Corporate demand for renewable electricity: Interview with Dov Brachfeld and Tom Lindberg

We spoke with Dov Brachfeld in H&M’s sustainability department, and Tom Lindberg, Managing Director of ECOHZ, to hear more about H&M’s focus on renewable electricity and what this means to the industry.

Why is renewable electricity so important for H&M?

Dov (H&M): Of course we have goals to be as energy efficient as possible – the best kWh is the one that is not consumed, but it is not possible to completely avoid electricity use. So we made a decision to shift all the electricity use we can’t avoid to renewable sources, wherever this is credibly available. Sustainability is very important to us and addressing climate change is part of that. We know that using electricity from renewable sources reduces our carbon footprint.

And what is your ambition?

Dov (H&M): In 2011,15% of our electricity used in our offices, stores and warehouses globally came from renewable energy sources. In 2012 and 2013 this increased to 18%, and to 27% in 2014. This is equal to the yearly electricity usage of nearly 85,000 households. In 2015, H&M expects our commitment to 100% renewables in markets where this is credibly available and technically feasible to translate to around 80% overall. We’re also interested in contributing to new renewable capacity and increasing those areas where it is credibly available.

Tom (ECOHZ): 2015 has been an important year. Google is striving to power its company with 100% renewable energy up from its current 35%. This year Google and Apple have said that they will be increasing their commitment to renewable energy. We are so proud to see H&M, one of the world’s largest retailers, publicly commit to renewable electricity and blaze new trails on how corporations can easily do this.

How will this agreement help achieve H&M’s ambitions?

Tom (ECOHZ): H&M will buy Green-e certified RECs in North America, Guarantees of Origin (GO) and ECOHZ GO2 in Europe to ensure that its stores, warehouses and offices use an increased amount of renewable electricity while at the same time bringing more renewable electricity to the grid. In short, H&M will adopt ECOHZ GO2, a solution that both ensures documented renewable electricity and contributes to building new production resources for renewable electricity. H&M is the first company to buy ECOHZ GO2, bringing crucial top financing to a new small hydro plant in Norway.

Dov (H&M): What’s been important to us is that these solutions provide a tracking system so that we will ensure that we avoid double counting. We will reduce our emissions through structural and lasting change and also put more renewable electricity back on the grid over the lifetime of the hydro plant that we will help top finance.

What does this contract mean to the business community and the industry as a whole?

Tom (ECOHZ): There is little doubt that the world will need more renewable energy in the future. Business leadership is essential to make this happen. The numbers from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) in 2014 showed exactly the same trend that this agreement illustrates: the demand for renewable energy is surging.

Dov (H&M): Top financing the small hydro plant, Kroka 2, and ensuring that it gets built is a concrete outcome here. Just as concrete is the reduction of our absolute emissions to a level calculated to be below what climate science tells us is needed for keeping the global average temperature below the expected 2°C increase by 2050. We are using renewable electricity, bringing more electricity to the grid – and hopefully sending a very important signal to the market: we want and need more electricity from renewable sources.

Read the press release.