The renewable energy landscape is always changing, and at the forefront of the evolution are the biggest tech companies across the world. Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are the biggest consumers of renewable power globally and, as such, can immensely influence changes in the renewable energy space. In the past, the bar for sustainable power use in the corporate world has always been set higher every year, and 2021 will be no different.
Social justice has been huge in 2020, with the George Floyd protests and the Black Lives Matter movement sending shockwaves across every industry. Affecting far much more than police brutality, renewable energy will, without a doubt, be affected as well. Social justice is expected to be a crucial consideration in the procurement of renewable energy next year. Companies are expected to do more than evaluate their workforce’s diversity and integrate social justice into their corporate culture and business practices.
Microsoft is establishing an inventive model that many anticipate other companies will emulate in the future. The company committed to working with under-resourced communities to build a 500-megawatt portfolio of solar energy. Microsoft plans to develop these products and partner with local administration, and prioritize minority and women-owned businesses. In addition to the under-resourced communities, the company will also work with communities without access to clean energy benefits and those disproportionately affected by pollution.
Salesforce, a mid-sized company, is also a leader in this space. The company recently published a paper named ‘More than a Megawatt,’ which contains a launching framework and expert guidance on maximizing the positive use of renewable energy while minimizing its disadvantages.
These two are not the only ones, however. Multiple corporate buyers are looking into how to evaluate social criteria to be used when choosing a renewable power project to purchase power. Some of the factors to be considered include how the project benefits the community, such as by creating employment and tax revenue while reducing pollution and how the power supplier works with its employees, especially with fair pay and diversity issues. Supply chain accountability and responsible business practices are also on the criteria list.
Developers will have to take a second look at their businesses to remain competitive in the market, which is already happening in many companies.
To compete, the developers will have to reconsider their own business, and many have begun to do so. A few days ago, a team of solar and renewable energy firms and the trade organizations had started a dubbed Renewables Forward campaign to develop plans to grow the workforce industry diversity and inclusion in the industry.