Three companies, ECOHZ, Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), and ACWA Power have partnered to give companies a tool to both mitigate climate change and empower women.
ECOHZ provides global renewable energy solutions, WOCAN is an international membership network working towards gender equality, and ACWA Power develops, owns and operates a global portfolio of power generation and desalinated water production plants. This collaboration initially utilizes projects in Morocco and South Africa.
“We work to change corporations’ energy behaviour, so it is very exciting for us to also give companies the opportunity to empower women at the same time,” says Tom Lindberg, Managing Director at ECOHZ.
ACWA Power’s Noor complex at Morocco is the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant project in the world, and their Bokpoort solar power plant in South Africa is one of the most efficient power plants in the world. These two projects generate and dispatch a significant amount of renewable energy to the grid, documented with International Renewable Energy Certificates (I-RECs). ACWA Power is undertaking a CSR project to develop the community and empower women at the remote sites of these two power projects. If a corporate sources renewable energy from these power plants and would like to support women, they can purchase I-RECs with W+ units.
“Our long-term commitment to the countries where our power plants are located extends beyond supplying electricity to the grid. When we invest in developing a power plant, quite often at remote locations, we actively collaborate with the host community to generate employment opportunity and economic activity and improve their quality of life on an enduring basis for the long term. We’re pleased to be partnering with WOCAN and to specifically contribute to female empowerment through our CSR work arising from our investment in the renewable energy sector,” says Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power.
I-REC is recognised by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 2 Guidance as a tracking instrument to document and report electricity consumption from renewable energy sources.
WOCAN created the W+TM Standard (W+), which is a set of project design and implementation requirements to measure women’s empowerment. It is the only standard that provides a quantifiable measurement of progress towards SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
W+ is being used by ACWA Power to ensure that the CSR project associated with Noor Power Plant increases income and improve livelihoods of the local female population, and the Bokpoort Power Plant’s CSR project contributes to clean water, solar lighting, adult education, food security, and apprenticeships & jobs for local women.
“Engaging and empowering women in project communities will create better project outcomes and improve lives. WOCAN is excited to collaborate with ACWA Power and ECOHZ and enable credible, measurable social co-benefits in renewable energy projects,” says Jeannette Gurung, Executive Director of WOCAN.
In summary, when a company purchases one MWh of electricity with W+ from either one of ACWA Power’s projects they are purchasing renewable energy for their operations in that region while also empowering local women.