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Schneider Electric creating social change in African rural communities

December 2014 News

Schneider Electric South Africa has set itself a target to create access to energy for 20 000 Africans by the end of this year. An ambitious goal, but the company believes that this is achievable through its sustainable development strategy, products and solutions.

Zanelle Dalglish, head of sustainable development for southern Africa at Schneider Electric, emphasises that to deliver on the organisation’s claim to be ‘The world leader in energy efficiency’, it needs to provide solutions to all sectors of society and, for this reason, it has established a programme to address global energy poverty.

“Through our global BipBop programme (Business, Innovation and People at the Base of the Pyramid), we develop collective solutions for comprehensive rural electrification, domestic solutions for energy-related needs and the business models that make these solutions sustainable,” she explains. “This means that we offer reliable, affordable, and clean solutions to help close energy gaps worldwide.”

The company has developed solutions adapted to the means and needs of populations in remote, primarily off-grid communities. Many of these are solar based, such as the Indiya and Mobiya lighting solutions, both developed to take advantage of the African sun in order to lessen the burden of daily life in poor and off-grid communities.

“The effects of our solutions can have a far-reaching impact on social and economic development. In projects already undertaken, we have observed an enhancement in lifestyle, safety from dwelling fires, the ability to study at night, establishing small businesses and so much more,” says Zanelle.

She highlights that to have a significant impact and initiate lasting change, a performance measurement tool is a requirement. Schneider Electric’s Planet & Society barometer covers the triple bottom line – planet, profit and people. The results are shared with the public and the measurement tool aims to mobilise the corporate community around sustainable development objectives.

“Importantly, we do not want to walk this path alone and encourage partnerships with other businesses, NGOs and funders to establish an electrification model and fund our sustainable solutions. We then sell at cost to off-grid communities to launch solutions that alleviate poverty, develop new business opportunities and respect the planet,” concludes Dalglish.

For more information contact Ntombi Mhangwani, Schneider Electric South Africa, +27 (0)11 254 6400, ntombi.mhangwani@schneider-electric.com, www.schneider-electric.com



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