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How EKOenergy contributes to the SDGs

Exactly 2 years ago, the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. For those committed to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, EKOenergy is a logical choice.

A widely accepted to-do list for the planet

On 25 September 2015, the 194 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, also known as the “Sustainable Development Goals”.

They are in essence a “to-do list for people and planet” and stress everything from zero poverty, zero hunger, good health, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and affordable clean energy, to decent work and economic growth, innovation, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities, responsible consumption, climate action, unpolluted oceans and land, and partnerships to achieve the goals.

A growing number of companies, local authorities and organisations are now taking steps to contribute to the realisation of these goals. EKOenergy is one of the instruments to help them do that. Here is a short overview.

Climate Action and Sustainable Energy (SDG 13 & 7 )

All sustainable development goals are interconnected. How countries and communities perform in one aspect has an impact on other aspects too. Two key goals are definitely climate action” and the promotion of affordable, clean energy.

How well we perform in achieving these goals will determine the near- and long-term future of our whole planet. Also at a local level, these actions are very important. Reports such as the Poor People’s Energy Outlook demonstrate how universal energy access is key to achieving almost every Sustainable Development Goal. It also shows that decentralised, off-grid renewable energy systems are the best way to bring energy to billions of people who are not yet connected to the grid.

The fight against climate change and the promotion of renewable energy are main aims of EKOenergy. In more than 25 countries, we encourage companies, municipalities and households to make the switch to renewable energy and to communicate about it.

Through our EKOenergy-ecolabel, we also raise funds for renewable energy projects that would not have happened without our support. Since our start in 2013, we have financed 15 projects aimed at tackling energy poverty in remote villages in Africa, Asia and Latin America. More than 5,000 people have benefited from these actions. Click here for a booklet on the projects we supported in 2016.

EKOenergy is still relatively small but we are growing fast. And every day new partners join us. This gives us even more possibilities to grow our impact.

Life below water and life on land (SDG 14 & 15).

EKOenergy’s ecolabel also takes into account how the energy has been produced. We have introduced a set of criteria, focussing on the impact of the production on nature. In the case of hydropower we take into account the impact on migratory fish (and other river species). We set sustainability criteria for the origin and use of bioenergy. For wind and solar, we take into account the location of the power plant. For example, we check that the power plant is not located in an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.

By choosing EKOenergy, you help us raise these issues in discussions with producers and sellers. And if you buy EKOenergy certified hydropower, your energy seller makes contributions to EKOenergy’s Environmental Fund. The money of that Fund is used to finance river restoration projects. Since 2013, we have collected €€ 290,000. With that money, we have financed 10 river restoration projects, mainly in Finland, where the majority of the EKOenergy certified hydropower is sold.

(Note: SDG 14, ‘life below water’ targets seas and oceans. For EKOenergy this will become more relevant when the share of marine energy, such as gulf and wave energy, grows.)

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Other Development Goals (SDG 3, 4 & 5)

When selecting Climate Fund projects, we take into account the impact on other Sustainable Development Goals, such as the impact on good health (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4) and gender equality (SDG 5).

In the past years, we have mainly financed solar installations in remote schools and hospitals. For example, in 2016, we donated €20,000 to install solar panels at two health centers in Southern Cameroon. Use of electricity provides a significant improvement to the healthcare system in the rural areas of Cameroon by allowing the use of solar powered fridges to store vaccinations and medicine and by having light at night.

Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)

EKOenergy helps companies, local authorities and households engage in a more responsible consumption and production. Contact us for more information. We would be happy to discuss how EKOenergy can help you realize your Corporate Social Responsibility targets too.

Steven Vanholme
Programme Director