Major names are stepping up their green investments, with a switch to clean energy becoming perhaps the most popular – and most visible – long-term strategy for corporate carbon cutters

A host of multinational companies have signalled their intent to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and the knock-on effects will ripple through supply chains and clients, analysts say. In the past few months, the likes of Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson have pledged to source all their energy from renewables. They have joined a list that already included Apple, Microsoft, Google and General Motors. Some of these are investing billions of dollars in their own clean energy installations.

Now the business world is looking to the COP21 negotiations on climate change in Paris, starting at the end of November, to deliver the underlying policy frameworks that will help support the shift. Emily Farnworth, campaign director of the Climate Group’s RE100 project, which works to help companies source 100% of their energy from renewables, says the growing adoption of renewable energy targets is motivated by considerations of future cost and energy security as much as by companies wanting to do their bit for climate action.

The steep drop in solar energy prices over the past few years – particularly in India, where parity with non-renewables has been achieved in many regions – has also driven take-up. And the reputational benefits...

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