The benefits of Earth Hour and renewable energy

Justin Shupe Justin Shupe
24 March 2023
4 min read

24 March 2023

In FY23, 75% of Findex office sites (80 out of 107 locations) began investing in renewable energy, demonstrating our commitment to our Carbon Neutral Strategy FY23 – 30 commitments to reduce our carbon emissions. We will continue to look for opportunities to increase our investment in renewable energy over our strategy period.

Earth Hour is 25 March 2023 8.30- - 5.30pm

For Earth Hour, Findex will be ensuring all our lights are switched off across our 107 locations at the end of business Friday 24 March as well as encouraging our staff to participate at home as well. During this hour we encourage you to reflect on and adopt a positive change for the planet. This year, Findex is encouraging that the change you adopt is investing in renewable energy.

The growing global electricity demands

Global cities account for less than 2 per cent of the Earth’s surface, but our expanding built environments consume a staggering 78% of the world’s energy – which is responsible for producing more than 60% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Our cities and the populations in them will continue to grow, and so too will the demand for electricity. The United Nations reports that by 2050, another 2.5 billion people will reside in our urban areas. Therefore, how we choose to power our lives, homes, and businesses, poses a great opportunity for us all to make a large impact in reducing global GHG emissions.

Australia is the world’s 14th highest emitter, contributing to over 1 per cent of global emissions, whereas New Zealand ranked 33rd contributing approximately 0.17% to global emissions. However, while 1% seems like a small percentage, Australia’s population is only 33%5 of the total world’s population – Australia has the highest per capita emissions amongst G20. Action by all countries is required to ensure the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming by 1.5-degrees is achieved.

For Australia, electricity is the largest sector contributing to national GHG emissions, followed by transport, agriculture, and industrial processes. In New Zealand, the agricultural sector is the highest contributor to national emissions, followed by transport energy, ‘other energy’ and then electricity.

So how do we continue to meet our energy demands while not contributing further to emissions that are driving climate change? Renewable energy!

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is being discussed everywhere, and with good reason.

Renewable energy accounted for 29% of total electricity generated in Australia during 2021, with solar (12%), wind (10%) and hydro (6%) contributing to the annual generation. This was the highest year on record for renewable electricity since the mid-1960s when it reached 26%9. New Zealand sources 80% of its electricity from renewable sources including hydro, geothermal, and wind.

Findex’s electricity use

Our electricity use is from powering our offices, and our consumption of electricity is included in our annual carbon footprint. Switching to renewable energy is one of the key initiatives of our Carbon Neutral Strategy, which set a goal of investing in renewable energy for our office electricity use from FY23. Findex has achieved this goal and in the second half of FY23, commenced investing in renewable energy for our office electricity consumption across Australia and New Zealand.

It is projected from our emission reduction modelling undertaken during our carbon target setting work that investing in renewable energy from FY23 onwards for office electricity under our central billing agreement will save approximately 8,000 tCO2-e by the end of FY30. In other words, to remove 8,000 tCO2-e from the atmosphere it would take 132,281 tree seedlings growing over 10 years!

Our offices are spread across regional and metropolitan areas in Australia and New Zealand and powering these office spaces accounts for approximately 27% of our annual carbon footprint. This poses sizeable opportunity to make a good dent in reducing our emissions associated from electricity use.

Findex is committed to ensuring that the communities we serve are better for having known us. In FY22 Findex prepared its first Sustainability Strategy, which sets out our climate action initiatives. Recognising the urgent call for climate action, our initiatives and visions were developed, and our climate action commenced, as outlined in our Carbon Neutral Strategy FY23 – 30.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the thought or position of Findex.

Justin Shupe
Author: Justin Shupe | Sustainability Manager