JBS, one of the biggest food companies in the world, has become the first in the food sector to have an enterprise who is qualified to issue International Renewable Energy Certificates (REC).
REC’s represent the environmental benefits of generating one megawatt hour (MWh) of energy from renewable sources. They can be purchased by industries and commercial establishments to prove they consume electricity generated by renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, thermal, and biomass power.
Biolins, a thermoelectric plant in the city of Lins (SP) owned by JBS, can now issue 113,400 certificates for the past year. The plant is equipped with a capacity of 45 MW, and uses various types of biomass as raw material for power generation, such as sugarcane bagasse, wood sawdust, and eucalyptus waste. Currently, Biolins supplies 20% of JBS’s electricity needs in Brazil
“This is an important milestone because it certifies that Biolins is environmentally clean and injects energy from a 100% renewable source into the National Interconnected System (SIN). This means that the holders of I-RECs issued by Biolins can prove that the energy consumed in their operations is clean,” says Mauricio Bauer, director of sustainability at JBS Brazil.
REC’s are accepted by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and allow holders to report zero emissions for each unit of electricity consumption covered by purchased certificates. REC’s allow companies to neutralize their Scope 2 emissions, that is, the indirect CO2 emissions associated with the purchase of electricity for their own use along with heating and cooling.
High volumes of certificates have already been purchased, a trend that is expected to increase by as much as five times in 2023, according to Transparent Energy.
However, some critics believe that as RECs do not reflect physical electricity flow to the purchaser, company-level emission reductions reported through them are unlikely to reflect real reductions of global emissions, which has the potential to compromise the alignment of SBTi’s with the Paris temperature goal.
Alongside Biolins’s certification, JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, is planning to invest $1 billion (£828bn) by 2030 to decarbonise its direct and indirect operations, with $100 million (£828m) in research to develop solutions aimed at make farming increasingly sustainable.
JBS recently improved its performance in the CDP 2022 Climate Change Report, the largest global platform for corporate sustainability information. This year’s ranking saw the institution raise the company’s score from B to A- in Climate Change, above the average score (C) for food and beverage companies.
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