In a signed statement sent to Government Leaders attending the Paris conference on climate change in December, ten of the largest global food companies united to urge political leaders across the world to take action on climate change that could “significantly change our world for the better”.
For Clearfleau there is some irony in this statement, having been an advocate of on-site generation of renewable energy for the last 8 years, with its ability to produce energy from food processing residues.
A recent article posted by Clearfleau Director Richard Gueterbock, “Will 2016 bring more stability for on-site renewables”, highlighted the concern that whilst European governments (including the British) extol the virtues of “green energy” they do not fully understand the opportunity for smaller scale decentralised energy generation.
The Global Food Companies Have Got It!
The signed statement from the CEO’s of leading global companies including Unilever and Nestle, clearly shows that they have “got it” saying: “We want the facilities where we make our products to be powered by renewable energy, with nothing going to waste, as corporate leaders, we have been working hard toward these ends, but we can and must do more”.
Many of the top companies are setting ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and driving sustainable sourcing in their supply chains. Mars, Unilever and Nestlé, for example, have each pledged to achieve 100 percent renewable energy across their operations. They are part of RE100, a global initiative to engage, support and showcase influential companies that are fully committed to using 100 percent renewable power, including more than 30 leading multi-national companies.
Major leading food brands are putting forward their own sustainability programmes, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deploy more renewable energy and curb deforestation. But, until recently most have been reluctant, along with the rest of industry, to speak up or lobby on behalf of decisive climate action. Also smaller companies need more support from Government if they are to change behaviour.
Companies signing the statement (see link below) are members of “Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy” (BICEP), an advocacy coalition of companies working with policymakers to develop meaningful energy and climate legislation.
It is the first time these businesses have publicly united to stress the need for a strong global climate deal, speaking out after the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as “COP21.
The UK Government can do Much More
On-site energy from biomass based renewable energy technologies, including Anaerobic Digestion, can provide base-load power and peak lopping capabilities. The UK needs more decentralised energy, generated at the point of use on industrial sites.
The Paris Climate Change Agreement, highlighted the need for Britain’s agri-food sector and other businesses to do more to help decarbonise their production processes, by making better use of their process residues. Yet British Ministers are failing to support development of decentralised energy solutions.
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has slashed its forecasts for new renewable power capacity by more than a third over the next decade…. Last year, DECC said 34 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable capacity would be built by 2025. Now, it has reduced this figure to 22GW, more than a third lower. At the same time it is being pilloried about the level of taxpayer support for a flawed Nuclear project.
Policy changes introduced since May 2015 are likely to increase UK emissions, according to BBC analysis published earlier this month. Carbon Brief’s analysis of DECC’s projections illustrates the department’s own understanding of how its policies have altered the UK’s energy path.
So, it would appear that the UK government is in denial and playing a game of “the Emperor’s new clothes”. Whilst publicly talking of their commitment to “green energy” and climate change, they are actually backtracking on their support for renewable energy. Moreover, DECC is causing instability in the sector with investors reluctant to support new projects until they see more commitment from Ministers.
The global food companies and investors in the British renewables industry need evidence this commitment goes deeper than cheap words and media soundbites.
The Full Transcript of the Signed StatementOpen