The Ikea Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation have partnered up to alter the current state of energy poverty and bring electricity to millions of people around the globe. This will create a domino effect of outcomes as more individuals have access to green energy, greenhouse gasses will lower, and the transition off fossil fuels will be closer than ever before.
In a day and age where environmental consciousness seems to be at an all-time high, the larger corporations have begun to make their pledge to cater to the consumer demand for sustainable goods and services. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in greenwashing, where companies market themselves as environmentally conscious without taking any initiatives, thus deceiving the public with a false narrative of good. On the other end of the spectrum, some businesses have taken extra steps to assure public transparency and that their initiatives are in place for a sustainable future.
Currently, 13% (1 billion people) worldwide have no access to electricity. This percentage grows even higher when you look at sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 600 million people, or 57% of the population, are experiencing energy poverty. Though access to electricity has increased substantially since 2000, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to provide individuals with a more accessible life.
Many have pointed out that the funds to remedy this situation exist. However, they are not allocated properly and the ability to identify viable projects has withheld certain areas from participating in the adoption of renewable energy. Ikea and Rockefeller are looking to alter this narrative and bring hope to billions around the globe.
Just this week, the Ikea Foundation and Rockefeller Foundations announced their commitment to making a substantial shift in the global transition to green energy by donating a combined $1 billion. The goal is to run a public charity that can provide funds to at-risk communities worldwide and aid in transitioning the globe off of fossil fuels.
Sustainability is most commonly defined as assuring the preservation and prosperity of all three pillars: environment, social, economic. Both the Ikea Foundations and Rockefeller Foundation have demonstrated their commitment to this topic in the past through various initiatives.
Ikea has taken inspiration from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN SDGs are comprised of 17 topics, including, but not limited to, zero hunger, no poverty, clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, and gender equality.
The company has utilized these 17 topics to create a framework focused around healthy & sustainable living, circular & climate positive, and fair & equal. Ikea currently utilizes IWAY code of conduct to assure their products are mindfully sourced. There is equal treatment across their supply chain, educating and advocating for refugees, and providing transparency within their success and failures.
The Rockefeller Foundation has also created a series of goals and achievements. They have previously provided technical support and funding to supply 250 microgrids in remote areas in India to bring power to 230,000 individuals. These microgrids have provided a source of hope for many individuals in the sub-continent and even inspired the local energy company, Tata Power, to begin the installation of 10,000 solar panels.
The partnership between the Rockefeller Foundation and Ikea foundation is expected to bring renewable energy to 3 billion people globally, many of whom have little to no access to energy. The result will also yield an expected reduction in greenhouse gasses by nearly 1 billion tons.
As many parts of the globe begin to loosen restrictions put into place as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, various economies see a surge of upward growth and opportunities, providing the perfect time to incorporate this initiative.
The President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, stated that “Millions of lives and trillions of dollars have been lost to Covid 19, forcing people back into poverty after decades of progress...Big, bold, and pioneering collaboration and investment is required not only for the short term but also the long term, to galvanize a better future. That is why we are announcing our largest commitment to date and joining forces with IKEA Foundation to double that investment...Our partnership will unlock the financing and resources that are essential to provide clean, reliable electricity that improves the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere.”
Neither of the foundations has announced what kind of renewable energy will be used, specific locations that will be targeted, or the timeline in which the project will take place. It can be presumed that the energy used will most likely be the most effective for the areas in which they are placed. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, installing solar panels would provide a large energy outcome due to the consistent weather in the area. Since the project was just announced a few days ago, more details are certain to be announced as the anticipation and excitement for this initiative continue to grow.
With this ambitious project in the works and plenty of media to cover it, we can expect to see an array of various other companies and foundations announcing similar pledges to compete with this one. This can create competition amongst businesses that can ultimately benefit local economies, people, and the environment. Further, the immense impact that this pledge will bring to those who need it most is sure to give hope and inspire many around the globe.