Providing underprivileged populations with sustainable access to energy means not only offering equipment suited to their constraints but enabling them to maintain it. To take this corporate social responsibility approach to its logical conclusion, it also means promoting entrepreneurial development that can create jobs in the energy sector.

Gilles Vermot Desroches

Gilles Vermot Desroches

Senior Vice President, Sustainability
Schneider Electric

The energy paradox

We continue to face an energy dilemma. While global energy demand skyrockets, 1.2 billion people1 worldwide still do not have basic access to electricity and approximately 65 million2 live in fuel poverty. Schneider Electric cares deeply about sustainable energy and green technology, so we are determined to solve this energy paradox.

On the one hand, we help many customers worldwide achieve carbon-neutral operations; on the other, we invent technologies to support everyone’s indisputable right to modern energy. To us, access to clean, safe energy isn’t just a technology issue; it’s a human one as well. We have seen the far-reaching benefits of electricity:

Reduced poverty and raised living standards

Improved health (most significantly for women and children)

Increased productivity

Enhanced educational opportunities

Strengthened environmental sustainability

Improved security and feeling of safety

The energy paradox

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set a historical, first-ever universal goal: to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Today more than 1.2 billion people have no access to electricity, and over 2.7 billion rely on biomass for cooking. Sustainable energy builds long-term resilience to mitigate future crises, including those resulting from climate change, and create foundations that enable people to lead dignified, healthy, and productive lives.

Paul Quigley

Paul Quigley

Senior Energy Officer
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency


  • 1 IEA, World Energy Outlook 2016
  • 2 “Environmental Justice and Environmental Inequalities: A European Perspective," a paper prepared for the social investment seminar of the Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm, March 2010.