The Social Performance Approach

Fos­ter­ing com­mu­ni­ty well-being through ener­gy-sec­tor investments

While the pos­i­tive impacts of renew­able ener­gy devel­op­ment, the imple­men­ta­tion and use of renew­able ener­gy for peo­ple and the plan­et are wide­ly recog­nised, the direct con­tri­bu­tion of local renew­able ener­gy projects to local com­mu­ni­ty well-being has received lim­it­ed atten­tion. And while the Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment and the 2030 Agen­da for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, with its Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals (SDGs), have been right­ful­ly cel­e­brat­ed as glob­al mile­stones towards secur­ing liveli­hoods and oppor­tu­ni­ties now and in the future, they lack soci­etal own­er­ship and trac­tion among com­mu­ni­ties, who are deci­sive in sup­port­ing and dri­ving the nec­es­sary sus­tain­abil­i­ty transformation.

How­ev­er, aside from ener­gy access, the oppor­tu­ni­ties for local ener­gy projects to pro­vide broad­er pos­i­tive effects (such as com­mu­ni­ty rev­enues) through co-invest­ments are large­ly regard­ed as sec­ondary co-ben­e­fits, if not entire­ly ignored by devel­op­ment poli­cies and prac­tices. Tap­ping into these oppor­tu­ni­ties for effec­tive poli­cies and prac­tices in cli­mate action and inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment calls for a dif­fer­ent approach to sus­tain­able ener­gy devel­op­ment (ener­gy tran­si­tions in some coun­tries): a social per­for­mance approach to ener­gy devel­op­ment and invest­ment, which we out­line in this paper.