Print Media Climate Change Question 5

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Is at least 50% of the electricity that the brand (company) uses renewable?

  • Dutch version: Is tenminste 50% van de elektriciteit die het merk (bedrijf) gebruikt 'groen'?
  • German version: Bezieht der Markenhersteller mindestens 50% der Elektrizität aus erneuerbaren Quellen wie Wind- oder Solarenergie?


Renewable energy or 'green energy' emits fewer GHG emissions relative to other sources of energy that supply the electric grid. Examples are solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal energy, geothermal energy, landfill gas, low-impact hydropower, and wind turbines. This description is found on page 100 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

'Own operations' are defined by ‘Scope 1 & 2’ of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, referring to emissions from the sources that are owned or controlled by the company. For example, this could mean owned and leased offices, vehicles, factories and shops; always including the used electricity for the given source.

For this question the source of the renewable energy does not matter. Renewable energy may come either from:

  • Own solar panels/ wind turbines
  • Purchase of renewable energy from direct sources
  • Offsetting of carbon emissions through the purchase of certificates (please check whether these certificates add up to additionality).

Special note on additionality
In the Netherlands and probably other countries as well (see Cool IT report p. 27 about 'Renewable energy credits'), there is a clear issue about additionality when buying green energy certificates or credits. It is often questionable if green certificates do really contribute to the development of green energy. For example, companies can buy and sell cheap Scandinavian hydroelectricity generated with dams that were built in the 60's. As those certificates are still abundant, there is no additionality to business-as-usual, and certainly no reduction of carbon emissions or incentive to further invest in renewable energy. Therefore, this is a point of attention, and we require website companies at least to be transparent about the source of the green energy certificates and credits. Our further research finding could raise the need to sharpen the criteria here. Please inform the Verifier when you found such occurrences for the website sector.

Ranking guidelines

Only rank 'yes' when the company clearly states that at least 50% of the used energy is renewable/green.