With its commitment to building true partnerships with its clients and partners, Atlas Renewable Energy is reimagining the way companies think about their energy strategy.
At Atlas, the goal is not just to provide renewable energy solutions, but to work closely with clients to understand their specific objectives and goals – and help them to achieve them. Whether it’s incorporating sustainable practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, or working out bespoke energy profile solutions for complex company structures, Atlas becomes a true extension of its clients’ teams, to ensure they are not just meeting their energy needs, but also reaching their wider financial and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives.
In this Q&A, we sit down with Eddaly Cuesta, Director of Sustainability at Atlas Renewable Energy, to learn how the company’s unique approach to partnership and collaboration is driving real change for the better.
Q. How would you define Atlas’ strategy for building relationships and collaborating with clients?
A. Atlas is recognized for our high standards in developing, constructing, and operating renewable energy projects. We have a proven successful track record in renewable energy development across the Americas, and we’re a regional leader in delivering competitive, clean energy solutions to large corporate customers. Our success has been underpinned by our commitment to delivering customer-focused energy solutions with the goal of providing green energy at competitive costs through tailor-made, innovative solutions. However, what really sets us apart are our efforts to ensure that every single project we do delivers multiple benefits across various dimensions.
Q. What are Atlas’ main areas of focus when it comes to creating a wider impact?
A. As a developer of renewable energy projects, we are a key component in transitioning to a low-carbon global economy. The projects we have under operation have avoided millions of tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. Although this is an important achievement, our efforts don’t stop there. Our mission is to positively disrupt and elevate the energy sector by putting sustainability and social progress at the center of everything we do, to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
To achieve this, we have a clear alignment with several of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), core pillars that define our view of what sustainability means, and a range of programs and investments to turn these pillars into practical action – both inside Atlas and in the locations and communities where we operate and where our projects are built.
Q. How do you put these aims into practice?
A. Incorporating social sustainability and community benefits into renewable energy projects is a major focus for us. We develop and design our social investment projects hand in hand with the communities where we operate, via a participatory process where the communities themselves identify their social and economic development needs.
One recent example is Project Carmen at our La Pimienta Solar Plant in Mexico. This program, in partnership with the local health authorities, brought accessible healthcare to the nearby communities through the construction, rehabilitation and equipment of two health centers. Atlas also supported the community with the installation of dry bathrooms and wood-saving stoves for over 40 families.
We are also committed to advocating for gender equality. Through our flagship program, We Are All Part of the Same Energy, we create opportunities for female workers training programs and dedicated hiring policies to reduce inequalities and promote the acquisition of skills and technical knowledge for women in what is still a male-dominated industry.
Using market studies, we identify skill gaps and job opportunities and then design our training to meet those needs. We then work to include a proportion of the women trained either into our supply chains and mobilize our contractors to prioritize their inclusion in their hiring process or facilitate linkages with other industries in our area of influence.
Beyond gender equality, we are also committed to diversity and inclusion. We operate across diverse markets and, as a result, we are cognizant of the need to tailor our approach to the societal backdrop of the area in which we operate to have the greatest impact.
One example of this is our Jacarandá project in Brazil. Our hiring policies for that project have been structured to ensure that at least 35% of the total workforce is made up of self proclaimed African descent, who are often excluded from employment opportunities because of racial discrimination. To date, 74% of the women and 79% of the men currently employed at Jacarandá are of African descent.
At that same site, we also worked with the community to elevate and celebrate their cultural heritage, which culminated in the publication of Memorias do povo do terreiro, a collection of stories about the African religious heritage in contemporary Brazil.
We also practice what we preach within our own organization: through our recruitment policy and talent and mentoring programs, we have created an internal culture that embraces equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and respect for diversity.
Q. How does Atlas leverage its sustainability strategy to enable its clients to achieve their own objectives?
A. We have made a firm commitment to environmental protection, sustainable economic growth and social wellbeing, and we have incorporated this commitment across our values, policies and programs. Around the world, corporations are increasingly becoming aware of the urgency of adopting ambitious sustainability goals, be that reducing CO2 emissions and greening their energy matrix, or developing pioneering and ambitious social community engagement programs to promote diversity and inclusion. In this regard, Atlas is a vital strategic partner. Beyond the emissions reduction benefits of implementing a clean energy solution, our projects provide clients with the opportunity to maximize their positive impact across pillars such as bolstering quality education, increasing female participation in the workforce, and enhancing sustainable living and the circular economy.
Our recent partnership with leading materials science company Dow is a good illustration of this. Not only does the contract to secure renewable power capacity contribute to achieving one of Dow’s goals to obtain 750 MW of its power demand from renewable sources and reduce its net annual emissions by 15% from 2020 to 2030, but we were also able to align with Dow’s ESG principles that encourage economic growth and social development.
We believe every business should be a sustainable business, and by bringing the capabilities from our investments into ESG, diversity and inclusion to our clients, we can accompany them on their journey to creating a better future for all.