2012, international year of sustainable energy for all
1.3 billion people do not have electricity and 2.7 billion people are dependent on traditional biomasse. In response to this situation, the General Assembly of the United Nations has declared 2012 the International year of sustainable energy for all. The objectives of the initiative are threefold: improve sustainable access to energy; develop energy efficiency; and develop renewable energy. GDF SUEZ, a responsible company and one of the world’s largest energy providers, is actively involved in this initiative.
Why create a Year for Sustainable Energy for All?
Energy services have a profound effect on productivity, health, education, climate change, food safety, water supply security, and communications services. A lack of access to clean, affordable and reliable energy hinders human, social and economic development and is a major obstacle to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, decreed an initiative by the General Assembly of the United Nations, should make it possible:
- to raise awareness of the problem of energy poverty among major global players,
- to show that access to clean energy and affordable energy services can improve the lives of populations all over the world.
GDF SUEZ is taking part in this initiative in several ways. By virtue of its business, the Group is fully involved in the development of reliable energy services and renewable energy. GDF SUEZ is part of several international advocacy think thanks and working groups ; it is also implementing specific projects, to improve the everyday lives of disadvantaged populations in various countries.
Rio+20 Summit is the International United Nations Summit on sustainable development climate change, declining biodiversity, soil erosion and desertification, and worsening pollution. The international community must give itself the means by which to respond to these challenges by reinforcing international environmental governance, which is currently too fragmented to be efficient, and Rio+20 is a unique opportunity to achieve this. GDF SUEZ will be taking part: the Group will present the conclusions of the working group that has carried out research into the role of companies in energy access for all (see the “Sustainable Energy For All” Initiative below).
The Summit will be held in Rio de Janeiro from June 20-22, 2012, 20 years after the city hosted the 1992 Earth Summit.
The “GDF SUEZ Rassembleurs d’Energies” initiative
In 2011, GDF SUEZ launched an ambitious global initiative, called “GDF SUEZ Rassembleurs d’Energies”. It is intended to support social entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations involved in helping the poorest populations access to sustainable energy for the poorest populations.
A commitment to support the vulnerable population
Combating energy poverty is an integral part of the Group’s role as energy provider. That is why
- Introducing adjusted rates and preventing unpaid bills,
- Helping to improve the living conditions of people living in poverty,
- Providing information and raising awareness about the importance of saving energy.
One example of this is, is what GDF SUEZ is doing with its ISIGAZ initiative in France, which aims to provide information about saving energy for people who live in disadvantaged urban areas. Around 400 social workers have also been trained to convey this information to the groups concerned (approximately 650,000 people).
Several projects have also been carried out internationally to provide energy access to energy-deprived populations:
- In Casablanca, Morocco, 30,000 homes have received access to electricity and other basic services.
- In the Vanuatu Islands, the Group has developed a fuel made from coconuts to provide energy for 110,000 disadvantaged citizens.
- In Brazil, social and environmental programs have accompanied the construction of the large hydroelectric power plants (particularly those in Estreito and Jirau). Their cost represents approximately 15% of the total cost of the power plants.
Participation to international initiatives and working groups
The “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative
Under the aegis of Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations has launched the “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative. Three objectives have been set for the year 2030:
- Ensure universal access to modern energy services.
- Reduce global energy intensity by 40 per cent.
- Increase renewable energy use globally to 30 per cent.
GDF SUEZ is part of the working group on the business role for sustainable energy for all.
A set of recommandations and commitments will be prepared and presented during RIO +20 conference in June, which will celebrate the 20th anniversary on the Earth Summit.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development
The WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) brings together 200 international companies united by a shared commitment to sustainable development based on three pillars: economic growth, ecological balance and social progress.
The members come from many different countries and over 20 key industrial sectors. Moreover, the WBCSD has a global network of 60 national and local partners bringing together over 1,000 business leaders. Its activities are based on the principle that sustainable development and the industrial world cannot progress independently.
Examples of GDF SUEZ best practices presented at the WBCSD:
In 2011, GDF SUEZ chaired the “Energy for All” working group alongside Schneider Electric and ERM. A publication was thus produced and presented in Abu Dhabi at the official launch of 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.