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Bloomberg: Attacking Climate Change From “All Angles.”

Updated: Dec 4, 2023


Bloomberg Media and Data Suite

Bloomberg, a global leader in delivering business and financial information, news, and insights, is a company that operates at a massive scale. The global financial services, software, data, and media company headquartered in New York City serves customers in more than 120 countries. Its customers range from traders needing a quick keyboard replacement to clients seeking high-profile event hosting. With over 22,000 employees worldwide, it generates over 320,000 service requests each year and manages a corporate network that includes 28,000 PCs, 50,000 screen displays, and over 120,000 network connections. As a leader in the financial sector, Bloomberg also recognizes its responsibility to address sustainability issues. The company is committed to reducing its own environmental impact and while helping clients navigate their transition to a low-carbon economy.


Emission Reduction Strategies


Bloomberg has implemented various initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. The company has set science-based emissions reduction targets, including cutting scope 1 and 2 emissions 80% and scope 3 emissions 30% by 2030 from a 2018 baseline. Strategies to reach these goals include energy efficiency upgrades, sustainable building certifications, business travel reductions, and supply chain engagement. In 2022, Bloomberg's scope 1 and 2 emissions were down 38% and scope 3 emissions declined 36% compared to 2018 levels. Today the company is on track to meet its 2030 targets.


Renewable Electricity Procurement

Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder - Bloomberg

A key focus of Bloomberg's sustainability strategy is transitioning to renewable electricity. To show they were serious about making the transition, the company joined RE100 in 2016, and announced their commitment to use 100% clean energy by 2025. This commitment is not just about reducing the company's environmental footprint; it's also about proving that sustainable business practices are good for business. In his book, Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses and Citizens Can Save the Planet, Michael R. Bloomberg, the company's founder, positioned the challenge this way - “The changing climate should be seen as a series of discrete, manageable problems that can be attacked from all angles simultaneously. Each problem has a solution. And better still, each solution can make our society healthier and our economy stronger.” The company’s ability to not only meet that challenge, but instead blow past it, played out in the height of pandemic when they outperformed and procured 48.5% renewable energy beating their 35% percent target. Bloomberg described the achievement as “[being] a turning point that propels us forward, including in the fight against climate change. Fighting climate change and growing the economy go hand in hand – bringing about immediate benefits that can save lives and make our communities stronger and more resilient. At Bloomberg, we’re committed to doing our part and our foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies continues to expand its efforts to drive action on climate change.”


Bloomberg the company continues to follow that lead, and in 2022 executed on the challenge by securing 192,533 MWh of renewable energy, an increase of 9.7 percent from 2021, from 10 on- and off-site solar and wind sites and a hydropower allocation from a local utility. This renewable energy represented 54.6 percent of the company's global purchased electricity, up from 51.2 percent in 2021. Along with on-site generation, the company's portfolio based renewable energy approach also includes 4,295 MWh from power purchase agreement (PPAs), 148,636 MWh from virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) and an additional 46,782 MWh from renewable energy certificates (RECs) which is in excess of the reported of the 192,533 MWh reported above.

Michael Barry, Head of Sustainable Operations - Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s VPPAs include one the first, and largest aggregated VPPAs with Starbucks, Gap, Inc., Salesforce and others which we’ve discussed in another article. Taking this approach is novel because “[t]he process of buying renewable energy through a PPA can be difficult and time-consuming, especially for buyers seeking smaller energy loads. Combining our resources as a single group of buyers has enabled us to scale our impact,” said Michael Barry, Head of Sustainable Business Operations at Bloomberg. “This transaction is a great example of a group sharing best practices, working together and showing the benefit that cross-firm collaboration can have. It also serves as an example to developers that a market exists for these types of projects.”


Expanding Sustainability to Employees and Clients

Beth Mazzeo, Chief Administrative Officer - Bloomberg

In keeping with the idea that sustainable business practices are good for business, Bloomberg also works with customers, suppliers and employees to help them reduce their emissions. In 2021 Bloomberg announced that it would offer access to community solar projects to more than 4,800 of its employees based in New York City. The move allowed eligible employees to enroll through Common Energy’s Clean Energy Benefit Program for power from solar projects owned and operated by UGE International. Enrolled employees receive clean energy credits on their electricity bill at no cost to them or Bloomberg. “By giving our employees the option to support community solar projects everyone wins,” Beth Mazzeo, Chief Administrative Officer at Bloomberg, said in a statement. “We raise awareness for the benefits of renewable energy, support local solar projects, lower emissions and fossil fuel consumption overall and on top of that our employees can lower their electricity bill each month.”

For its customers, Bloomberg relies on its huge business data prowess. They offer a massive suite of solutions designed to address every customer’s ESG needs, including Sustainable Finance and Investing, Regulatory Reporting, and Analytics to measure performance.


The Role of RECs with Additionality


While Bloomberg has made incredibly significant progress on its sustainability goals and renewable energy procurement, Barry’s statement above cannot be overlooked - the process of buying renewable energy through a PPA or VPPA can be difficult and time-consuming. This is where buying RECs with additionality can add simplicity to the corporate buyer strategy and amplify buyer commitments. RECs with additionality go beyond renewable energy certificates while providing the same impact as a PPA or VPPA by directly funding new renewable energy projects in advance of their operational date. Similar to what they’ve done with the aggregated VPPA, using RECs with additionality could accelerate Bloomberg's emission reductions by directly enabling new clean energy capacity to come on line at scale. This becomes increasingly important as the company's renewable electricity needs grow. Furthermore, by purchasing RECs with additionality this would allow Bloomberg to incentivize suppliers and customers to do the same. Further magnifying their effort to attack sustainability from all angles by addressing both their scope 3 emission reductions and their message to the market that sustainability is not just good for the planet, it's good for business.


Conclusion


In summary, Bloomberg has established itself as a corporate leader on sustainability. From ambitious renewable electricity and emission reduction goals to supply chain engagement, the company is driving meaningful climate action.While Bloomberg's efforts are commendable, incorporating RECs with additionality could amplify its impact even further. They represent a powerful tool to accelerate the renewable energy transition across the company's operations and value chain. By continuing to lead, Bloomberg can inspire other businesses to follow suit.


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