Sustainable, Clean Energy for Latin America
Maria Jose Cortes
Head of ESG
It has been an amazing journey for Atlas in the last four years and even more for our team, which has had the great opportunity of creating, building and enhancing a culture which we feel part of and take great pride in. That didn’t mean we had everything in place straightaway. We have had to work hard to create the structure to reach where we are today.
Looking back, we’ve achieved so much: created our sustainability principles, built initial assessment and impact systems, recruited a talented and passionate team, refined what sustainability means for Atlas, and started developing the types of programs we want to put in place for decades to come.
Since the beginning, we understood that operating our assets for decades within communities meant we had to put sustainability at the center of our actions. We realized that we not only had the commitment to generate clean energy, but to do so in a responsible and sustainable manner. Building programs that protected and enhanced communities quickly became central to our business.
Today, the idea of setting sustainability goals for any project we build has become a key discussion at the start of development – not just something we think about once construction has started or contracts have been signed. Our development teams truly understand sustainable development.
As part of this business strategy, we have grown to a dedicated team of 10 people working on sustainability at Atlas – a fantastic level of resource in what is still a relatively small company. More importantly, we’ve built a culture of sustainability across the whole business.
What matters to us when we talk about sustainability has also evolved since 2017.
We always wanted to be innovators and sustainability was no exception. Early on, we made great progress on social programs (the ‘S’ in ESG). Our focus on education quickly emerged and our Pale Blue Dot initiative for schoolchildren in Mexico is perhaps our strongest achievement to date.
More recently, we’ve scaled-up our environmental focus (the ‘E’ in ESG). An initial belief in environmental impact mitigation has grown into a commitment to zero net loss of biodiversity wherever we operate. We want to go further and are looking to do more to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals on preservation and protection of land and nature.
Our other signature focus has been female labor. We are strong believers in women having a fair, equal place in the local workforces where we operate. Encouraging labor participation, creating opportunities, and putting in place training schemes have all begun, but we have much more to do. Since 2017 we have more than doubled the proportion of women working in our company to 38%. This has moved us far above the energy industry average, but still short of the goal of 50%.
Our focus on women applies just as much outside of Atlas as inside it, and in 2020 we launched our female workforce program, we are part of the same energy. This initiative was created specifically to improve local women’s access to employment, entrepreneurial opportunities, and their leadership potential in corporate value chains. It is early days for this program, but already we are seeing some encouraging progress and we will continue to invest our time and resources into it.
Four years in, the “Atlas way” on sustainability feels clear. Targeted initiatives, focused on specific audiences, to create tangible results. Programs that build local capacity and knowledge, meaning they will continue, long after we’re gone.
Once you look at sustainability this way, the reasons why we chose to support such a specialist skill as beekeeping in São Pedro in Brazil become much more obvious.
We may have only just begun, but we know what we want to do next. A deeper commitment to environmental goals, scaling up our inclusion and diversity labor programs, developing better metrics to measure our work, and setting standards that we hope others – in the energy sector and across the Americas – choose to follow.
I hope you enjoy reading about our progress so far in this report. And if you have any questions about our work, please do get in touch.
Head of ESG
Atlas Renewable Energy