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Financial services company Visa has announced an ambitious plan to power its entire global operations entirely using renewable energy by the end of 2019, less than two years from this month.

The company is one of several large brands to make a commitment to going “all renewable” over the coming years. However, unlike many other companies that have announced plans aimed at switching entirely to renewable energy, Visa’s includes a strict timeline.

Visa, best known for its credit cards and digital payment platform services, currently sources approximately 35% of its electricity from renewable sources.

These include solar, hydro and wind, primarily provided by local utilities and major electricity providers. The company has also made several other changes to its practices to improve its environmental record, such as implementing a composting and recycling program.

In addition, the company has launched a series of additional programs to reduce its emissions and run a “greener” business, such as subsidising the use of public transport for its employees and switching many of its worldwide offices with energy efficient lighting.

To achieve its goals, Visa plans to invest heavily in renewable energy solutions in many of the countries in which its operates.

In a press release, the payment giant stated that its renewable energy plans were focused on four locations in the US and UK that “account for 80 per cent of its global electricity use.”

The company also plans to transition the remaining parts of its environmental footprint towards renewable electricity, in addition to launching efficiency initiatives at major centers of electricity usage such as its offices and data centres.

As ambitious the plan may seem, Visa’s commitment to the environment is supported by a long history of action. Over the last decade, the financial services company launched and executed a successful “green buildings” campaign, obtaining environmental attribute certification for 67% of its worldwide square footage.

This year, Visa joined the RE100 — an initial aimed at reducing fossil fuel usage and promoting the use of renewable energy. The RE100 includes some of the world’s largest businesses and best known brands, making it a major force in the world of renewable energy advocacy.

Visa isn’t the only large company to make renewables a major priority in 2018. Amazon, now one of the world’s most valuable companies, recently opened the largest of its environmentally friendly wind farms in Scurry County, Texas.

The facility, named Amazon Wind Farm Texas, includes more than 100 wind turbines capable of generating more than 1 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity. Amazon has signed a deal with Lincoln Clean Energy, the wind farm’s operator, to buy up to 90% of its electrical output.

The e-commerce company now owns more than 18 renewable energy plants, including solar PV and wind projects. Amazon also plans to expand its wind farm operations and add 35 additional plants over the near future.

As for UK businesses? Well, a green future may not be too far away. New data indicates that more than 50% of power generation in Britain came from low carbon sources last year, with a remarkable 25% of total nationwide output from renewables alone.

Elliot Preece

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