Join CEBA Connect: 2024 Spring Summit May 22-24 in Denver, CO. Register Now!

A GLOBAL TURNING POINT: UNPRECEDENTED INDUSTRY COLLABORATION PAVES WAY FOR DECARBONIZATION OF SUPPLY CHAINS

The Clean Energy Procurement Academy launched to equip companies with the skills and knowledge required to access clean energy with foundational support from Apple, Amazon, Meta, Nike, PepsiCo, and REI Co-op.

[WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2023] – Supply chain emissions account for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions and can represent the majority of a company’s total carbon footprint. In an industry first, leading corporate energy customers came together to launch the Clean Energy Procurement Academy to equip companies with the technical readiness to explore and adopt clean energy, an essential factor in global decarbonization.

 “To address the climate crisis, we need to act quickly to expand access to clean energy around the world. Businesses can help drive that change,” said Sarah Chandler, Apple’s Vice President of Environment and Supply Chain Innovation. “As we make progress to ensure every Apple product is carbon neutral by 2030, we will continue to work closely with our global suppliers to support their transition to renewable energy. We’re proud to collaborate with CEBA and others to expand those efforts beyond our supply chain and across industries.”

Apple and Nike initiated the project through the Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) and were joined by Amazon, Meta, PepsiCo, and REI Co-op as founding organizations to plan and execute the Clean Energy Procurement Academy. 

 “We continue to leverage our scale to drive impact and support suppliers in mitigating their climate risk,” said Noel Kinder, Chief Sustainability Officer at Nike. “The Clean Energy Procurement Academy is key to breaking down barriers to clean energy adoption, while also helping us demonstrate demand and advocate for clean energy solutions in essential regions. Collaborating cross-industry helps us tackle systemic challenges together.”  

 “Accelerating the transition to clean energy is crucial to avoiding the most severe impacts of climate change and meeting our net zero carbon commitment. This is why Amazon has been the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy for the last three consecutive years,” said Kara Hurst, Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. “We know that actions to address climate change will be more impactful when we join together with others and all share what we’ve learned. We are excited to collaborate with the Clean Energy Procurement Academy to empower Amazon suppliers and other businesses to decarbonize their energy operations alongside us.”

Designed to speed up the integration of clean energy into global supply chains, the Academy will blend in-person and online training, along with comprehensive educational resources to:

  • Boost supply chain companies’ capacity to invest in renewable energy through education and data accessibility.
  • Foster synergy among different industries tackling shared challenges in supply chain climate action.
  • Encourage supply chain companies to escalate their renewable energy goals and commitments.
  • Establish new renewable energy buying communities in pivotal manufacturing regions.

“REI is proud to be part of the Clean Energy Procurement Academy. As a co-op, we believe in collaborating with other leading brands on the greatest problem facing our business and society. We’re excited to work alongside our partners to accelerate supplier decarbonization efforts by developing a platform that is more powerful than what any company could develop alone,” said Kate Wendt, VP Strategy, Transformation & Sustainability.

“At PepsiCo, we are eager to help lead the way toward net-zero. Climate change threatens the prosperity of people and communities, especially those within our business’ agricultural supply chain with threats to biodiversity, temperature extremes, adverse weather events, droughts, and coastal flooding, and more,” said Roberta Barbieri, VP, Global Sustainability, PepsiCo. “Renewable energy plays an important part in helping us reach our climate goals and in our efforts to drive a Positive Value Chain. With the launch of the Clean Energy Procurement Academy, we’re proud to share PepsiCo’s experience and play a role in shaping training and tools to support organizations looking to embed clean energy into their global supply chains.” 

“Meta recognizes the critical urgency of climate action and has committed to achieving net zero emissions across our value chain in 2030.  We know that reaching net zero value chain emissions will not be an easy task, and it will take cross-industry collaboration to raise tides and lift all boats. We are excited to partner with CEBA and our corporate partners here, so climate action can become as easy as possible for our suppliers and their upstream value chain,” said Blair Swedeen, Global Head of Net Zero and Sustainability.

Apple, Amazon, Meta, Nike, PepsiCo, and REI launched The Clean Energy Procurement Academy to build capacity of select supply chain partners in energy markets that contribute material volumes of greenhouse gas emissions. The founding organizations pooled their expertise and internal training resources to design a shared training curriculum and delivery processes that enable trainees to rapidly mature as clean energy customers. 

The Clean Energy Procurement Academy is also supported by the We Mean Business Coalition and will inform curated insights to support more energy customer companies, supply chain partners, and geographies. Through the collaborative efforts of these corporations and suppliers, the initiative aims to rapidly advance clean energy procurement, address Scope 3 emissions, and decarbonize global supply chains. 

The Clean Energy Procurement Academy is the first major initiative of CEBI’s Global Programs, which launched in 2022 with foundational funding support from Google.org.

For further details on the Clean Energy Procurement Academy or media inquiries, please contact Monica Jaburg, Director of Strategic Communications (mjaburg@cebuyers.org).

###

The Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) is a public benefit charity dedicated to solving the toughest market and policy barriers to achieving a carbon-free energy system.  To learn more, visit www.cebi.org.

Member Highlight: 3Degrees’ Actions on Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement

Why did your organization get involved with the Beyond the Megawatt initiative?

The Beyond the Megawatt initiative is perfectly aligned with our internal compass – we’ve been working with clients to bring sustainability writ large into their energy procurements over a decade, including our earliest work on PPAs.

3Degrees views this initiative as an opportunity to join other industry stakeholders to amplify a set of thoughtfully agreed purpose-driven procurement practices, broadening their reach and making them more commonplace. We fully embrace this work, and collaboration across the industry is essential to building its success; CEBI has done an amazing job orchestrating the collaboration and curating its final result.

What impact will the Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement have on the clean energy industry?

Some organizations, including many of our clients, are already leading the way and embracing purpose-driven energy procurement; however, many others seek guidance to understand how to incorporate such best practices into their work. These principles serve both market leaders and newer market entrants by providing a framework of aspirational considerations to help maximize clean energy procurement benefits. We hope this initiative brings these important topics to the forefront so more organizations see how resilience, sustainability, and social considerations can become essential components of a procurement process. Ultimately, we hope the principles will create a new “base case” for positive renewable energy development.

How do the principles influence the broader transition to clean energy?

Many corporations join the energy transition from the sustainability lens; they seek to create a world where their business and all its stakeholders can prosper. Clean energy development is still development, and involves land use, technology, and economic decisions by many stakeholders. We believe these principles – and the climate leadership from those who are signing on – create a compelling statement of intent, asserting that generating clean energy is simply not enough to effect a sustainable energy transition. This will provide a path for companies just entering the space, broadening the lens about buyers using their collective power to drive change. Not all corporate buyers will automatically adopt these principles overnight and it may be difficult to understand how to apply these ideas in practice. Guidance and documentation provided by respected groups like CEBA, coupled with valid case studies from respected companies, will help spur action among companies.

How will you consider the principles during your clean energy procurement process?

3Degrees supports a range of customers with their clean energy and carbon reduction strategies. The Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement and its signatories provide a hugely helpful benchmark for companies who may be hesitant to adopt “non-standard” procurement criteria; it gives us support when we recommend a broader view of these important procurement decisions.

While many elements of these principles have long had a place among the factors we consider in these engagements, we recently documented a social mission that explicitly states our goal of pursuing the principles of a just transition through our work, which goes hand in hand with our commitment to the Beyond the Megawatt initiative.

Interviewee: Erin Craig, Vice President, Customer Solutions & Innovation, 3Degrees

Member Highlight: Silicon Ranch’s Actions on Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement

Pictured above are grazing sheep at Silicon Ranch’s Snipesville II Solar Farm—which serves Meta’s operations in the state of Georgia—as part of the company’s Regenerative Energy® platform. Silicon Ranch’s transformative Regenerative Energy model is a holistic approach to land management that co-locates renewable energy production with regenerative agriculture practices.

Why did your organization get involved with the Beyond the Megawatt initiative?

Silicon Ranch was founded on the understanding that when carried out responsibly, solar projects can create enduring, long-term value and deliver a meaningful legacy to the communities in which they are located. As the long-term landowner and project operator in every community we serve, we know how important it is to be good neighbors, stewards of the land, and collaborative partners.

The Beyond the Megawatt initiative directly aligns with our founding principles to raise the industry standard for the impact solar projects can have on American communities. Helping craft the Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement enabled us to offer our expertise gained over more than a decade of developing solar projects that our neighbors are proud to have in their community. We’ve done this at scale across the United States and have valuable insights to share about how the entire industry can take tangible action to improve operations, community relationships, and the overall reputation of renewable energy nationwide.

What impact will the Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement have on the clean energy industry?

Responsibly developed solar projects have the potential to not only provide cost-effective, reliable, renewable energy, but also to promote long-term positive economic, environmental, and social impacts on American communities. These guiding principles provide a roadmap for leaders across the renewable energy sector to maximize that potential impact and make a tangible difference.

How do the principles influence the broader transition to clean energy?

It matters how energy projects are developed, owned, and operated. By following these principles, key stakeholders can help raise the bar for our industry to better ensure that solar is able to exceed expectations of what an energy project can be through responsible project design, development, and management.

The Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement also empower decision-makers to collaborate with communities to define the long-term social, economic, and health benefits that matter most to citizens. The more leaders we can get to commit to these principles, the more we will build a great reputation for the renewable energy industry and earn the trust of communities that we need in order to develop projects where they live.

Ultimately it is our hope that these principles will help our industry uphold, and even exceed, its ambitious goals.

How will you consider the principles during your clean energy procurement process?

Silicon Ranch has historically followed the vast majority of these principles during our development and management processes, and we will continue to do so.

We will continue to expand our Regenerative Energy platform, which is our holistic approach to designing, building, and operating our projects in alignment with natural systems to regenerate soil health, biodiversity, water quality, and habitat.

Our company will continue developing and building partnerships with suppliers supporting domestic manufacturing such as the partnerships we have established with Nextracker, First Solar, and SOLARCYCLE which are helping us maintain our unblemished track record, and ultimately supporting energy resiliency.

We will also continue to listen and respond to, and collaborate with, the communities where we site our solar projects and locate new solar projects in American communities where the greatest economic and environmental benefits can be achieved, as we are doing with Clearloop, our subsidiary which creates carbon solutions for organizations of all sizes, from global corporations to small businesses and educational institutions. And we will share the Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement with our partners and customers to spread the word and get more industry leaders to commit to these actionable considerations that enable a better future for all of us by making solar do more.

Interviewee: Rob Hamilton, Director, Corporate Communications, Silicon Ranch

Five Customers, Five Questions: Perspectives on Greenhouse Gas Accounting

Discussions about greenhouse gas accounting all too often overlook the tremendous role of energy customers in driving grid decarbonization investments and the efforts of the people who make that clean energy procurement happen. The Clean Energy Buyers Institute has interviewed five energy professionals and asked five questions, to reveal insights and real stories about their hard work to advance the carbon-free energy transition. Customer perspectives are important for broader industry dialogues, particularly as World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development update the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Our fifth and final interview is with Jay Creech, renewable energy manager at REI Co-op. In previous weeks, we interviewed Kelly Snyder, senior director of origination with EDP Renewables North America; John D. Powers, Schneider Electric’s vice president of global renewables and clean tech; Jeannie Renné-Malone, vice president of global sustainability with VF Corporation; and Monica Walker, General Motors’ renewables and energy strategy manager.

Jay Creech, REI Co-op
Renewable Energy Manager
REI strives to build on market-based accounting to achieve outcomes that REI believes are essential to impactful energy attribute certificates and accelerating the clean energy transition. Jay discusses how REI’s aim is to make clean energy more local and accessible. Read our interview.

Kelly Snyder, EDP Renewables North America
Senior Director of Origination
Making clean energy procurement more accessible is a part of EDP’s core mission. Kelly explains how voluntary markets allow customers to drive impact by helping bring clean energy projects onto the grid through their purchasing power. Read our interview.

John D. Powers, Schneider Electric
Vice President, Global Renewables and Clean Tech
Schneider Electric has set a RE100 goal and also advises companies in setting similar goals. John talks about why companies need credible ways to reduce emissions and receive credit for it without being accused of greenwashing. 
Read our interview.



Jeannie Renné-Malone, VF Corporation
Vice President of Global Sustainability
VF Corporation has set a goal to power its direct operations with renewable energy by FY 2026. Jeannie discusses how markets enable VF to explore a wider range of cost-effective renewable energy options and why more access to energy storage would help. 
Read our interview.



Monica Walker, General Motors
Renewables and Energy Strategy Manager
GM has committed to achieving 100% renewable energy usage in its U.S. operations by 2025. Monica explains how market-based accounting affects GM’s decision making and what’s needed to help customers further decarbonize the grid.
Read our interview.

Coalition of 18+ Leading Companies Representing Over $498 Billion in Annual Revenues Commit to Aspirational Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement

The Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) Beyond the Megawatt Initiative brings together clean energy champions from the commercial and industrial sector to advance resilience, equity, and environmental sustainability in energy procurement.

Washington, D.C. – (June 6, 2023) – Building on growing energy industry demand for impactful clean energy solutions, the Beyond the Megawatt Initiative launches the Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement. Over 18 signatories commit to evaluating project options that maximize clean energy benefits with a dedicated focus on the integration of environmental sustainability, resilience, and equity considerations in procurement decisions.

Energy customers have taken an active role in shaping the energy market, voluntarily procuring over 64.5 gigawatts of new clean energy capacity in the U.S. and across the global electricity system in the last decade. Since the launch of Beyond the Megawatt in 2022, the number of projects embedding these Principles has grown significantly.

“In this pivotal moment in the evolution of energy markets, we’re reminded that no organization can effect transformative change alone,” said Kevin Hagen, interim CEO of CEBI. ” The Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement signify a collective commitment from industry-leading stakeholders – many that are members of the Clean Energy Buyers Association. Together, we are using the power of the corporate customer to drive change toward a grid that is more reliable, resilient, cost effective as well as environmentally and socially responsible for everyone.”

The Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement are established by leading energy stakeholders and provide aspirational considerations for industry members to maximize the benefits of clean energy procurement individually and collectively. Although non-binding, these Principles mark a significant step in evolving energy customer decision-making, focusing on the identification of impactful clean energy projects.

“All renewable energy is not created equal, and there’s an opportunity for purpose-driven procurement, when embedded into energy buying processes, to create a powerful demand signal for more sustainable, just, and resilient renewable energy projects. These Principles are fundamentally aligned with our approach to Responsible Solar. We are not just committed to responsible manufacturing but powering our global operations with clean energy that aligns with our values,” said Samantha Sloan, vice president of Policy, Sustainability, and Marketing for First Solar.

Industry-leading stakeholders have united under a shared recognition that transformation in the energy sector cannot be achieved by any single organization, underscoring the need for collective action. This understanding has fueled the momentum behind the launch of the Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement. The Beyond the Megawatt community, predominantly comprised of energy customers and providers, is dedicated to fostering collaboration and synergy. Together, they aim to turn new clean energy development into a dynamic force for environmental stewardship, climate resilience, and prosperity.

“The energy transition offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance environmental sustainability, resiliency, and social equity—but this type of transformational change is only possible through collective action,” said Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex Clean Energy. “This commitment represents decisive action that will maximize the benefits of clean energy procurement in the years to come, and Apex is honored to be among those leading the charge.”

“At Silicon Ranch, one of our core beliefs as a landowner and neighbor in every community we serve is that responsibly-developed solar energy projects create enduring, long-term value and deliver a meaningful legacy to the communities in which they are located. We are proud to have helped craft CEBA’s new Beyond the Megawatt’s Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement, raising the industry standard for the opportunities each solar project can represent beyond providing cost-effective, reliable, renewable energy, and believe the greatest benefit will be the long-term positive economic, environmental, and social impact on communities,” said Reagan Farr, Co-founder and CEO, Silicon Ranch.

Environmental Sustainability: Respecting and conserving our lands, waters, and biodiversity, implementing strategies such as dual-use approaches like agrivoltaics and pollinator-friendly solar, prioritizing project siting on degraded lands where possible, and implementing the mitigation hierarchy for environmental impact across the project life cycle.

Resilience: Emphasizing the long-term efficiency and adaptability of our energy systems, increasing investments in the resilience of regional grid infrastructure and clean energy supply chains, and actively contributing to the stability and reliability of the grid through clean energy generation and energy storage solutions development.

Social Equity: Advancing an equitable and just energy transition that empowers and restores communities, upholds human rights, and ensures that communities are active participants, decision-makers, and beneficiaries at all stages of the project life cycle.

CEBI and the Beyond the Megawatt Initiative continue to work with a broad coalition of energy customers, procurement partners, and sustainability experts, as well as foundational funders Johnson & Johnson, Salesforce, Amazon, Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC), General Motors, First Solar, Walmart, and Workday.

For more information on the Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement or to become a signatory, please visit: cebi.org/programs/beyond-the-megawatt/principles or contact communications@cebi.org for more information.

The Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) is a public benefit charity dedicated to solving the toughest market and policy barriers to achieving a carbon-free energy system. Through the Beyond the Megawatt Initiative and Principles for Purpose-Driven Energy Procurement, CEBI supports the evolution of energy procurement toward environmental sustainability, resilience, and social equity. To learn more, visit www.cebi.org.

Leadership Programs Can Help Advance Carbon-free Electricity Across Global Value Chains

With large amounts of carbon emissions associated with global value chains, energy customers are paying increasing attention to opportunities to reduce these emissions and verify the reductions.   Emerging regulations like the European Union’s carbon-border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s forthcoming rule for climate-related disclosures for investors add greater urgency to addressing these Scope 3 emissions generated by customers’ upstream and downstream value chain partners.

Based on recent workshops, interviews, and additional research, the Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) has identified three types of current leadership programs that focus on electricity-related emissions and/or value chain decarbonization:

  1. Leadership in green electricity purchases: These programs recognize voluntary procurement of carbon-free electricity (CFE) resources in a variety of formats. The recognition for CFE may sometimes be applied to value-chain partners’ energy use in specific regions, beyond a customer’s direct energy procurement. However, these partners’ CFE use is less common and hard to quantify. As a result, current programs still focus primarily on participating entities’ green-electricity procurement for direct operations.
  2. Leadership in green products: Some programs provide recognition for products that meet a variety of environmental and social standards that can include supply chain measures. However, electricity seldom appears as a single category in these standards, because the life- cycle assessment for a product’s carbon footprint rarely generates a specific category for that product’s carbon emissions associated with electricity usage. For products that are currently certified for their use of CFE during the manufacturing phase, the emissions usually fall under the company’s Scope 2 emissions, instead of Scope 3.
  3. Leadership in value chain-specific, issue-specific, and/or sector-specific initiatives: These programs emphasize value chain decarbonization efforts. Here again, however, difficulties arise in identifying and quantifying specific electricity usage in a value chain and its related emissions, and current programs struggle to recognize leadership in this area. Some programs also are designed to focus narrowly on only certain issues and/or sectors.

To promote nascent efforts to decarbonize value chains and increase global CFE demand (including the untapped potential of small- and medium-size enterprises, or SMEs, found across value chains), CEBI research suggests a qualitative approach can help customers better set value chain goals, join peer communities of learning and best practice, and receive recognition for demonstrated leadership. Our best practice guidance builds on 2022 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance as well as information sharing and early leadership examples. We also anticipate the eventual formation of more comprehensive and/or quantitative-oriented leadership programs. 

The formation of a new leadership program focused on supporting the adoption of CFE across global value chains should include:

  • A casebook, or collection of best practices, published annually to highlight energy customers’ work to promote CFE procurement among their value chain partners. The casebook would be open for submissions from all businesses across all industries, including business groups. The customer efforts recognized in the casebook could include:
    • effective awareness- and capacity-building that contributes to a suppliers’ CFE procurement, 
    • central coordination efforts that group multiple suppliers for collective virtual power purchase agreement (vPPA) signings, 
    • innovative ways of estimating electricity-related emissions along the value chain, and
    • energy attribute certificate (EAC) procurement on behalf of upstream and downstream value chain partners to increase CFE demand and support accelerate CFE deployment.
  • An annual industry event where customers highlighted in the casebook gather with other relevant stakeholders to discuss lessons learned. The attendees could discuss what worked and what didn’t, as well as persistent challenges for value chain CFE procurement, the regions where those challenges occurred, and types of value chain partners experiencing the challenges. The event would provide an opportunity for businesses to learn from each other and explore paths forward.
  • Formation of working groups among value chain decarbonization leaders recognized in the casebook, to address roadblocks to reducing electricity-related emissions along global value chains. This could also include coordinating efforts to expand EAC use to cover value chain electricity consumption, evolve standards to quantify related impacts, or develop other actions the leaders might decide to pursue.

The formation of this new leadership program would also complement one of CEBI’s four main recommendations on ways to improve the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. If the Greenhouse Gas Protocol can provide clarity around how to conduct greenhouse gas accounting for CFE procurement across value chains and create a new program recognizing leadership in value chain decarbonization, organizations will have greater motivation to scale the adoption of CFE across their value chains and integrate this into their annual greenhouse gas inventories. 

CEBI is working with various industry stakeholders in 2023 to further define and explore opportunities to initiate the formation of a new customer program that recognizes leadership in value chain decarbonization.

FTC Green Guides Updates Should Continue to Help Energy Customers Make Verifiable Clean Energy Claims

By Kerri Metz and Doug Miller

Energy customers rely on regulatory guidance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to inform how to advertise their clean energy claims. The FTC’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides) provide environmental marketing recommendations aimed at shielding consumers from potentially deceptive claims, and the FTC has begun a process to update the guidelines, which have not been revised since 2012. 

With the growing clean energy market, the greater diversity of carbon-free electricity (CFE) procurement solutions available to energy customers, and increasing consumer interest in purchasing environmentally friendly products, the FTC this past December announced it was seeking public comment on various issues related to environmental marketing claims. The FTC sought feedback on topics including carbon offsets, renewable energy procurement, recycled content, and compostable materials. The agency accepted comments through April 24. 

The Clean Energy Buyers Institute’s (CEBI’s) Next Generation Carbon-free Electricity Initiative began work with more than 35 stakeholders in early 2023 to develop Green Guides recommendations that would both help energy customers understand how they can advertise their next generation procurement strategies and provide additional protections and clarity for American consumers. Through these stakeholder discussions, CEBI developed three guiding principles and three recommendations on ways to enhance the Green Guides. 

The three guiding principles shaped the recommendations that CEBI submitted to the FTC:

  • Principle #1: The FTC Green Guides updates should help clarify how energy customers can advertise and substantiate their CFE procurement.
  • Principle #2: The FTC updates should create the opportunity for energy customers to make more types of verifiable marketing claims based on their respective CFE procurement strategy and provide new examples illustrating how to make these claims for a broader range of CFE procurement strategies. 
  • Principle #3: The updates should use plain language to avoid creating confusion among consumers and energy customers, refrain from unduly limiting or narrowing the menu of CFE procurement options available to energy customers, and prioritize updates that enable the maximum number of energy customers to participate in CFE procurement markets. 

These three principles serve as the foundation for the recommendations that CEBI submitted to the FTC to inform the Green Guides updates:

Recommendation #1: Broaden current Green Guides language from renewable energy to carbon-free electricity. 

The FTC should broaden its existing language around renewable energy claims to include technology-neutral CFE and all CFE-related marketing claims. Given the increased interest and investment in diverse CFE resources since the previous Green Guides revision, the guidelines should acknowledge the present greater diversity of CFE procurement options, clarify how marketers can make accurate marketing claims about their CFE procurement, and advise marketers on how to avoid making unqualified or misleading CFE claims. 

Recommendation #2: Maintain a requirement for marketers to substantiate CFE claims with energy attribute certificates (EACs) and additional disclosures

The FTC should continue to require that marketers use customers’ EACs and, where needed to validate differentiated claims, additional disclosures to substantiate CFE procurement claims. This guidance is especially important as new CFE procurement solutions become available to energy customers. The FTC should continue to clarify that energy customers must own EACs that align with any CFE-related marketing claims, including differentiated claims. In cases where EACs do not yet contain sufficient attributes that could be used in making specific CFE marketing claims, energy customers should have high-quality, detailed data — in addition to the EACs they own — to substantiate these differentiated claims.

Recommendation #3: Differentiate between EACs and carbon offsets in marketing claims. 

The Green Guides should include new language that provides clarification between the purpose and role of EACs versus carbon offsets in clean energy marketing claims. The FTC should clarify that marketing claims made around an energy customer’s CFE procurement and associated emission reductions in that energy customer’s respective greenhouse gas inventory must be verified through the customer’s completed CFE procurement and ownership of EACs that align with any marketing claims.

The marked increase in the number of individual consumers using their purchasing power to buy products from businesses that can prove they are adopting sustainable practices creates a need for clearer guidance on the wider-ranging types of claims consumers are now seeing. As more types of CFE procurement solutions become available and energy customers pursue these diverse solutions, guidance is also needed about how customers can communicate the differentiated decarbonization impact of their procurement strategies. Between 2012 and 2020, customers’ global voluntary procurement increased from about 300 million megawatt hours (MWh) of CFE to over 1 billion MWh of CFE, and this CFE market growth trend has only intensified since 2020.

The FTC Green Guides clarify how energy customers communicate their leadership in taking voluntary action to accelerate investments in electric grid decarbonization. CEBI’s recommendations for improvements to the FTC Green Guides serve as an example of our broader work to improve customer leadership programs, one of four interdependent market evolutions that CEBI is advancing through the Next Generation CFE Initiative. To learn more about CEBI’s research on the four market evolutions needed to broaden the menu of CFE procurement options and enable customers to optimize their procurement strategy for grid decarbonization impact, check out the Next Generation CFE Procurement Activation Guide.

CEBI presented its FTC Green Guides revisions principles and recommendations in a public webinar on March 29 and submitted them formally before the April 24 deadline. To get involved in CEBI’s NextGen Activator community or learn more about CEBI’s recommendations for the FTC Green Guides, please contact Doug Miller at dmiller@cebuyers.org.

Why Integrating Social Equity In Your Clean Energy Procurement Is A Feasible Imperative

Energy customers and providers have a powerful role to play in advancing an equitable and just transition by leveraging the large scale of their clean energy procurement and market influence to advance co-benefits for historically marginalized communities. While concerns still exist about the perceived lack of feasibility and prohibitive cost premiums associated with advancing equity, access to tools, financial incentives, and lessons learned from market leaders illustrate that an equitable clean energy future is more feasible than ever.

Over two years ago, the Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) began its journey to embed diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) across its programming and engagement through a partnership with Groundswell, a community-centered non-profit advancing equitable clean energy initiatives. Initial outcomes included a listening tour co-led by Groundswell, The Solutions Project, and Hummingbird that convened  corporates and communities to highlight the potential shared benefits from respecting and centering the values and lived experience of communities, and was followed by a Corporate and Community Engagement Primer providing guidance for meaningful community engagement. The Beyond the Megawatt initiative was launched shortly after and is building on this work by convening a growing group of diverse stakeholders to create tools and resources to build awareness and momentum for action on DEIJ. 

Here are some of our key findings:

Increased access to new data tools 

There’s an emergence of data tools that can help energy customers and providers identify communities historically impacted by environmental injustice and poised to benefit most from an equitable and just transition. For instance, the White House Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool helps identify disadvantaged communities that have been underserved and overburdened. 

The Energy Equity Project (EEP) provides a framework for measuring equitable outcomes beyond job creation and air quality improvements, such as evaluating  Pursuing clean energy co-benefits that support healthy homes, community resilience, and alleviating financial stress from disproportionate energy burden and low-quality jobs can all lead to public health improvements in historically marginalized communities. 

BTM is creating a due diligence framework, including procurement guidance to facilitate accessibility and application of these tools and establish a clear framework for what data needs to be collected and evaluated to integrate equity in procurement processes. 

It’s good for business 

Embedding equity and justice in clean energy procurement isn’t just the right thing to do, it can also maximize access to economic incentives. The Inflation Reduction Act provides additional tax benefits for solar and wind projects developed in low-income, tribal, and environmental justice communities. There’s never been a better time to think about impactful siting of projects. 

Early and inclusive public engagement is essential to achieving a social license to operate in these communities. While deep engagement may appear more costly and time-consuming up-front it can help address costs from potential project delays and opposition in the long run.

Creating and supporting high-road jobs—those that promote practices like prevailing wage standards and equitable workforce development— can have significant quality-of-life impacts on workers and their families, while having a marginal cost increase on utility-scale clean energy development. A Princeton University study found that a 20% increase in installation and construction labor costs from improved standards would only increase the installed cost of solar PV and wind projects by 3% and 1%, respectively. 

More thoughtful clean energy procurement enhances your brand and strengthens your stakeholder relationships. A 2017 Cone Communications CSR study found that 87% of surveyed consumers make purchasing decisions based on values, 76% will boycott based on values, and 88% are more loyal to a company when it supports a social or environmental issue.

It’s already being done

The days of theoretical scenarios are over. This work is already being done by several market leaders.

  • Microsoft and Volt Energy Utility, a Black-led solar energy development firm, partnered to advance a groundbreaking Environmental Justice Power Purchase Agreement (EJPPA). A portion of the project’s revenue will be invested in community initiatives and equitable workforce development.
  • Sol Systems and Google have announced a first-of-its-kind tax equity investment that will provide capital investments to organizations serving communities of color and historically under-resourced communities to reduce energy burden and promote healthy homes through weatherization and home repair services.
  • Equity and justice can also be advanced through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). Salesforce partnered with Powertrust to purchase 280,000MWh of Distributed Renewable Energy Certificates (D-RECs) that increase clean energy access in emerging markets that have been traditionally excluded from corporate procurement. 

You can be a leader too

A decarbonized grid for all means we can’t leave any communities behind. At BTM, we want to ensure that corporate energy customers and providers have the tools and information necessary to advance an equitable and just transition. Are you ready to join us? Learn more here

Want to join the amazing group of energy customers and providers helping to lead the way? Email Phoebe Romero at promero@cebuyers.org to join our equity working group or find other ways to get involved.

Customers Seek Increased Clean Energy in Value Chains to Reduce Scope 3 Emissions

By Hanna Ye and Doug Miller

To meet organizational goals, emerging regulations, and stakeholder demands, energy customers are beginning to assess solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across their value chains. These Scope 3 emissions originate from upstream and downstream sources and on average represent 75% of an organization’s total emissions.

At the beginning of 2022, energy customers identified the ability to procure carbon-free electricity (CFE) on behalf of value chain partners as one of their top objectives for next generation energy procurement. During workshops convened last year by the Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) as part of its NextGen Initiative Activator series, customers, solution providers, and market system stakeholders aligned around the opportunity to scale voluntary CFE demand and hasten grid decarbonization investments by empowering energy customers to procure CFE, covering the subset of their Scope 3 emissions originating from their value chain partners’ electricity use. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year also issued guidance detailing how customers may procure CFE on behalf of value chain partners and allocate energy attribute certificates (EACs) to them.

These discussions elevated practical challenges hindering broader adoption. At the top of the list: How can energy customers determine the volume of CFE to procure on behalf of their respective value chain partners, given limited access to quality data? CEBI conducted numerous interviews in late 2022 with large commercial and industrial energy customers from diverse industries to investigate this challenge and identify potential solutions. 

Three key themes emerged about the real-world challenges that customers face in reducing emissions from their value chain partners: 

  1. Value chains’ complexity: Energy customers often have different value chain partners; these partners range from large resource-strapped manufacturers and dispersed small- and medium-size enterprise suppliers to diverse downstream partners that vary based on a customer’s product or service. Customers also likely have different contractual arrangements with different value chain partners that often vary across geographies.
  2. Limited data access: Customers have limited access to quality data about their value chain partners’ respective electricity use and emissions. In the absence of quality data, customers seeking to better understand their Scope 3 emissions associated with value chain partners must estimate partners’ respective electricity use and emissions.
  3. Resource constraints to develop and implement a CFE procurement strategy: Upstream suppliers and downstream users across an energy customer’s value chain have limited internal resources, capacities, skillsets, and practical options to develop and implement a CFE procurement strategy. 

CEBI asked customers about currently available methods and stakeholder concerns around procuring CFE on behalf of value chain partners given these challenges, particularly about limited quality data access. Based on those conversations, CEBI identified potential solutions to address value chain data access and accounting challenges and promote CFE procurement on behalf of value chain partners:

  • Short-term: Energy customers could use best-effort estimation methods to evaluate their upstream and downstream value chain partners’ electricity usage and related emissions. Customers then could procure CFE on behalf of value chain partners and decide how to allocate ownership over the energy attribute certificates (EACs) across value chain partners.
  • Medium-term: Energy customers could rely on self-reported figures from a selection of value chain partners and use best-effort estimation methods for those that do not report directly. Some value chain partners procure CFE themselves and report evidence. For other non-reporting value chain partners, customers procure CFE on behalf of their partners and decide how to allocate ownership over the EACs among their partners.
  • Long-term: All value chain partners could report their electricity use and associated emissions to energy customers, and a growing group of value chain partners could procure CFE themselves and deliver this evidence. For other non-reporting value chain partners, customers could procure CFE on behalf of their partners and decide how to allocate ownership of the EACs among their partners.

Wider market evolutions would also empower customers to procure CFE on behalf of value chain partners’ respective electricity use. CEBI explained those evolutions in its Next Generation CFE Procurement Activation Guide

For example, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, currently undergoing an updates process, could make changes to clarify acceptance of reducing Scope 3 electricity-based emissions by procuring CFE on behalf of and assigning the associated EACs to customers’ value chain partners. This clarification in greenhouse gas accounting, which is one of four recommendations that CEBI is submitting to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for this updates process, would enable more customers to address their Scope 3 electricity-based emissions and create significant growth in voluntary CFE procurement. 

CEBI’s NextGen CFE Initiative this year is focused on solving barriers to activating the market evolutions specified in our guide. This means finding opportunities to enrich EACs with more attributes, increase access to consistent and more granular data, update the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and enhance customer leadership programs. Each of those endeavors will help create an evolved voluntary market system where customers have increased options to advance systemic grid decarbonization.

CEBI’s Four Key Recommendations for Updating the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Will Help Advance Systemic Grid Decarbonization

By Priya Barua and Doug Miller

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol—the preeminent global framework for greenhouse gas inventory accounting—is under revision. The protocol’s Scope 2 and 3 standards have not been updated in eight and 12 years, respectively, and clean energy markets have evolved significantly in that time. World Resources Institute (WRI), which oversees the protocol with World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), late last year began a revisions process for updating the Scope 2 and 3 standards. CEBI has worked in recent months to develop key recommendations for the update.

WRI in December began seeking comments through stakeholder surveys to evaluate needs and opportunities for updating and improving its guidance for Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions accounting, and those comments are due by March 14. In anticipation of this revision, the Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) initiated a stakeholder process in late 2021 that included participation from more than 100 energy customers, solution providers, and key voluntary market stakeholders from the NextGen Activator community. 

CEBI’s extensive stakeholder engagement process resulted in three community-developed guiding principles and four recommendations on ways to enhance the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The following three guiding principles underpin the recommendations that CEBI then developed with the NextGen Activator community:

  • Principle #1: Greenhouse Gas Protocol updates should help expand carbon-free electricity (CFE) procurement options for energy customers rather than narrow them.
  • Principle #2: Greenhouse Gas Protocol updates should encourage ambition without unduly limiting options for energy customers, given customers’ diverse skillsets, resources, and geographic dispersal.
  • Principle #3: Greenhouse Gas Protocol updates should maintain yet enhance the momentum of the current voluntary CFE procurement market—enabled by market-based accounting—that is demonstrably complementing policymaker action in decarbonizing the grid.

These three principles guided the four recommendations that CEBI is submitting to inform updates to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:

Recommendation 1: Maintain the market-based method under Scope 2, but update the market-based method in accordance with sub-recommendations 1a-d. 

  • Recommendation 1a: Additional guidance should be provided that offers a locational and temporal data hierarchy to help users prioritize electricity consumption data, emission factors in existing hierarchy, and energy attribute certificate (EAC) granularity, where granular certificates should be listed as the highest-precision EAC within the top category of an EAC hierarchy.
  • Recommendation 1b: Language should be broadened throughout the Scope 2 Guidance to become technology-neutral for all types of CFE generation and complementary technologies.
  • Recommendation 1c: New guidance should prescribe how to account for CFE procurement through energy storage systems, including clean hydrogen.
  • Recommendation 1d: The order of operations in which users account for the combination of purchases and grid-supplied CFE should be updated to more accurately reflect and value utility decarbonization.

Recommendation #2, Explore Potential for New Third Impact-based Number: CEBI recommends that the GHG Protocol explore the pros and cons of options to add a required avoided carbon emissions impact-based number and where to put that value in addition to the location-based and market-based methods. CEBI is furthering conversations around the merits of this approach and any prerequisites needed to feasibly calculate, utilize, and report this figure.

Recommendation #3, EACs for Value Chains: CEBI recommends that the GHG Protocol should extend the use of EACs to decarbonize the measured or estimated electricity-based components of an energy customers’ Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions. By extending to Scope 3 the use of EACs and a market-based accounting framework for CFE procurement currently used for Scope 2, this will encourage and enable customers to take verifiable action to decarbonize the electricity-based components of their value chains.

Recommendation #4, GHGP Process Improvements: CEBI recommends that WRI develop a new process and governance structure for updating the GHG Protocol so that the process is more dynamic, updated more frequently, allows for piloting new approaches, considers the negative market implications of GHG Protocol changes, elevates the needs of and options available to market stakeholders outside the United States and European Union to attract investments, and does not require multiple years per update.

The framework for market-based accounting in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Corporate Standard, which clarifies that customers can apply an emission factor of zero to each megawatt hour (MWh) of CFE they procure and associated energy attribute certificate (EAC) they claim to reduce emissions from their electricity use. This standard has served as a key enabler of the rapid growth in voluntary markets that has helped accelerate grid decarbonization across the globe. 

Today, more than 1,600 companies have net-zero goals under the Science Based Targets Initiative, and nearly 400 companies have set 100% renewable energy commitments under RE100. Customers worldwide now procure over 1 billion megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity annually, creating about $10 billion in addition revenue in 2020 for CFE resources and reducing investment risks. 

Customers’ impact in accelerating grid decarbonization is significant. Since 2014, commercial and industrial customer-led procurement of wind, solar, and battery storage has amounted to 64.5 gigawatts (GW) of new CFE capacity in the United States alone—equivalent to 41% of all new clean capacity additions during this timeframe.

CEBI’s work to identify and develop areas of improvement for the Greenhouse Gas Protocol is one of four interdependent market evolutions under the Next Generation Carbon-free Electricity initiative. This initiative is driving change across global voluntary CFE markets that are necessary to expand the menu of CFE procurement options available to energy customers and enable customers to send more powerful, targeted market signals optimized for grid decarbonization impact. 

The other three market evolutions include measures to enrich energy attribute certificates (EACs) with key new attributes; enable access to more consistent, reliable, and granular data; and enhance customer leadership programs to incentivize customers to implement next generation strategies. 

CEBI published its comprehensive Next Generation CFE Procurement Activation Guide in 2022 that specifies customers’ eight objectives for next generation projects and defines the specific changes that voluntary CFE market stakeholders must make to enable solutions that help customers achieve these objectives and, as a result, accelerate systemic grid decarbonization.

CEBI presented its Greenhouse Gas Protocol revisions principles and recommendations in a public webinar on February 8 and will submit them formally before the March 14 deadline. CEBI encourages all market participants to submit their own recommendations to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and, where possible, highlight examples about the importance of voluntary CFE markets to accelerate grid decarbonization around the world. 

To support stakeholders with developing their respective recommendations to submit to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, CEBI is making its detailed recommendations available to the public, upon request. If you would like access to CEBI’s full recommendations to support your submission, please contact Doug Miller at dmiller@cebuyers.org.