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Unlocking Access to the Future

The world is interconnected, and climate change makes people everywhere vulnerable environmentally, socially, and economically. This demands holistic strategies that address all aspects of the problem.


Peter Herweck

Unlocking access to the future for all

The urgency of climate change is not a prediction on a graph. It's a real and present danger impacting communities worldwide. Our response needs to be a fair and inclusive energy transition — one that leaves nobody behind.

We're all in this together

Climate change doesn't respect borders. Smoke from North American wildfires can cloud skies in Europe and melting glaciers in Greenland threaten coastlines in Bangladesh. The World Bank estimates climate change could displace over 200 million people by 2050. Climate disasters, like droughts or flooding, will see entire communities disperse worldwide to find safer homes.

The burden, however, isn't equally shared. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in highly vulnerable contexts, especially those in poverty or with limited access to basic services and resources.

Rural communities, often reliant on agriculture and local water resources, face severe challenges due to climate change. But they’re not the only ones affected. Over half the world lives in urban areas, where they face expanded health risks from extreme heatwaves and air pollution that exceeds World Health Organization guidelines.

What’s more, climate disasters have caused deep economic losses globally. Just as the world is interconnected, so are its effects — impacting environmental, social, and economic fronts. Consequently, our response must also be systemic.

Energy at the core

When solving a complex problem, it’s often useful to identify a common denominator. Take energy, the main contributor to global warming, responsible for around 70% of carbon emissions, yet an obstacle to livelihoods, development, and well-being in many parts of the planet which still lack reliable access to energy.

Considering the projected two billion increase in population and 50% increase in electricity demand by 2050, more people will need access to energy in the future. But as these figures rise, so does the skills gap: with a predicted shortage of 2.8 million electricians worldwide and only 24% of the energy sector comprised of women. The ramp-up of energy skills will be critical to our net-zero transition. A systemic approach requires more investments in clean energy, more accessible solutions, and more people with energy skills.

Three combined levers for action

  1. Local innovation: Impact funds empower local communities to develop solutions for their ecosystems. Schneider Electric has invested in more than 50 such companies to date. One example is Reseau Eco Habitat in France, helping low-income households perform sustainable building renovations and escape energy poverty. Another is Xurya Daya, an Indonesian solar leasing service whose beneficiaries have already saved the equivalent of 97,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

  2. Clean and affordable energy: Reliable electricity is crucial for development. Solar, microgrids, and software solutions can transform communities. In India, Schneider Electric's projects have brightened the lives and prospects of remote villages like Pandry by installing solar-powered irrigation, charging, and lighting solutions.

  3. Empowering people: The right investments and solutions won’t suffice unless we also let people master their future. By weaving energy management and entrepreneurial training into our efforts, we unlock the full potential of people – particularly the youth. In Africa, Schneider Electric provides training equipment to technical schools, upskilling students in sustainable solutions.

A chain reaction to access the future

We’re all part of a chain of impact that will decide our planet’s fate. Creating access to the future is an imperative for Schneider Electric, and one that expresses our purpose to “bridge progress and sustainability for all”. To achieve this, our initiatives work together to create a holistic approach.

The result: building resilient and sustainable communities globally – in every sense of the word. This is how we create immediate and lasting positive impact for generations to come.

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Acceleration pathways post COP28

Above and beyond COP28
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Gender strategy in the energy transition: Empowering women through education and entrepreneurship

Only 24% of the energy sector's workforce are women. It's time for change.

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