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Corporations taking interest in renewable energy sources

Consumers are the influencers who ultimately drive the decision-making process of large companies – and not just in terms of what products companies are selling. In fact, consumers are more inclined to pay for the ‘experience’ of their purchase which involves all of the social and economical choices a company makes. Thus, as the push for greener energy sources consumes industrial nations worldwide, it’s no surprise that the companies who are taking note are more likely to see their efforts rewarded with the loyalty of their customers. Oil refiners are soon to feel the pressures of the demand for a reduction in carbon footprints from large companies and industry leaders within the coming years.

Most companies rely on fuel in some form for either product creation or distribution. For some, this reliance is much more impactful than for others. For instance, delivery services such as United Parcel Service (UPS) are centered around their ability to quickly distribute a multitude of goods from factory or warehouse to the consumer. The result is a heavy reliance on fuels to keep their company mobile.

Conventional gasoline and diesel have reigned supreme for decades as the choice fuel for many of these mobile companies (and even companies with less reliance on fuel for transportation). As newer generations who have taken an interest in environmental sustainability start filling the ranks as the largest group of consumers, the pressure is on for companies to truly start investing time, effort and even money in the procurement of long-term renewable energy resources such as natural gas, electricity and biofuels.

And these companies aren’t just ‘talking the talk’. UPS just announced that it would buy as much as 46 million gallons of renewable diesel over the next three years, effectively helping to displace 12% of petroleum-­based fuels in its ground fleet by 2017. And by 2020, UPS plans to double its goal of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Even companies with a secondary focus on distribution services are making pledges to reduce emissions by incorporating alternative fuel sources. Last week, 13 U.S.-based corporations signed the government’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge. The White House said the campaign would add USD 140 billion in low-carbon investments. These companies include: Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS and Walmart.

Coca-Cola plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and reduce its carbon footprint by 25% by the year 2020. And PepsiCo will continue to reduce their emissions through the use of electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas, alternative fuel vehicles and other fuel efficiency programs.

Even the aviation industry is taking a chunk out of the biofuel industry with United Airlines recently announcing a USD 30 million investment in aviation biofuels.

While renewable diesel still tends to flank the rear in terms of its popularity in the renewable resources category, the market is growing quickly – in part due to the increase in aviation biofuels. In the coming years, more companies are likely to follow suit and invest more efforts as well in renewable energy resources like natural gas, electricity, biofuels and renewable diesel.