify what percentage this is of total energy use.

No::

  • [Brand] explicitly says not to ... (see link/see page...)

Further resources

Greenpeace - Clicking Clean Report 2015