Greenpeace urges South African retailers to commit on renewable energy

South Africa’s leading retailers – Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Massmart, Spar and Woolworths – have been urged by Greenpeace Africa to play a major role in shaping sustainable growth in the energy sector and champion the country’s transition to 100% renewable energy.

This has emerged from a recent report titled ‘Shopping Clean – Retailers and Renewable Energy’, which marks the launch of a new Greenpeace campaign ‘Renewable Energy Champions’.

The campaign, which is initially aimed at getting the country’s top five retailers to show solar energy some love, outlines how retail companies in South Africa have made a start in the transition to 100% renewable energy.

The retailers are ranked against one another on four key criteria, namely energy transparency, commitment to renewable energy, greenhouse gas mitigation and lobbying for clean renewable energy.

In the report, Woolworths ranks highest with an overall score of four out of 10. 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.

“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,” Penny-Jane Cooke, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa, said in a statement.

“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,” she explained.

Though the five leading South African retailers have begun to take steps towards a renewable-powered future, Cooke pointed out that the current levels of ambition were clearly inadequate, which means that there was significant room to improve.

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