ACCIONA, a global leader in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure, has pledged to achieve 100% carbon neutrality across its entire global operations by 2016.
Announcing the pledge at the UN Climate Summit in Paris, José Manuel Entrecanales, Chairman and CEO of ACCIONA, said:
“Our ambition is to be the most sustainable company in the world – in our choice of investments, in the services we deliver, and in the day to day of our business operations.”
“Henceforth, the mitigation of climate change will become ACCIONA’s top strategic objective, and we will achieve this by investing in new renewable energy capacity and by building resilient infrastructure for 21st century societies,” he added.
Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, occurs when a business is able to balance the CO2 emissions associated with its activities with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or by buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference.
ACCIONA, which was recently named the “greenest utility in the world” by Energy Intelligence, is the largest electricity producer exclusively dedicated to renewable energy, with 8,614MW of installed capacity in 15 countries.
José Manuel Entrecanales said that the Company plans to invest a further $2.5 billion in new renewable energy installations over the next five years, mostly in developing countries, to increase installed capacity to 10,500MW. On current trends, this will allow ACCIONA to avoid the emission of more than 20 million tonnes of CO2 a year – the equivalent of the annual output of more than 4 million vehicles.
Since ACCIONA began investing in renewables 25 years ago, the Company has avoided the emissions of 125 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of the 2014 carbon emissions of Denmark, Norway and Sweden combined.
In addition to its new renewable energy investment, ACCIONA will address the planet’s growing water stress by building new drinking water plants to supply 5 million people, and waste water treatment facilities for a population of 8 million, by 2020.
Through ACCIONA’s Microenergy Foundation, the Company will continue to contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative by providing solar home kits for remote rural hamlets in Mexico and Peru. Since 2009, 50,000 people have been able to replace their candles and kerosene lamps with sockets and light bulbs as a result of the Foundation’s “Luz en Casa” Programme. The scalability of this project is exponential. More than 1.3 billion people – one in five of the world’s population – live without electricity, including 34 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The new pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2016 follows the successful conclusion of ACCIONA’s first five-year Sustainability Master Plan, which reduced group CO2 emissions by 46% in five years and avoided the emission of 68.5 million tonnes of CO2thanks to ACCIONA’S renewable energy production.