Sarah Wilson on why Woolies going 100% renewable is hugely hopeful

Dear Fellow Hopeful Australians,

We might not have met. I’m Sarah Wilson, an author, former News Corp journalist and editor of Cosmopolitan, host of Masterchef and founder of I Quit Sugar.

I’ve also been a climate and anti-waste activist much of my adult life and today Greenpeace asked if I might share this bloody awesome news with you all*:

Woolworths has committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2025!

To put this win in its hugely hopeful context:

1. Woolies is the 6th largest electricity user in Australia and it currently consumes 1% of the country’s electricity — with power bills estimated at over a million dollars a day. This announcement will lead to the creation of 1,584 new jobs and enough new wind and solar energy to power 352,000 home.

2. Woolies are also signing up to RE100 — the global gang of major corporations committing to 100% renewable electricity.

3. Woolies has HUGE brand recognition. They are a massive, mainstream corporation and if they can make this switch then this says a bloody lot out there in the world. It screams (in BOLD SHOUTY CAP LETTERS):


And all this as Australia’s Morrison Government is in desperate need of unapologetic prods to do the same by 2050.

Share this Woolies win because if they can do it, all big business and government can too.

This is hope on a stick. I know a thing about hope. I’d lost it earlier this year, just as I was finishing research on my latest book This One Wild and Precious Life, which had been pitched as providing a hopeful path forward through the clusterf*ck that is the climate crisis. 

What saved me from paralysing despair? I realised that change was going to happen, but it would come from surprising quarters and it would gather momentum fast and with some life-affirming magic. Like when the losing side in a grand final, in the final minute of play, pulls out fully left-of-field tactics (wild! bold!) and (we can’t quite believe it!) ends up winning the game with a wild bold try or home run (or whatever). 

Indeed, we are watching this change now, and it’s coming not from governments (or at least not as fast as we’d like), but from industry, from financial institutions, and of course everyday families and individuals, because – and you and I have known this for ages – it makes beautifully good sense. 

A few more dot points of hope:

  • Aldi, Bunnings and Officeworks made the same commitment in recent months.
  • Coles is the 12th largest electricity user in Australia. They’ve already signed big deals to get 30% of their power from wind and solar farms in NSW and QLD. If we can convince them to make the switch to 100% renewable it will lead to more new wind and solar farms and 1,028 jobs.

We can vote with our dollar – and by sharing this Woolies news – we can push Coles to act bigger and bolder by switching to 100% renewable electricity!

So, what now? Let’s keep the momentum going!

Can I suggest we all share Greenpeace’s social tiles? And share this email with your mates? Maybe add your own wild and hopeful messages geared to your community? Perhaps suggest folks vote with their dollar to push Coles to go next? 

Whatever we make of big business and their dealings in other realms, we can all get behind them here. Frankly, it’s nice to come together around some bloody good sense. 

I hope to see you around. Until I do, keep it wild and precious!

Sarah Wilson