The future of energy: As business commitments to renewable energy increase, so must the sector's respect for human rights

Author: Jim McClelland, Times (UK), Published on: 2 March 2017

"The energy sector post-Paris", 2 Mar 2017

Much has happened since 195 countries adopted the first universal, legally binding climate deal to limit global warming below 2C, as signatories to the COP21 Paris Agreement, 2015...There is resilience to this shared vision for renewables and upwards trajectory, despite Brexit and President Trump, observes Damian Ryan, acting chief executive of The Climate Group...To date, almost 700 businesses and investors have made climate commitments through the umbrella coalition We Mean Business, where they can sign up to sourcing 100 per cent renewables (RE100) and doubling energy productivity (EP100)...With big impact, however, comes big responsibility. Human rights concerns and associated reputational risk may become more of an issue for renewable energy, argues Phil Bloomer, executive director of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).“The Paris Agreement clearly placed the future of energy in the hands of renewables, but we need a transition to a low-carbon economy that is not only fast, but also fair. As demand increases for energy from land-intensive wind, solar and hydropower projects, firms cannot afford to overlook poor communities who depend on that land for life and livelihood,” he says.When BHRRC surveyed renewable energy companies on human rights and community engagement, they found an alarming lack of transparency, awareness and implementation...[Refers to Anglo American, Bank of America, BMW, Delta Air Lines, Iberdrola, Johnson Controls, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Walmart.]

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Related companies: Anglo American Bank of America BMW Delta Air Lines Iberdrola Johnson & Johnson Johnson Controls Microsoft Walmart