The business sector has found creative ways to participate in renewable energy and conservation movements. Fifth Third Bank recently became the first Fortune 500 company to “achieve 100% renewable energy from a single solar project,” according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. They didn’t do this by installing solar panels on all their buildings or switching their fleet to all-electric vehicles. Instead, they signed an agreement to buy all the power generated by a solar farm in North Carolina and will resell the energy into the local grid. The project uses 350,000 solar panels and generates enough electricity to power 25,000 homes. So while Fifth Third Bank isn’t using the electricity directly, they’re offsetting the electricity they use each year by purchasing and reselling the power generated by the solar project.
Another company, Los Angeles-based DHX, moves and warehouses freight traveling between Hawaii, Guam, and the continental U.S. In addition to increasing efficiency in their warehouses with skylights, LEDs, and solar cells, DHX is using carbon offsets to operate carbon neutral. This means that for every metric ton of carbon dioxide they emit, they invest in a project that reduces greenhouse gases. Carbon offsets are part of the controversial cap-and-trade market – polluting companies are able to invest in conservation projects instead of reducing the amount they pollute. It’s a way to meet businesses where they are while also making a positive impact on the planet. And while it’s not the only conservation strategy that needs to be pursued, it has been found to be effective by a Stanford University study.
Finding novel ways to participate in renewable energy sources has been a challenge for the business sector, but things like those listed above are helping move companies into the future.