Demands on developers from corporate renewable energy buyers for improved environmental and social justice measures are soaring amidst growing consumer pressure on businesses to demonstrate the net positives of their operations and supply chains. That’s according to a recent survey from LevelTen Energy, a provider of renewable transaction infrastructure and the world’s largest online marketplace for power purchase agreements (PPAs).
The increasing demand comes as trends accelerate for businesses to demonstrate their progress against environment and social governance (ESG) pledges. This falls amidst mounting concerns for the climate emergency and growing awareness of social inequity spotlighted by movements including Black Lives Matter.
According to the 2021 survey of 77 project developers on the LevelTen Marketplace, nearly seven out of ten respondents said they are working to improve organisational environmental and social justice practices as a direct result of buyer demand for additional measures. Two-thirds reported having been asked about hiring and training locally and over half had been asked to disclose diversity statistics of the company.
Speaking on these results, Zach Starsia, LevelTen Energy’s Director of Accounts, says: “The hyper-visibility brought on by constant connectivity means that companies are now more aware of their impact on people across the full length of their supply chains. And now that consumers have access to a range of options for quality goods and services, the impact their money makes is a growing factor in their decision of where to spend it.
“The ruthless focus on profits that was once lauded, is now considered at best, old fashioned and at worst a risk to reputations. Instead, businesses that will thrive will be the ones who invest in the communities in which they operate – which is where impact PPAs come in. They are a terrific way for organisations to meet their environmental and social justice goals in a financially prudent manner.”
In response to calls for greater transparency throughout supply chains, LevelTen Energy supports buyers with procurement decisions that thoughtfully amplify the benefits that their PPAs produce. Through LevelTen’s procurement platform, renewable energy buyers and advisors can collect proposals and select projects based on key issues, like the developer’s diversity statistics, human rights protections, use of local workforces and environmental impacts.
Flemming Sorensen, LevelTen Energy’s Vice President, Europe, says: More and more, developers are looking internally to create positive change on an organisational level, and equally corporate offtakers are seeking to contract with such parties more often. Procuring renewable PPAs with an eye for maximising social impact has a very real role to play in creating a better tomorrow.”
Flemming says: “For project developers, this means pushing for equal and fair pay for all workers, reducing emissions and waste, and creating jobs that can be accessed by the full and diverse range of people living in the areas in which they do business. And it means ensuring that this care extends to all those they do business with. With the continued efforts of businesses looking to maximise the good their energy decisions can create, Impact PPAs will continue to shift our industry in a more sustainable direction that improves the well-being of people around the globe.”