INFOGRAPHIC: Going green - How SA’s top 5 retailers stack up

A Greenpeace activist engages with a shopper at one of the retailers. (Shayne Robinson, Greenpeace)
A Greenpeace activist engages with a shopper at one of the retailers. (Shayne Robinson, Greenpeace)

Cape Town - The message is clear - companies need to send clear signals to the markets by committing to an ambitious 100% renewable energy future.

This is according to an updated report by Greenpeace Africa entitled "Shopping clean: Retailers and renewable energy", that outlines the state of renewable energy investments and commitments by Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Woolworths, Spar and Massmart.

The new report, which was released on Thursday, takes a look at how the retailers have improved in the intervening six months since April.

This update details the current state of renewable energy investments and commitments from each of the five retailers and provides information as to how they can achieve a 100% renewable energy target in the future.

The retailers have been ranked on four key criteria relating to renewable energy, which clearly indicates where they need to improve in the future. These are: energy transparency, commitment to renewable energy, greenhouse gas mitigation, and lobbying for clean energy.

“Woolworths is still in the lead with an improved score of six out of ten. Massmart is close behind Woolworths with a score of five and a half, a significant improvement from their April score. Pick n Pay has also shown a significant improvement and is now engaging with Greenpeace on how they can increase their commitments to renewable energy in the future. Spar and Shoprite are at the bottom of the table with Shoprite scoring the lowest of all five retailers,” said climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa Penny-Jane Cooke.

The updated ranking table shows that both Spar and Shoprite are dragging behind their fellow retailers.

Spar’s score stayed the same as they have not made any progress in the renewable energy sector in 2016.

Shoprite continues to have the lowest score of three out of ten due to a lack of publicly available information, lack of transparency and unwillingness to engage with Greenpeace on these issues

“Shoprite’s sustained low score is a clear indication that the retailer is not yet taking renewable energy seriously, neither are they engaging with the Renewable Energy Champions campaign," said Cooke.

She said that Greenpeace believes that Shoprite in particular can do much more to show solar some love.

Have a look at the infograph below:

The report states that during 2016 both Woolworths and Massmart undertook solar PV installations, which is sufficient to power 500-700 average South African households.

Woolworths installed the first phase of their 2MW system at their Midrand distribution center. On the other hand, Massmart installed a 520kW and a 430kW system at their Carnival Mall and Woodmead Makro stores respectively.

Cooke noted that one of the most significant actions undertaken by Massmart, Woolworths and Pick n Pay this year was their commitment to lobby to remove the barriers to renewable energy.

"The retailers have agreed to the need for a holistic sector approach that includes financial mechanisms and regulatory frameworks to create an enabling framework for renewable energy going forward, and have agreed to focus on lobbying for this, meanwhile Woolworths alone has taken the important step of committing to a 100% renewable energy future,” she explained.

Renewable energy offers a concrete alternative to the current electricity system that is failing all South Africans, added Greenpeace.

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