Month: July 2022

Delivering benefits through impactful renewable energy procurement

As corporate purchases of renewable energy have steadily increased, the criteria that buyers are looking for have also evolved. In the recent past, it was not a common practice to look at factors beyond environmental attributes, such as community co-benefits or other impactful procurement options, in order to differentiate one renewable energy certificate (REC) from another. Over the last year, there has been a noticeable uptick in buyers who have an expanded focus on these factors, and are embedding social and/or climate justice initiatives into their corporate renewable energy goals and purchasing strategies. 

The industry has been shining more light on the importance of prioritizing a deeper impact when taking steps towards decarbonization. Despite popular belief, all RECs are not equal in value–like standard RECs, impact RECs still deliver a megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable energy, but they also contain social or environmental benefits. Thus, impact RECs are sourced from renewable energy projects that have additional co-benefits associated with them, like allowing low-to-moderate income (LMI) families to reap the benefits of renewable energy or funding renewable energy development in climate-vulnerable areas. 

Co-Benefits: The New Normal


Using non-emitting resources results in emission reductions

greenhouse gas icon


Communities with a reduced energy burden and stable electricity costs have more capital to reinvest in their homes or families

goal icon


Equitable clean energy deployment reduces local air pollution and increases air quality

goal icon


Projects that involve climate justice ensure that marginalized communities see improvements from the deployment of renewables

In addition to reducing the effects of their energy use and meeting sustainability goals, organizations are also seeking higher impact products for a variety of reasons. How an organization arrives at the decision to incorporate co-benefits into their REC purchase varies greatly based on what impact characteristics are most important internally. Some want to support projects that are local to their state or region, and others want to take steps toward attaining certain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or meet specific climate target standards. For many corporations, the motivation comes from customer demands to address global issues, like racism, gender inequality, or poverty. Additionally, many corporate buyers are increasingly concerned about the residual impacts that renewable energy development has on the local communities where these projects are built. 


Using non-emitting resources results in emission reductions

greenhouse gas icon


Communities with a reduced energy burden and stable electricity costs have more capital to reinvest in their homes or families

goal icon


Equitable clean energy deployment reduces local air pollution and increases air quality

goal icon


Projects that involve climate justice ensure that marginalized communities see improvements from the deployment of renewables

There is undeniable intersectionality between social and climate issues. Entities are beginning to understand that to develop clean energy sustainably, social boundaries must be weighted equally to planetary boundaries. Systematically marginalized communities, especially lower-income communities and communities of color, are disproportionately impacted by climate change. In fact, according to the World Bank, 74 of the world’s poorest countries account for less than one-tenth of global GHG emissions. It is important to consider the climate impacts that affect historically-excluded  communities, understand the issues these communities face, and identify the systems that both perpetuate generational disadvantages and cause climate change. 

For example, Okta, an innovative San-Francisco-based identity company, went beyond solely addressing its emissions footprint by supporting projects with strong co-benefits, such as Solar Stewards, California Bright Schools and PosiGen’s Solar Power For All Program. This focus on impact-based work comes from Okta’s unique style of cross-team collaboration and a strategy to address broader challenges such as sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). 

Like Okta, companies that support impact projects can hit multiple goals simultaneously by cross cutting amongst established objectives. Lifting marginalized communities out of poverty and inequality is an essential first step toward, and catalyst for, actualizing sustainable development on a global scale. The extension of clean energy technology to underserved LMI communities, who rarely have access to solar power, can spur other benefits like new jobs and a reduced energy burden. 

Creative, Conscious Procurement

Through the Solar Power for All program, Posi Gen makes it possible for families in historically marginalized communities to reap the benefits of rooftop solar, invest in their homes, and save money on their utility bills.

Innovative, new renewable energy procurement solutions have emerged to aid in the intersectionality of social and climate issues. Take Peace Renewable Energy Credits (P-RECs)—P-RECs have the potential to expand the renewable energy revolution to vulnerable regions, improve quality of life, and create economic opportunities. The regions of the world most affected by crises tend to be those most vulnerable to climate change, and are largely excluded from climate-related investment, and P-RECs seek to change that. For instance, ZIZ Energie in Chad and Winch Energy in Uganda are extending the benefits of solar energy to fragile countries in Africa where communities have low levels of electrification. A P-REC is an International Renewable Energy Credit (I-REC) with an additional certification by Energy Peace Partners (EPP) of the social and economic co-benefits associated with the project. 

Through years of discussions, 3Degrees and Energy Peace Partners conceptualized a method of supporting transformative projects  through corporate purchasing of P-RECs. In 2020, Microsoft made the inaugural purchase of P-RECs, supporting a local Congolese solar developer to deploy a clean energy project in an underserved community. Microsoft backed that up with the first repeat P-REC transaction expanding its support for renewable energy development in the same community. The P-REC purchases will help finance the construction of a new commercial solar-plus-storage project and mini-grid-connected street lights in the Congolese town of Goma–which will raise the average electricity rate from 3% to around 20%. In addition to increasing neighborhood safety, the project supports the local economy and improves air quality. 

This transaction unlocked a new renewable energy attribute option that organizations are just beginning to leverage. In the first P-REC transaction in South Sudan, 3Degrees purchased P-RECs from a solar plant managed by the International Organization for Migration and transferred them to Block, a fast growing global technology company. This purchase directly funds the solar electrification of Malakal Teaching Hospital in South Sudan, the main healthcare facility of that region. 

How We Can Help

More companies are beginning to weave equity and impact into their business and climate strategies. To a greater extent, customers are coming to us interested in the opportunity to invest in projects that contribute to a just transition and have a deeper impact. If you are interested in advancing social benefits through procurement and taking direct action in an equitable and environmentally responsible energy transition, please contact us

Impacts of changes in the European energy market: E-World takeaways

It was great to be back at E-World in Essen, Germany at the end of last month. It’s the biggest energy fair in Europe, and it was our first time back in over two years, as the organizers haven’t hosted the event since the pandemic began in early 2020. We’ve all felt a little lost without it and gathering over pints in the exhibit hall had the wonderful feel of a reunion with old and new friends.

Despite the enjoyment of being together again, there was a lot to discuss after two years of significant changes to the energy market—most notably, the impact of the war in Ukraine, which  has caused disorder in the European energy market. As a result of that, the EU introduced, REPowerEU, a plan to aggressively decarbonize while simultaneously reducing dependence on Russian fossil fuels. 

The 3Degrees team showed up in force to gain insight on this and more with members of numerous business units, including trading and origination, energy and climate consulting, and business development, among others . Each faction took away unique insights from the event and collaborated on these key highlights. 

Challenges in PPA Markets

Developers and buyers alike are facing a difficult market for renewable energy projects. There are funding, permitting, and interconnection issues—which are especially prevalent in Italy and Poland. There are plenty of projects set to come online in 2024, but buyers are looking for projects now, which means any project with an earlier start date is quickly being claimed. 

We can also expect to see more projects come into play in Spain, Italy, and the Nordic countries, as there is a lot of increased demand for projects in that region.

In order to get power purchase agreements (PPAs) completed in this market, corporate buyers may have to make some adjustments by following these guidelines to receive offers from developers:

  • Be prepared for speed in decision making and flexibility on the terms of your deal
  • Have high quality credit or credit support
  • Work with a consulting team that is well-versed in the current energy market and can help to educate and advise you throughout negotiations

Strong Outlook for Guarantees of Origin

Even through the turmoil in the current energy market, Guarantees of Origin (GOs) continue to see increased demand. This demand comes in the form of corporates that are interested in traditional PPAs or long term GO offtakes and utility companies that are switching to 100% green electricity. Each of these options involve a high volume of GOs.

In order to cover this increased demand, market participants are turning into net GO buyers. 

Closing Thoughts on E-World

Overall, it was great to hear insights on the current market, meet with old and new industry partners, and catch up with colleagues from all over the world. We continue to have great faith in the European energy market, despite its current challenges, and will be there to help aid in its accelerated clean energy transition.

3Degrees continues to be seen as a trusted partner in the international energy market, so if you’re interested in working with us, please get in touch.

3Degrees named Best For The World 2022 by B Lab

At 3Degrees, we are united by the belief that a business can be an engine of change, and its people can make a great difference. While many businesses vie to be the best in the world, we focus on being the best for the world. This is the foundation of what it means to be a Certified B Corporation.

We are thrilled to announce that 3Degrees has been named Best for the World 2022 by B Lab in recognition of our impact and commitment to the environment. “Best for the World” is a distinction granted by the independent and international organization B Lab, to Certified B Corporations (B Corps) whose verified B Impact Scores rank in the top 5% of all B Corps in their corresponding size group. This distinction is incredibly meaningful to us, especially having recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary as a B Corp. This is a wonderful community, and we’d like to share a bit more about what it means for 3Degrees to be recognized as Best for the World.

Our commitment to the environment drives our corporate action

We’re proud to have earned this distinction for our impact on the environment, because as a climate solutions company, protecting the environment is at the core of why we exist:  our mission is to help businesses and their customers take urgent action on climate change. And we don’t just help others achieve their climate goals, we have also made a strong climate commitment of our own. As part of B Corp’s Climate Collective, 3Degrees is committed to achieving Net Zero by 2030. For the past several years, the experts on our climate consulting team have been working diligently to measure and track the company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, and detail specific actions we need to take to ensure we reach our 2030 goal.

Some of our commitments and actions have included: 

  • Purchased water restoration credits to account for all water usage in offices and remote offices; 
  • Calculated and matched all office and remote work energy consumption and matched it with renewable energy credits (RECs);
  • Calculated scope 1, 2, & 3 carbon emissions and matched with carbon credits from a high-impact project selected by an all-staff vote: BioLite’s Improved Stove Programme in Uganda.

Our people lead our climate action

3Degrees being named Best For The World is only possible through the passion of the people on our team. Part of our culture as a B Corp is embracing collaborative work, and everyone has a voice. Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are employee-run committees dedicated to internal and external initiatives that align with our mission. Our B Corp BRG is the backbone of our commitment to B Corp values, leading the charge on our B Impact Assessment, helping employees engage with the B Corp community, and supporting 3Degrees in becoming an even better company.

“We’re excited to be recognized as Best for the World for the Environment in 2022. It shows that the efforts we’re making to take action on climate change are high-caliber and high-impact. As part of the B Corp BRG, we get to elevate and highlight the work of all the great people at 3Degrees, and continue to improve our impact on the environment and use our business as a force for good.”

– Kathleen Nickerson, B Corp BRG Co-Chair

Additionally, 3Degrees’ other BRGs – including those focused on sustainability and charitable giving – contribute to enabling our employees to advance their personal climate activism. A few examples include:

  • Employee education and engagement around our corporate carbon footprint and net zero plans, facilitating a holistic view of sustainability and increased transparency; 
  • Staff discussions on climate-related topics, such as: tools for coping with climate anxiety, intersectional environmentalism, youth and the climate conversation, and building better bee gardens;
  • Offering employees the choice to opt to plant trees in place of receiving “swag” or gifts and matching a portion of what was spent in paper printing with a donation to National Forest Foundation (to date, we’ve planted nearly 5,000 trees through these programs);
  • Employee-directed donations to environmentally focused nonprofits. 

Being named Best for World and sharing the distinction with other outstanding members of the B Corp community reminds us that we are part of a larger picture to turn the tide on climate change, and every action counts. We’re proud to be a part of the solution.

All photos courtesy of 3Degrees employees

Image 1 of 5

Transportation: a key pillar for just transition. Takeaways from Forth ’22

At the end of June, professionals, community leaders, and other stakeholders gathered in Portland, Oregon for the annual Forth Roadmap conference to discuss the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as we course our path toward deep transportation decarbonization. Session topics ranged from the practical to the political, with some conversations centering on the impacts of redlining and how highway construction continues to connect predominantly rich white suburbs to economic centers—driving an even wider wealth gap, and leaving communities of color isolated, divided, and burdened by pollution. Many fear this issue will remain unaddressed and exacerbated with the Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia vs. EPA. This recent decision which leaves environmental regulation in the hands of a divided congress likely means that these same overlooked and underrepresented communities will continue to bear the brunt of vehicular pollution and the current and future impacts of the climate crisis. Progress is not guaranteed.

As we face these difficult truths, optimism can be scarce but in regards to transportation, we face a historic opportunity to right some of our past wrongs. Electrified transportation has the potential to make our communities cleaner and quieter while also lowering the cost of transportation. We are starting to see leadership from the Federal government in setting standards, allocating infrastructure funds, and improving coordination between OEMs, utility companies, the Dept. of Energy and the Dept. of Transportation. We applaud the governmental leadership to align these efforts as it results in a more mature industry and consistent experience.

Attendees gather for the “Building an Equity Community of Practice” session as part of the Impact Track at the 2022 Forth Roadmap Conference. “We really need radical vision that spans across sectors and political frameworks. Let’s put dollars in the hands of communities,” said panelist Queen Shabazz, Coordinator of the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative.

Building an inclusive clean transportation future

Many conference panelists and speakers encouraged those responsible for facilitating the shift to electric to engage the community to fully understand the transportation needs of residents of every cultural and socioeconomic status. Our communities face wide-ranging challenges and the tunnel vision focus on electric vehicles insults what makes our communities unique. Our cities are too highly dependent on passenger cars and don’t prioritize human-powered transportation or bus rapid transit which serve a critical need of inner-city communities. Residents in rural areas encounter EV range anxiety, increased highway travel, longer electric outages, and a lack of suitable vehicles that make EVs difficult to integrate. The pleas from experts such as Erika Meyers, executive director at CharIN North America, are to take the time to understand the problems and to follow Avoid, Shift, Improve (ASI) principles to address them. After all, the most decarbonized mile is the one not driven and to be successful within a community, you must slow down so you can go fast.

Fresh from the ACTExpo from a few weeks ago, a conference with a focus on shiny new chrome trucks, and seamless technological solutions, powered by big and small companies ready to change the world, I found myself wanting more. I felt a real absence of a just transition-centered conversation at ACTExpo. I was looking toward businesses to lead the conversation, to question the conventional wisdom from automakers and EV charging companies, and to search for deeper value than just “Total Cost of Ownership.”

“We really need radical vision that spans across sectors and political frameworks. Let’s put dollars in the hands of communities,” said panelist Queen Shabazz, Coordinator of the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative. 

The 2022 Forth Roadmap Conference was held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

As I consider these many complex challenges, I reflected on my own transition from working for a big energy company to 3Degrees, a mission-oriented B Corp. One of the primary reasons for making this shift was to work with passionate people and clients that are unsatisfied with doing the bare minimum—who question the status quo. My hope coming out of this conference is that I can learn from these experts and bring some of these questions to our clients that are looking to decarbonize. Through candid conversations and deep introspection, we can help our customers understand their role in their communities, engage local leaders and stakeholders, and choose to pursue solutions that strive to address multiple problems rather than just one. Importantly, it’s about building relationships that result in lasting change and continued progress.

The keynote speaker at Forth Roadmap was Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., president &CEO of Hip Hop Caucus, and he reiterated that racial and climate justice are inextricably linked with transportation. And as the famous quote goes, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”. Our opportunity lies with rethinking transportation, including EVs. The EV industry is new, but with progress being eroded at the highest levels of government, it is critical to steer our collective future on a path toward equity.

For support in exploring decarbonized transportation options like LCFS, EVs, hydrogen, or what grant opportunities exist, please reach out to me and our team here at 3Degrees 

In Setting Corporate Climate Goals, Credibility is Key

The ongoing climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our times and the corporate call to action to set climate goals is at an all-time high. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoiding the most catastrophic damage is essential, and corporations are the most influential players. However, public skepticism grows as more climate targets are set, so organizations need to focus on credibility.

Organizations must align their strategies with science to make their goals credible. Learn the four steps your organization can take to get this done in 3Degrees’ whitepaper, In Setting Corporate Climate Goals, Credibility is Key.