Cleaner energy and thriving communities

Penny Walker looks at corporate action on the UN sustainable development goals on energy and sustainable communities in part five of our series

Affordable and clean energy

Energy use is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of greenhouse-gas emissions. About 20% of the world’s population are without access to electricity and 40% rely on wood, coal, charcoal and manure for cooking and heating. Cleaner, affordable energy for the poorest is a priority.

Targets in UN sustainable development goal seven include increasing the share of renewables, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, upgrading supply technology, and ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services. Initiatives to achieve these aims are under way worldwide.

Frontier Markets is an award-winning Indian business empowering its network of solar sahelis – women trained in marketing and after-sales servicing who sell clean energy products to people in remote areas of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. This bottom-of-the-pyramid ‘last mile’ distribution model has helped them sell more than 127,000 products, including solar streetlights, lamps, torches, PV panels and clean cook-stoves. The vision of Ajaita Shah, who founded Frontier Markets, is to provide access to clean energy for one million households in India by 2020.

Renewables specialist Acciona is helping off-grid communities in Mexico and Peru through its Microenergia Foundation. The Spanish firm works closely with public authorities ...

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