Why switching to renewable energy benefits you

Justin Shupe Justin Shupe
29 March 2023
6 min read

29 March 2023

Findex developed its Carbon Neutral Strategy emission reduction targets to align with the Paris Agreement goal for global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to be reduced by 43% by 2030 and to achieve net zero by 2050. With urgent calls for action required to minimise global warming to 1.5o Celsius above pre-industrial levels, Findex used the latest climate science to set our targets. The residual emissions after our reduction efforts will be addressed with certified greenhouse gas offsets by the end of FY24.

Making the switch to renewable energy

Findex has 107 offices across its network, with 84 in Australia and 23 locations New Zealand. In line with our Carbon Neutral Strategy, from FY23 all sites under our central billing agreement for office electricity (73% of offices), have been switched to renewable energy. From FY23 onwards, we will work with our individual landlords for the remaining 27% office locations and try to transition as many of our lease agreements over to renewable energy by the end of FY30.

By Investing in renewable energy, we are contributing to global efforts to reduce GHG emissions. In New Zealand, Findex invests in Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which are purchased to equate the same amount of office space electricity consumption.

What does switching to renewable energy mean?

Renewable energy is generated from sources that are continually replaced and never run out – such as the wind, sun, and geothermal heat. Whereas non-renewable sources such as oil, gas, and coal (fossil fuels) are a finite resource – meaning once their resources are used up, they cannot be replenished.

The most common types of renewable energy include solar, wind and hydropower, but other sources are geothermal, bioenergy and ocean energy.

The availabilities of these renewable energy sources will depend on location and the suitability of the energy being generated. For example, wind energy projects are suitable to areas with high and constant wind, whereas geothermal is suitable to areas where the Earth’s heat can be extracted in forms such as steam or water.

Why Findex is making the switch

The benefits of Findex investing in renewable energy include:

  • reducing our carbon emissions associated with office electricity use, thereby reducing our impact on the environment

  • redirecting investment on carbon offsets that would be required to cover emissions from electricity generated from fossil fuels, into energy and resource efficiency projects which can result in cost savings

  • inspiring our clients and our people to make the switch to renewable energy and contribute to efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change

  • investing in renewable energy projects in Australia and New Zealand which drive job creation and help local economies

  • attract and retain talent through demonstrating our commitment to sustainability

What making the switch means for you

On a global scale the benefits of renewable energy are much the same, and include:

Accessibly to renewables is everywhere

80% of the world’s population import fossil fuels, whereas renewables are available in all countries and provide an opportunity for economies to diversify and to protect them from pricing shocks of fuels and energy, propel economic growth, new jobs and alleviate poverty.

Renewable energy is cheaper

For most parts of the globe, renewable energy is the cheapest option, with renewable energy technology prices continuing to fall. Global financial shocks, such as international military conflict, can also lead to soaring oil and gas prices which are passed on to customers. By having access to and using renewable energies that can be scaled, we can minimise our dependency on increasing fossil fuels.

Health benefits

Air pollution exposure can lead to various health issues (i.e., respiratory diseases). In 2018 pollution caused from the burning of fossil fuel resulted in $2.9 trillion in health and economic costs. By switching to cleaner energy production, air pollution is decreases thereby reducing the impacts poor air quality can have on health.

Job creation

With every dollar that is invested in renewable energy, three times as many jobs are created in the renewable energy sectors. It is estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA), transitioning to net-zero emissions will result in a net gain of 9 million jobs from renewable energy.

Investing in RECs promote the production of renewable and zero carbon energy as the demand for electricity increases.

Economic sense

To achieve the Paris Agreement goal of net zero emissions by 2050, approximately $4 trillion needs to be invested in renewable energy until 2030. In 2020, $5.9 trillion was spent subsidising the fossil fuel industry. Through renewable energy, reducing pollution and climate impacts – could save the world $4.2 trillion a year by 2030. Considering the 2020 subsidies spent on fossil fuels, it makes more sense to start shifting this spend into renewable energy investment to reach our global emission reduction targets and limit climate change impacts and pollution.

How can climate actions make a difference?

The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming may not seem like much, however considering the scale and complexity of climate systems, half a degree makes a huge difference. Figure 1 outlines some key Impacts from climate change and how half a degree in global warming can vary between 2 to 10 times.
Difference between 1.5 and 2 degree global warming

Figure 1: Difference between 1.5 and 2 degree global warming

Climate change affects more than just the natural environment, for example, it also poses a risk to our health. Climate change will worsen existing diseases and conditions while also providing the perfect conditions for pests and pathogens to spread into new regions. Both Australia and New Zealand have undertaken studies to identify the risks from climate change. To read more about these, visit Australia’s CSIRO or New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment agencies.

How and when to make the switch

Swapping to invest in renewable energy is as easy as contacting your energy retailer and asking for a quote about switching to renewable energy. The sooner we all take action, the greater the impact. Now is a great time to not only switch off your lights in recognition of the impact being energy wise can have, but to also to make the switch for your business and/or home to renewable energy and increase your impact.

How to learn more about our Carbon Neutral journey

To learn more about our investment in renewable energy for our office electricity use and base building (shared) areas, and our other carbon reduction initiatives and further background on how we developed our carbon neutral path visit our website here.

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