Greenpeace made a strange proposal to Pick ‘n Pay yesterday. The environmental group say the supermarket chain is one of the country’s biggest consumers of electricity and thus asked it “to ditch its dirty love affair with fossil fuels” and marry the sun instead.

By that, it means adopt solar power.

The group placed a banner and a symbolic engagement ring on Pick ‘n Pay’s doorstep at its Cape Town head office, and presented its proposal to CEO Richard Brasher.

“It has become clear to us that Pick ‘n Pay is not yet prioritising their transition to a clean electricity future and so we’re calling on them to make the difference and show solar some love,” explained Greenpeace Africa’s Penny-Jane Cooke.

“Pick ‘n Pay has a clear opportunity and an ethical obligation to show the millions of South Africans who shop in their stores that they really care about the future of our country,” she said.

The proposed action is part of Greenpeace’s Renewable Energy Champions campaign, which the group launched in April. Based on its own report, the group aims to get the top five retailers to commit to 100% renewable energy.

According to Greenpeace, “Pick ‘n Pay has the highest per annum electricity consumption out of the five retailers researched by Greenpeace, which equates to the annual electricity consumption of 65 000 South African households. Renewable energy not only makes good business sense for the retail sector, as can be witnessed by the increasing number of shopping malls that are choosing to power their buildings with solar photovoltaics, but also provides a more sustainable development pathway for South Africa.”

The other retailers mentioned it its report are Woolworths, Massmart, Spar and Shoprite.

Cooke added that retailers can be the kick-start that needs to happen in order for more business to adopt solar power in a larger scale.

The group posted a Facebook update yesterday, saying that Pick ‘n Pay has accepted its proposal.

[Image – CC by 2.0/350 .org]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.