Over the past two days, policymakers from around the world gathered at the Ninth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9) in Copenhagen, Denmark. CEM is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy.

The theme for this year’s event was around innovation and competition in moving towards a low-carbon world.

For the past several years, WBCSD has worked to represent the voice of business at CEM meetings and has become a key contributor to the CEM Campaign on Corporate Sourcing of Renewables – especially through the Corporate Renewable PPA Forum – designed to help companies implement renewable commitments – including company targets or commitments made with RE100.

This year, alongside the CEM in Copenhagen, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), WBCSD and other NGO partners co-hosted a session on corporate sourcing of renewables, profiling companies who have implemented renewable sourcing strategies.

During the session, a number of companies, including ABInBev, Novo Nordisk, Google and Philips Lighting, cited their commitments to reduce climate impact as the major driver behind their corporate strategies on purchasing renewable power. They also discussed the economic argument of lower and predictable costs.

On the public-sector side, representatives from the governments of Mexico and Germany observed that the variety of options for corporate sourcing of renewables work best in liberalized markets and when all stakeholders of the renewable supply chain are involved. Governments should pay particular attention to establishing a credible and transparent green certificate system.

At the event, IRENA also released the first global, comprehensive analysis of corporate sourcing of renewable electricity. In it, IRENA finds that corporate sourcing occurs in roughly a third of the world’s countries and has reached a market size of 465 TWh, similar to France’s overall electricity demand.

Alongside the report, IRENA, WBCSD and campaign partners Business Renewables Center (BRC), Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), Clean Energy Investment Accelerator, The Climate Group (TCG) and Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) (RE100), RE-Source Platform, World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published a set of policy recommendations to harness the full potential of corporate sourcing of renewables.

Because relatively few policy adjustments can create an enabling framework and drive a quick market pick-up, particularly in less-regulated power markets, these policy recommendations mark a significant step forward.  

Looking ahead, the uptake of renewable sourcing globally, particularly by small and medium companies, will critically depend on the market developing flexible options that cater to varying volumes and time frames.

This event helped bring the right players into the room to ensure that corporate sourcing of renewables – and global innovation – is trending towards low-carbon.