Ultimately, systems like the power generation and transmission are decided by public policy – both ‘hard’ policies, such as laws and regulations, and ‘soft’ policies, such as subsidies and tax incentives.
This places an onus on us to advocate for progressive changes to public policy. These changes do not have to be huge to tip our key systems onto a more sustainable footing. Two prescient examples include a mandatory carbon price and the setting of science-based climate targets – both of which we are actively campaigning for.
As well as putting forward our case for change to policymakers, our approach to advocacy also rests on showing market demand for sustainable solutions. We believe this gives policymakers the confidence to take action. In this respect, we are working hard with similarly minded companies to ensure the market signals are positive.
In the case of clean energy, this strategy is “starting to resonate”, according to Aleksandra Klassen, Senior Impact Manager at RE100, a global alliance of 230 companies (including Unilever) committed to 100% renewable power.
“The good news is that easy access to renewables is a competitive advantage in a globalised economy… [and] governments from mature and developing markets are reviewing their policies in order to attract an influx of clean capital that will in turn help them to decarbonise their economies,” states Aleksandra.
Through alliances such as the We Mean Business Coalition (one of whose members is the RE100 coordinator, The Climate Group), we will continue to push for pro-climate market reforms. As well as increasing renewable production, it is also important to push for change in how power is currently distributed.
The volume of clean energy in some countries is now quite high, for instance, but the high price of electricity transmission prevents the cost reductions of renewable power being realised by corporate buyers.