Greenpeace reminds retailers of energy consumption

South Africa’s top five retailers, Pick n Pay, Game (Massmart), Spar, Woolworths and Shoprite, were reminded this week by international advocacy group Greenpeace, that they have a major role to play in shaping sustainable growth in the energy sector and need to champion the transition to 100% renewable energy. All five have extensive distribution and retail networks in Namibia.
The Greenpeace Africa report, ‘Shopping Clean – Retailers and Renewable Energy’ marks the launch of a new Greenpeace campaign ‘Renewable Energy Champions’ to get large retailers to commit to renewable energy.
The report details the current status of renewable energy investments and commitments from each of the top five retailers. They are ranked on four key criteria – 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 ten. 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 that will be rolled out this year. 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. 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 their scores” stated Penny-Jane Cooke, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.
If the annual electricity consumption for each of the top five retailers is compared to the average electricity consumption of households in South Africa, Pick and Pay, for example, could liberate enough electricity to supply 65,000 households. Woolworth’s electricity consumption is enough to power 55,000 households while Massmart could power 53,000 households. Collectively, the retailers can free up enough energy to power at least 178 400 households.
“This campaign provides an opportunity for Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar, Woolworths and Massmart to take the lead and show the millions of shoppers who support them that they really care about the future. Renewable energy provides a real opportunity to move away from a developmental path based on polluting coal and expensive nuclear power” added Cooke.
“Greenpeace believes that Pick n Pay, Massmart, Spar, Woolworths and Shoprite can lead South Africa to a clean energy future by making a commitment to 100% renewable energy. They also need to articulate how they will achieve this vision in the short and long term, make the required investments and take the next step by lobbying government to remove the barriers to renewable energy” she said.

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