Schneider Electric has announced the launch of its Pacific Foundation, and four partnerships to address the basic human right of accessing energy.
The initial recipients of the Foundation’s support are sustainable environment educator Live & Learn; national anti-poverty organisation the Brotherhood of St Laurence; volunteer groups Engineers without Borders Australia and New Zealand; and independent conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The partners will share in more than $550,000 of funding over two years, as well as hands-on specialist support from Schneider Electric employees in Australia and New Zealand, ranging from electrical and building expertise, to pro-bono work in sales and management. This practical support is made possible through the 21 hours of paid volunteer leave Schneider Electric offers its employees each year.
Pacific Zone president of Schneider Electric Gareth O’Reilly said, “The Schneider Electric Foundation is a global initiative that aims to give everyone access to safe and reliable energy, combat energy fuel poverty, and build a sustainable future for our planet.
“Over the last few years the global Foundation has done amazing work like backing the development of short- and long-term vocational training for disadvantaged youths in Cameroon and an entrepreneurship program for women in Bahia, one of the poorest states in Brazil.”
“The launch of the program in the Pacific is focused on improving the wellbeing of our local communities in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
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“Our Foundation’s partners were selected because they have shown in their experiences that they listen to people and empower them to grow in a way that suits their local culture and needs.”
Senior Research Manager at Brotherhood of St Laurence Damian Sullivan said working in partnership, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Schneider Electric Foundation will be able to help lift low-income and vulnerable households out of energy poverty.
“We’ll be looking to develop opportunities to reduce these households’ energy bills through renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades,” he said.