19 June 2020
Throughout the first half of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had a heavy impact on people, businesses and communities around the world.
Like many companies with environmentally and socially responsible principles, we took action to help those who had been affected by the virus.
By shifting the focus of our well-established corporate social responsibility programme, which tailors to the specific needs of those within our different communities, we were able to support a range of important initiatives globally.
In the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, a number of the community funds financed by the renewable energy projects across our portfolio were transformed into ‘hardship funds’.
Our 12.3 megawatt (MW) Kelmarsh wind farm in Northamptonshire, UK, saw its community fund used to address various social and economic challenges resulting from the virus.
Given the increased pressure on key workers during the pandemic, the community fund was used in part to pay for several weekly meals for nurses in four villages near Kelmarsh. The meals were prepared by local pubs to ensure that businesses benefitted too.
Organisations such as Marie Curie, which provides free care for people living with a terminal illness and their families, also experienced additional difficulty. A donation made by the Kelmarsh community fund to the organisation’s local service paid for 250 hours of planned nursing care.
In Ireland, we worked with several regular beneficiaries of our 90 MW Cordal wind farm’s community fund to help vulnerable local residents with essential weekly tasks such as shopping, collecting medicine and taking clothes to be washed.
In addition, the project assisted with the purchase of laptops and iPads for a local school to loan to families in need during its closure period.
Elsewhere in Europe, we joined the Italian electricity system manager Gestore Servizi Energetici in its initiative to donate to the country’s civil protection department. Our donation was used to buy personal protective and medical equipment for hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.
While our CSR programme is active across all the countries in which we operate, we recognise that certain social, environmental or economic situations mean that some places require more targeted attention.
A significant portion of the populations of Brazil and Colombia live in poverty, and in many communities has been intensified by the effects of COVID-19.
In Brazil, we worked with the Secretary of Tourism for the municipality of Trairi, where our 95 MW Martifer and 65 MW Santos wind farms are located, to donate and deliver food baskets to families in need. Each basket contained long-lasting foods such as rice, beans, flour and sugar.
We also partnered with the Association of Food Banks of Colombia (ABACO), which is able to offer help to those in the rural areas in which several of our Colombian projects are located. While poverty in these areas is often high, without the support of associations like ABACO they may only receive limited support due to their remoteness.
Through our membership of the Private Electric Generators Association (AUGPEE) in Uruguay, we joined their donation efforts to provide six breathing monitors and six respirators to the public health system, as well as retrofitting some existing respirators.
We also worked with AUGPEE to deliver weekly meals to families in need. Over 6,000 meals were provided, with around 1,000 of those delivered to families local to our Astidey and Polesine wind farms with the help of our asset managers.
These initiatives, along with a range of others across our portfolio countries around the world, will continue to respond to the pressing needs of our local communities as we navigate through this pandemic and beyond.