STORE SPACES

Gap makes history with innovative renewable energy deal

BY Marianne Wilson

Gap Inc. is the only retail company to participate in a first-of-its-kind renewable energy partnership.

The retailer has joined with four other global companies to announce the completion of an innovative power purchase agreement in which the buyers group — collectively known as the Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group — will serve as the anchor tenant for a large offsite solar project. The other companies in the group are Bloomberg, Cox Enterprise, Salesforce and Workday. (The deal was coordinated by LevelTen Energy, which aggregates both buyers and sellers across national and regional renewable energy portfolios.)

Gap’s share of the project will be dedicated to offsetting the energy consumption of the operations of its Athleta division, including its 160 plus U.S. stores and headquarters. The project is scheduled to begin operation starting in 2020.

“Through this partnership, we’ve created a new, cost-effective and replicable model that will open up the renewable energy market to companies seeking to purchase smaller volumes of power,” Chris Samway, senior VP and CFO at Athleta, wrote in a blog on Gap’s website. “Until now, the market has been dominated by extremely large transactions that essentially shut out these types of buyers.

The Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group is also committed to sharing best practices and lessons learned with other companies interested in leveraging its risk-mitigation purchasing model.

“We believe that through this type of innovation and collaboration across industries, businesses of any size can do more to create a healthier future for our people and our planet,” Samway added.

Reducing its energy footprint is just one of the ways that Athleta is meeting its commitment as a B Corp certified company, noted Samway.(Administered by non-profit organization B Lab, B Corp. certification is for for-profit businesses that have committed to meeting rigorous environmental and social standards.)

“Our certification is accelerating our course forward as a purpose-driven brand, honoring our mission to ignite a community of healthy, confident, active women and girls; and cementing our commitment to environmental sustainability,” Samway said.

In addition, the renewable energy project will contribute to Gap Inc.’s commitment to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 50% across all owned and operated facilities globally by the end of 2020. The retailer is leveraging the lessons learned from the project as it explores large-scale renewable energy solutions that will work best at the enterprise level and help achieve its ambitious climate goal.

Last December, Gap Inc. joined with other leading fashion brands to deepen its climate commitment by signing onto the new UN Fashion Climate Charter. In 2017, Gap Inc. signed on to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to align its climate goals with the scientific consensus and core commitment of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

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