Cape Town - Retail giant Pick n Pay [JSE:PIK] has come under criticism by Greenpeace activists for consuming the most electricity compared to other retailers.
Data collected by Greenpeace showed that Pick n Pay has the highest electricity consumption per annum. Alarmingly, this equates to the annual electricity consumption of 65 000 South African households.
“It has become clear to us that Pick n Pay is not yet prioritising their transition to a clean electricity future and so we’re calling on them to make the difference and show solar some love," said Greenpeace campaigner Penny-Jane Cooke.
The activists made a marriage proposal to Pick n Pay, calling on the retailer to commit to a 100% renewable energy future, and ditch its dirty love affair with fossil fuels.
This was part of a campaign to involve retailers in embracing renewable energy.
In a protest, activists delivered a huge engagement ring to Pick n Pay’s CEO Richard Brasher. A banner was also unfurled above the entrance of the Cape Town headquarters with the message “Pick n Pay: say yes to the sun”.
“Pick n Pay: say yes to the sun” banner PIC: Greenpeace
"Pick n Pay has a clear opportunity and an ethical obligation to show the millions of South Africans who shop in their stores that they really care about the future of our country,” said Cooke.
She said renewable energy provides an opportunity for South Africa to move away from fossil fuels and expensive nuclear power.
"Retailers can take the lead to kick-start a renewable energy revolution for the benefit of all South Africa’s people, many of whom are Pick n Pay consumers.”
Greenpeace wants Pick n Pay to chart a way forward to attain 100% renewable energy, including to lobby government.
Pick n pay responds:
However, Pick n Pay told Fin24 that Greenpeace's initiative should include government and other stakeholders in order to address the challenges that retailers face.
"During our original meeting with them we explained that, to be meaningful, their campaign should really embrace government and the whole economy, including the energy producers, so as to tackle the barriers which Greenpeace itself explains are currently preventing progressive businesses from moving faster and further on decarbonising energy," the retailer said in a statement.
Pick n Pay agreed that renewable energy is a priority, indicating that it is already using renewable technology at its stores.