WBCSD’s Forum Highlights the Role of Business in Addressing Global Energy Access Challenges

8 May 2012: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has published the of results of an online discussion on the role of business in global energy access challenges. The discussion took place in March in cooperation with the Guardian newspaper.

The online discussion saw a panel of experts address: key opportunities for business to help expand access to energy; ways for companies to scale up existing business models; overcoming barriers in energy-starved areas; transforming policy frameworks and finance mechanisms in order to catalyze business investment in clean energy access; and best practices from companies in the lead in creating global energy access.

On overcoming barriers in energy starved areas, panelists discussed, inter alia, the need for business models that consider the financial bottom line as well as the social, economic and environmental bottom lines, and the need for sufficient energy supplies to ensure local development and community services through planning and government support.

They also discussed developing new models to finance energy access, noting the need: to minimize risk and/or spread risk between the public and private sector in order to encourage private sector investment; for financial institutions to develop risk-sharing instruments that can pave the way for public-private partnerships on risk-sharing; and to encourage micro finance organizations and banks to offer end-user finance for energy products.

On scaling up energy access solutions, the panelists spoke on the key role to be played by multilateral development banks, governments or institutional investors in achieving universal energy access specifically in rural areas; as well as the need for investment in financing enterprise and the end-user at the local level. [Press Release] [Summary of WBCSD Online Forum Discussions]