ACWA Power, a global leader in water desalination and power generation, recently collaborated with key player in energy sector, ECOHZ, that offers global renewable energy solutions to businesses, organisations and electricity providers, to empower local women and support communities in Morocco.
Stemming from its commitment to communities it operates in, and following its development of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plan project, Noor Power Plant in Morocco, ACWA Power concludes the year by empowering women around the plant through increasing income and employability and improving education.
ACWA Power works close with WOCAN, the international membership network working towards gender equality, and creator of W+ Standard (W+) (which measures the impact of projects on women empowerment and increases their access to resources and capital, scaling up solutions to climate change, food security and poverty).
The CSR project increases income and improves livelihoods of the local female population. It recognises the social capital created by women; rewards women’s contributions to sustainable environment communities; provides access to women in local communities to basic needs including education and healthcare; and increases the income and employability of women to help ensure gender equality.
Expressing his pride and delight, Paddy Padmanathan, President and Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, said: “We are pleased and proud to be contributing to female empowerment through our CSR work that is a result of our investment in the renewable energy sector. Our commitment in countries we operate in extends beyond supplying electricity to the grid.
“We are passionate about our model of developing plants in remote areas and actively collaborating with the local communities. This results in empowerment of local communities; creation of employment opportunities; and generation of economic activity – which we consider our long-term commitment. We are proud to be working with W+ to contribute towards increasing income and employability.”
Tom Lindberg, Managing Director at ECOHZ added: “We work to change corporations’ energy behaviour and are enthusiastic to be able to empower women at the same time - contribute to both SDG 7 (clean energy) and SDG 5 (gender equality).”
In coordination with WOCAN’s pursuit of sustainable development, it has been reported that W+ is the first instrument that offers the possibility to measure, verify, and report the fifth and seventh critical sustainable development goals (SDGs), which are part of the larger 17 SDGs set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The fifth SDG highlights the necessity of gender equality and women empowerment to ensure women are granted equal access to education, health care, job opportunities, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes. The seventh SDG represents access to affordable and clean energy with a particular focus on integrating renewable energy into end-use applications to fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies at large, which falls in harmony with the objectives of the Paris Agreement to mitigate climate change calamities and endorse the use of clean energy. The remarkable collaboration between ACWA Power, ECOHZ and WOCAN has been able to heavily contribute to these SDG’s and consequently amplify the welfare of women in Morocco.
David Ungar, Executive Director, Green House Gas Mitigation and Sustainability at ACWA Power said: “We are in an era where we are able to have very direct positive impact in the communities in which we operate. The W+ units help us to achieve our goal to make a measurable difference in-line with the United Nations SDG’s. This is just one key development we are making to enhance the way we improve the lives in rural communities.”
The collaboration between the three industry leaders will create better project outcomes and improve lives. The CSR project will enable credible and measurable social co-benefits in renewable energy projects. Companies can now continue to purchase renewable energy and contribute towards gender equality. The year 2019 will mark a successful year of transactions and will cement ACWA Power and ECOHZ’ efforts in endorsing local women empowerment.
Within the renewable energy industry, it is said that women represent a higher percentage of the workforce at 35% compared to the wider power sector. In the MENA region alone, over half of clean energy companies state that they employ more men than women with only 29% claiming equality numbers of both genders. There is a need to further increase the representation of women in the sector. ACWA Power has embraced the W+ standard and its work in Morocco is a testament to its commitment to power the communities in which it operates.