Greenpeace has challenged South Africa’s top five retailers to up their game when it comes to renewable energy. In a report to launch its “Renewable Energy Champions” campaign‚ the environmental activist group says between them, the retailers use enough energy to power 178‚400 homes.

“This campaign provides an opportunity for Pick n Pay‚ Shoprite‚ Spar‚ Woolworths and Massmart to take the lead and show the millions of South Africans who support them that they really care about the future of this country‚” said Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner Penny-Jane Cooke. The report outlines renewable energy investments and commitments from each retailer and ranks them against one another on four key criteria – energy transparency‚ commitment to renewable energy‚ greenhouse gas mitigation and lobbying for clean‚ renewable energy.

Woolworths ranks highest with a score of four out of 10. Woolworths and Pick n Pay have solar installations that contribute a small percentage of renewable energy to their overall operations. Shoprite received the lowest ranking because of its lack of transparency about energy information.

“Ranking the five retailers against one another makes it clear that none of them are doing particularly well when it comes to a commitment to a 100% renewable energy vision‚” said Cooke. “Also‚ none of the retailers are engaged in active lobbying for the barriers to renewable energy to be removed‚ which is an essential step if a 100% vision is to be achieved‚ and this has heavily impacted on their scores.”

The report says Pick and Pay uses the same amount of energy as 65‚000 households‚ Woolworths 55,000 homes and Massmart 53 000.

Cookes said if the retailers committed themselves to renewable energy it would set a good example for the country to follow. “They also need to articulate how they will achieve this vision in the short and long term‚ make the required investments and take the next step by lobbying government to remove the barriers to renewable energy for the benefit of their loyal consumers and the country.” – TMG Digital