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SEAL Awards recognizes Atlas Renewable Energy with its Business Sustainability Award in the Environmental Initiatives Category

MIAMI, FL, Dec. 23, 2021 – Atlas Renewable Energy, a global renewable energy generation company, has been recognized as SEAL Awards’ Business Sustainability winner under the Environmental Initiative Award Category. Atlas was recognized for its environmental activity to preserve and protect the Howler Monkey species near its 444MW photovoltaic project La Pimienta, located in Mexico’s municipality of Carmen in the state of Campeche.

The program consists of three main environmental benefits including the conservation of 300 hectares of secondary vegetation of the evergreen forest patches in the area, the creation of biological corridors to connect the forest patches that surround the solar plant, and the conservation of the Black Howler Monkey Habitat, which is an endangered species that has been red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC).

“Helping preserve biodiversity and improve local species’ habitats near our renewable energy projects is of utmost importance and this is always taken into consideration in the design phase of a project,” said Eddaly Cuesta, ESG Manager for Colombia and Mexico at Atlas Renewable Energy. “Seeing this program develop from a basic idea to a program with tangible results is very fulfilling from both a personal and professional perspective. Everything was possible thanks to the great leadership within Atlas, which understands that protecting and preserving biodiversity is an essential part of the development of our projects.”

The environmental initiative aligns with Atlas’ ESG pillar for biodiversity protection which intends to help protect and maintain environments and species near our renewable energy projects. With this, Atlas aims to motivate others within the industry and foster even more commitment toward the preservation and conservation of species and habitats. Within this pillar, Atlas has executed reforestation activities, donated seedlings, held workshops for environmental education, and has helped toward the conservation of different species across Chile, Brazil, and Mexico.

“We have a commitment as clean energy generators to provide power and to do so as sustainably as possible. Taking care of the ecosystems in which we operate is a priority for Atlas, not because it is required but because it’s the right thing to do. That’s why we often go above and beyond local regulations and do more than what is expected in this sense. I’m very proud of what Atlas has achieved, and the support from the other divisions within the company, such as EPC and Development, which have been fundamental in the materialization of this program”, said Maria Jose Cortes, Head of ESG at Atlas Renewable Energy. “Thank you SEAL Awards for this recognition and thank you to our trusted partners such as BIOS, ERM, Ecology Institute AC, and IDB Invest for being such an important element during the development and execution of this initiative.”

The first phase of the project, which consisted of the relocation of individual howler monkeys and the creation of corridors to connect forest patches, is well underway. Currently, the program is moving into phase two, which consists of monitoring the Black Howler monkey population for the next couple of years to ensure their wellbeing, executing reforestation actions and preserving the forest patches that continue to be connected by the biological corridors.

“The environmental merits of renewable energy are consistent and obvious,” said Matt Harney, Founder of SEAL Awards.  “Our judging panel found Atlas’ prioritization of conservation and biodiversity in its La Pimienta Solar Project to be unique and exemplary. We encourage all renewable energy developers to model this conservation-centric approach.”

About Atlas Renewable Energy

Atlas Renewable Energy is a renewable energy generation company that develops, builds, and operates renewable energy projects with long-term contracts across the Americas. The current company portfolio is 2.2GW of contracted projects in development, construction, or operational stages, and aims to expand by an additional 4GW in the next years.

Launched in early 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy includes an experienced team with the longest track record in the solar energy industry in Latin America. The company is recognized for its high standards in the development, construction, and operation of large-scale projects.

Atlas Renewable Energy is part of the Energy Fund IV, founded by Actis, a leading private equity investor in the energy sector. Atlas Renewable Energy’s growth is focused on the leading emerging markets and economies, using its proven development, commercialization, and structuring know-how to accelerate the transformation toward clean energy. By actively engaging with the community and stakeholders at the center of its project strategy, the company works every day to provide a cleaner future.

To know more about Atlas Renewable Energy, visit: www.atlasrenewableenergy.com

Corporate sustainability has gone from being a “nice to have” to a “must-have”, as business leaders around the world start to factor in meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

Although the spotlight is most often on polluting industries, organizations operating within sustainable industries also have a role to play in adopting more sustainable practices across their operations.

In this deep dive, we take a look at how companies can adopt measures that generate positive changes at scale, leading to a real environmental and consumer impact.

Why sustainability is important for business

The environmental and societal benefits of a sustainable economic model are clear, and have been brought into sharp focus by Covid-19. More and more, consumers around the world are asking the companies they purchase from to do the right thing, with the EY Future Consumer Index finding they are willing to pay a premium for sustainable products and services as the post-pandemic recovery begins.

At the international level, the upcoming COP26 meeting – touted as the “most important climate meeting of our generation” – will see countries present more ambitious commitments toward net-zero emissions.

And with rising regulatory risks and the prospect of carbon taxes in several markets, it is clear that companies must embrace sustainable business models now.

To create truly transformational change, creating shared benefits for the people and the places where we operate should become the minimum expected of every company.

We believe that companies like us have a responsibility to step forward and help spearhead this trend, in a responsible way with regard for all stakeholders.

The Atlas way

Atlas Renewable Energy was conceived with sustainability at its core. Since our launch in 2017, our vision has been to accelerate the energy transition towards clean energy while driving positive change in the wider industry. For us, this meant creating a company that would positively disrupt and elevate today’s energy sector, always putting sustainability and social progress as a core pillar of our mission. This has enabled us to become one of the fastest-growing renewable energy companies while establishing meaningful, tangible commitments with the communities where we operate.

Over the past four years, however, what we mean when we talk about sustainability has evolved. For example, an initial belief in environmental impact mitigation has grown into a commitment to zero net loss of biodiversity wherever we operate.  As the conversation moves on, we believe that there is an opportunity for companies around the world to take decisive action as sustainability leaders.

Maximizing impacts

Renewable energy companies are driving the energy transition, and the environmental benefits from our activities are enormous. However, we believe that there is little point in saving carbon emissions through our solar plants without taking into account the social and governance impacts of what we do.

By adopting ESG principles of operations, companies operating within sustainable industries can provide additional value to society and better manage the risks and opportunities arising from a wider group of stakeholders – from the communities in which they operate to the workforce they employ.

At Atlas, this means taking steps to improve our own carbon footprint, including avoiding the use of paper in our offices, improving recycling schemes, and implementing measures to encourage more flexible forms of working in order to reduce emissions from commuting. We have also sought to embed and strengthen green practices in the communities where we operate. Finally, as a company focused on having a positive impact on the people we interact with and the environments we operate in, we have worked hard to strengthen diversity, inclusion, and development as a whole.

Alongside these factors, we maintain a continual focus on innovation. This increases the value and efficiency of the projects that we develop and operate. It also maximizes the value of the raw materials we use, while minimizing the overall supply of materials we need. For example, improvements to the power generation capacity of the photovoltaic panels we use will lead to a lower number of panels being used overall, reducing resource requirements and land use.

Knowledge sharing

Fortunately, companies that seek to generate far-reaching change don’t have to start from scratch. Large multinational corporations across all industrial sectors have begun to facilitate the sharing of their sustainability initiatives with their peers – and this cross-sectoral pollination of ideas means that, no matter which area a company works in, collaborating on solutions and innovations with others means they can be shared for national and international scale-up. We have recently shared our experiences in our first-ever sustainability report

Importantly, numerous frameworks exist to give companies a starting point. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. For companies wanting to advance the SDG agenda, the job starts by acting responsibly – incorporating the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact widely into strategies and operations, and understanding that good practices or innovation in one area cannot make up for doing harm in another. From there, businesses can find opportunities to contribute to the achievement of one – or several – of the goals.

In our case, we have focused on nine of the 17 SDGs. These are divided into our core SDGs which go to the heart of our business, and material SDGs that reflect our processes and mission:

As our sustainability strategy continues to develop, we will review the scope of our activities and consider whether we focus on additional SDGs beyond these nine.

IFC Performance Standards

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards are another important framework. Devised for IFC clients, they define companies’ responsibilities for managing their environmental and social risks, and include areas including biodiversity, resettlement, labor and community support.

All our assets, as well as our new projects, comply with these standards, and we have developed external initiatives that align our activities to the needs and challenges of the communities in which we operate.

In recent years, these have included:

  • An apiculture project created to strengthen beekeeping skills near our São Pedro plant in Brazil.
  • The creation of an environmental education center and nursery garden near our Sertão Solar plant, as well as additional nursery gardens near our São Pedro plant.
  • An environmental education program and accompanying nursery garden near our Sol do Futuro plant.
  • The donation of seedlings from the Umbu Gigante native plant near our Juazeiro Solar plant, which allowed the fruit produced to act as a source of income for neighboring communities, while contributing to local biodiversity.
  • The conservation of 1,229 hectares of forest and grassland habitat to protect local species near our project being developed in Campeche, Mexico.
  • Our partnership with The Pale Blue Dot, a Mexican organization that promotes educational programs through the use of technology in schools and community centers.
  • The Atlas female workforce program, which improves local women’s access to employment, entrepreneurial opportunities and leadership positions across the corporate value chain.

By engaging with communities in this way, we have been able to work towards the implementation of more sustainable outcomes and succeed in our goal to aid the preservation of diverse ecosystems.

Pick a metric and get started

For companies beginning their sustainability journey, deciding where to begin can often be overwhelming. Over our journey, we have discovered that targeted initiatives, focused on specific audiences, create the most tangible results. For example, one of our signature focuses has been on women in the workforce. The energy industry is overwhelmingly male-dominated, with numerous barriers to access for women.

To tackle this, we have introduced various evidence-based measures, such as:

  • Neutral language: We do not use gender-specific pronouns in our job adverts or related communications. We also ensure the language used is balanced to increase the appeal of each position and reduce the chance of missing out on high-caliber applicants.
  • Equal weighting of qualifications: We recognize the qualifications of every candidate, regardless of the institution or country in which qualifications or experience is attained.
  • Promoting access to under-represented groups: Where candidates hold similar or equal qualifications and experience, we will also consider whether any candidate is from an under-represented group.
  • Gender equity: We consider at least one female applicant within the final stage of an application process. To achieve this, we work to ensure that our job adverts do not include gendered language that may act as a disincentive for potential female applicants.

As a result, since 2017, we have more than doubled the proportion of women working in our company to 40%. This has moved us far above the energy industry average, and we are now aiming for full parity at 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 all part of the same energy”, which focuses on the communities where we operate. This initiative was created specifically to improve local women’s access to training on technical skills, new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, and their leadership potential in corporate value chains.

Making a difference

Global ESG challenges, from climate, water and food crises to inequality and discrimination, are in need of solutions that the private sector can deliver. With sustainability firmly on the global agenda, no company – not even one operating in a climate-positive industry – can afford to become complacent about its activities. But with numerous frameworks available and the potential for peer-to-peer collaboration and knowledge sharing, we believe that generating sustainable change at scale is not only possible but inevitable.

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.*

As a young company, Atlas Renewable Energy wants to lead our sector in terms of gender balance, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). We’re pushing to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, and change attitudes – both in our industry and in the communities where we operate. But achieving this means getting our own organizational culture right. In this interview, our Head of People and Communications, Marcela Pizzi, explains how we’re doing this. 

Q: What led you to center DE&I within Atlas’s organizational culture? 

A: When we first started back in 2017, we were based out of Chile with projects in Brazil and plans to work in Mexico. Working within different regions poses several challenges, the differences in languages being one of the most obvious. In this context, our first major decision was to make sure that Atlas felt like one, integrated company. 

In order to achieve this we had to clearly define, between our CEO and the rest of the leadership team, what our main values and our purpose would be. The most fundamental idea we had, the one that really defines our overall purpose, is that we want Atlas to be a force for good. 

Q: How do you define being a force for good? 

A: This involves looking at every layer of your organization through many different lenses. Being a force for good means that you have a positive impact on your environment – on one hand, this applies literally, since we work in the field of renewable energy – but on the other, we also want to have a positive impact in a social sense, on our community, on the lives of our employees and their families. 

For example, when we were going over the type of benefit and compensation policies that we would offer, we once again came back to the idea of making Atlas feel like one, integrated company. This meant that the benefits we wanted to offer would be the same regardless of location. In order to offer something truly beneficial, we looked at the best practices across all the countries we worked in and shaped our policies accordingly. That’s just one of the ways in which we have addressed DE&I.

Along the way, we noticed that we had naturally created the conditions to generate diversity, and from that point, we actively worked to create inclusivity. In a way, I would argue that inclusivity is the most important element. 

Q: How so? 

A: Diversity is something that can come about in a very superficial sense, as a way to meet quotas. Inclusivity, on the other hand, requires you to make an effort to integrate, in a very structural sense, the values that your company wants to support. 

For example, back when we were shaping our benefits policies, we noticed that out of all of the countries we worked in, Chile offered the best practices in terms of parental leave policies. We were having these conversations as our company was taking shape, and we were measuring our overall indicators, like the nationalities, ages and genders of our employees. 

In doing so, we noticed that out of the 23 people that made up the company in 2017, only 11% were women. Basically, that was me and our lawyer. On top of which, both she and I were in roles that can be considered typically female positions, so to speak. Of course, at this point, you can almost hear the same, tired conversation playing out, the one that excuses these situations by claiming that there are simply not enough women who are interested in this field, or who don’t have the qualifications. 

Q: How did you address that? 

A: We made the conscious decision to generate the type of conditions within our company structure that would present Atlas as an attractive employment option for women. So, gender equality was the first area we tackled with regard to inclusivity. 

Q: Specifically, in terms of recruitment, what measures did you apply? 

One of the most direct measures we took was requesting recruiters to find variety within candidates, starting with the requisite that at least one woman be included in their selection. Of course, this approach slowly evolved, as our company evolved. To the point where, now, we have a blind application policy, which means no indicators whatsoever to identify an applicant according to gender, age, nationality, or other markers. 

These types of measures are ongoing efforts. Beyond gender diversity, we also wanted to ensure that there would be enough representation of individuals from different regions, from different backgrounds, and so on. So, finding applicants with a diverse range of characteristics is the type of mandatory requirement that our recruiters need to meet. 

Q: What does your workforce look like now? 

A: We’ve built up our workforce diversity starting with stronger female representation, which is now at 40% in a company with 150 employees. 

Q: You were talking previously about internal structural changes that support inclusivity. Can you talk to us a bit more about these? 

Of course. For example, when it comes to our parental leave policies, we took note of Chile and its policy of six months postpartum leave. However, Chilean law limits the compensation that employees are required to receive during those six months. Companies can choose to extend the compensation beyond that limit, or not. 

Somehow, there is a sense of fear in offering full pay for six months’ leave, assuming that people will become accustomed to receiving something for nothing. However, offering someone half-pay is limiting and stressful. 

Q: Meanwhile, women are not seen as desirable employee candidates. 

A: Exactly. So, to level the playing field, we decided to also offer paternity leave. Chile offers five days of postnatal leave for fathers. We offer one month with full salary compensation. 

Q: So, you offer both maternity leave and paternity leave? 

A: That’s right, but we actually offer more than that. We also offer a bonus of US$2,500 to all new parents. 

Underlying these monetary compensations, however, are the thought processes that led us to implement these policies. One of the issues, in general, when it comes to juggling work and parenthood, is precisely the idea that individuals simply can’t do both. At some point, employees feel like they have to choose between their careers or their family life, usually due to other costs associated with childcare. In order to allow our employees to feel secure in their decision to continue working, we also offer an additional US$300 a month, applicable once the maternity or paternity leave ends until the child is three years old. 

Q: Do your efforts extend to include other gender considerations? 

A: Definitely. We conducted various trainings within our company with regards to several topics, including gender in the workplace and focusing on new interpretations of masculinity – all of which are issues that are reflected in our broader society. As these conversations took shape, so too did our understanding of how our policies need to extend beyond traditional heterosexual relationships, and should also be inclusive of same-sex couples or even single-parent households, or for those who wish to adopt or foster. Our benefit policies with regards to maternity or paternity leave, the additional birth bonus, and the monthly childcare expense bonus, therefore, apply to all parenthood scenarios. 

Q: While all this is exemplary behavior, it does require a huge investment. How do you measure your returns on this type of investment? 

A: If we go back to our core values, that of being a force for good, we measure our success in terms of how close we come to meeting those aims. 

Beyond that, there are numerous studies that show the advantages of making this type of investment in your workforce. Extend this to society in general, and we see that the benefits of gender equality in the workforce and family policies that include the role of men in childcare are all benefits that cross over onto the next generation and beyond. 

Monetary returns are secondary since they have never been our main driver. Instead, we’ve sought to measure the extent to which we can integrate our values within our company structure. Our various training sessions on topics of diversity, sensitivity, and so on were initially voluntary but now our employees are required to attend a minimum of 16 hours of training sessions per year. 

Q: As you say, these processes have been changing and evolving since 2017 – what have been the biggest lessons learned along the way? 

A: I think the biggest lessons we learned have to do with the seriousness in which we applied our measures of diversity and inclusion. So, having many conversations to determine the type of values we wanted to support and came to the realization that these require the full participation of every single member of our company, and also the participation of any partners we choose to work with. 

If you remember, I was talking about the lack of female representation in the field of energy, which is something that we wanted to improve upon on a greater scale. So we amended our contracts to make sure that any outside partner that participates in a project with us would meet certain diversity percentages in their hired workforce. We’re talking about our engineering projects, solar power projects, and so on. 

Coming back to your question about the ways in which we measure our returns on investment into these practices, I would say that creating a name for ourselves as a company that embraces and promotes these values is definitely another way we can measure our success. This draws interest from investors who know and support what we stand for, and we are able then to generate new projects that fit into our model from the get-go. 

We’re now in a place where we’re recognized for these values, and people want to work with us because of them. 

Q: What happens if someone wants to work with Atlas, but claim to be unable to meet your diversity percentages, for example? 

A: It’s happened before. In these cases, we like to propose ways in which we can meet them, by offering training programs, for instance. We train them, our contractors hire them, and we both meet our goals. 

So, the real challenge has been to really solidify our values, and look at how to go beyond buzzwords and bring about change in a very real sense. I’ve mainly talked about gender inclusivity, I know, but there are so many other areas we’ve tried to cover. Healthcare, for instance. We offer our employees health insurance that covers dental and vision insurance, which extends to their significant others, regardless of the type of partnership they have. I only mention this because in some countries we work from, same-sex couples still don’t have equal legal recognition, but we honor all partnerships just the same. 

Q: How do you see all these efforts progressing in the future? 

A: For sure with complete participation from our employees. In the end, our company model is not one that functions by following predetermined paths. We’re looking to grow through the personal development of all the individuals that make up our company. To this aim, we have initiatives like our She Leads program. 

We also regularly conduct diversity and inclusion surveys, for instance, to make space for any groups or individuals who don’t feel represented by our policies to speak their mind. In this way, we’ve previously addressed concerns regarding topics of ageism and religion, among others. Maybe we can talk more about those some other time! 

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is being held in the UK between October 31 and  November 12, 2021. The event, which will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, will shape the direction of climate action for many years to come, and businesses need to engage. 

What is COP26?

The 26th UN global climate summit is a worldwide meeting on climate change and how nations intend to address it. It brings together the signatories of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a convention agreed on in 1994. This year, more than 190 world leaders are expected to attend, together with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks. It has been labeled by Alok Sharma, this year’s COP president, as a “make or break” moment for keeping the objectives of the Paris Agreement –signed at COP21 – within reach.

While the commitments set out in the Paris Agreement were far-reaching, they do not come close to limiting global warming sufficiently to avoid runaway climate change, and the window for achieving this is closing. Every five years, Paris Agreement signatories are expected to submit new, and more ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs) on emissions reductions. COP26 will be the first time this happens, and hopes are that as many governments as possible submit new NDCs that will keep global warming well below the two degrees Celsius ceiling laid out at COP21, and preferably at 1.5 degrees.

Ahead of the meeting, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on all countries to commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and for the G20 countries to come forward with stronger 2030 NDCs. So far, 86 countries and the EU27 have submitted new or updated NDCs to the UNFCCC, with others pledging new targets that are yet to be submitted officially.

What are the key goals of COP26?

“Securing a brighter future for our children and future generations requires countries to take urgent action at home and abroad to turn the tide on climate change,” says the UK prime minister. “It is with ambition, courage and collaboration as we approach the crucial COP26 summit in the UK that we can seize this moment together, so we can recover cleaner, rebuild greener and restore our planet.”

To this end, the conference will aim to achieve four main objectives:

Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

To deliver on this target, countries will need to accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels, speed up the switch to electric vehicles, and encourage investment in renewable energies.

Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

Climate change is already a fact of life, and at COP26 commitments will be made around protecting and restoring ecosystems, building natural disaster defenses and warning systems, and promoting resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid the loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.

Mobilize finance

Delivering the first two goals will require trillions of dollars in public and private sector finance. At the conference, international financial institutions, as well as developed countries, will be expected to make good on their promise to mobilize at least US$100bn in climate finance per year.

Boost collaboration

The world can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis if everyone works together. Countries need to manage the increasing impacts of climate change on their citizens’ lives; private finance needs to fund technology and innovation, and companies need to be transparent about the risks and opportunities that climate change and the shift to a net-zero economy pose to their business.

What COP26 means for businesses

Although an ever-growing list of companies has signed up to climate change mitigation and reduction, the vast majority of corporations around the world still haven’t made official commitments to decarbonize.

With strong statements and ambitious commitments expected at COP26, it’s time for businesses to get their net-zero plans off the ground.

What’s more, the outcomes of COP26 will likely give companies certainty about the conditions in which they will be operating over the next few decades – be that carbon taxes, restrictions on fossil fuel use, or new net-zero legislation.

Acting now means that companies can gain a leading edge on what’s to come, as well as becoming part of the conversation as policies are decided. Several large companies are already doing this: in May 2020, 155 firms — with a combined market capitalization of over $2.4 trillion — signed a statement urging governments around the world to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with current climate science. It is now time for the rest of the corporate world to follow.

How businesses can act now

Define your path to net-zero

Companies have the opportunity to start taking ambitious climate action now with science-based emissions reduction targets. Leading companies are already proving that a 1.5°C-compliant business model is possible, and there is evidence that these companies will be best-placed to thrive as the global economy undergoes a just transition to a net-zero future by 2050.

Business Ambition for 1.5°C is a campaign led by the Science Based Targets initiative in partnership with the UN Global Compact and the We Mean Business coalition. It was launched in 2019 by a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders. It enables business leaders to publicly commit their companies to a net-zero, 1.5°C target and be recognized in the lead up to COP 26 as making a critical contribution to limiting the worst impacts of climate change.

Assess your climate risk

The near-inevitability of carbon pricing as well as growing pressure on firms to report on climate risk mean that this needs to become top of mind for companies across sectors. 

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) provides a framework for companies to assess potential climate-related impacts using scenario analysis, effectively evaluating risks to their business, suppliers, and competitors.

Companies that don’t have a handle on their climate risk are in jeopardy: in his recent 2021 letter to CEOs, Larry Fink, BlackRock’s CEO announced that companies should disclose climate-related risks in line with the TCFD recommendations, adding that the firm would now implement a “heightened-scrutiny model” in its active portfolios as a framework for managing holdings that pose significant climate risk, including flagging holdings for a potential exit.    

Make the switch to renewable energy

Currently, over 80% of the energy used in the world comes from fossil sources, and emissions from the energy sector account for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. This can’t continue.

A number of leading companies can see what is coming over the horizon and are taking steps to reposition themselves. Making the switch from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy sends a strong signal that, when it comes to fighting climate change, businesses mean business.

In July last year, Microsoft along with AP Moeller-Maersk, Danone, Mercedes-Benz, Natura & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Unilever, and Wipro created the Transform to Net Zero initiative, with the tech firm committing to develop a portfolio of 500 megawatts of solar energy projects in under-resourced communities in the US. 

Meanwhile, Google pledged in September to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030, while Apple’s newly-launched Supplier Clean Energy Program has seen 71 manufacturing partners in 17 countries commit to 100% renewable energy for the tech giant’s production as it commits to transitioning the electricity used across its entire manufacturing supply chain to clean sources by 2030.

Furthermore, growing numbers of influential, globally recognized companies have committed to 100% renewable power as part of the RE100 initiative. 

But for the objectives of COP26 to be met, every single company around the world needs to start thinking seriously about its energy transition strategy, and take steps now to execute upon this.  

How Atlas can help

If businesses don’t keep a close eye on the issues discussed at COP26, they risk being consigned to history. COP26 will result in an increased political impetus to meet ambitious climate targets. The direction of travel is clear: the net-zero future is imperative, and companies must act now.

Atlas Renewable Energy was conceived with sustainability at its core. It develops, builds, finances, and operates clean renewable energy projects across the Americas that enable companies to power their operations sustainably.

With a range of services, from renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) to renewable energy certificates (RECs), Atlas helps large energy consumers across industries manage their transition to net-zero and track their performance against long-term environmental and emissions targets.

To find out more about Atlas Renewable Energy’s approach and how it can help bring your company in line with the objectives of COP26, please contact: contacto@atlasren.com

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.

Renewable energy is now competitive with fossil fuels in many markets, and an increasing number of companies worldwide are making the switch to cleaner power. But while some businesses have excelled in their transition to green electricity, others still have some way to go.

After years of slow progress, business demand for renewable energy has now reached fever pitch. According to recent figures from the Climate Group and CDP, the international non-profit groups which run RE100 – the coalition of major businesses committed to purchasing 100% renewable electricity – companies’ demand for renewable electricity has now surpassed that of the G7 countries. 

“But many hundreds more big corporates are yet to take this relatively easy step towards net zero carbon,” said Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100 at the Climate Group in a recent statement. “To meet global climate targets, and to remain competitive in a world driven by cheap, clean electricity, it quickly needs to become the norm to power your business with renewables.”

At Atlas, we’ve seen how pioneers in various industrial sectors moving towards shifting to renewables quickly cause a ripple effect, with numerous companies swiftly following them. While one of the main driving factors behind companies’ decisions to move away from fossil fuels is to reduce the environmental impact of their business operations, our corporate clients also report bottom-line advantages, from more predictable energy costs brought about by our long-term corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs), to strengthened customer relationships and brand differentiation.

Last year, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, research by BloombergNEF found that corporations purchased a record of 23.7GW of clean energy through PPAs, up from 20.1GW in 2019 and 13.6GW in 2018.

“More than ever before, corporations have access to affordable clean energy at a global scale. Companies no longer have an excuse for falling behind on setting and working towards a clean energy target,” said Jonas Rooze, lead sustainability analyst at BloombergNEF.

All in all, in 2020 clean energy contracts were signed by more than 130 companies, in sectors ranging from oil and gas to big tech. As more firms go green, this is not only a way to demonstrate corporate social responsibility but also to improve financial performance and reduce the carbon footprint at a time when governments are setting ever more ambitious targets to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

However, although some industries are leading the way in converting their energy consumption to renewable sources, others could be doing better.

Food processing and production

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the food sector accounts for around a third of the world’s total energy consumption. The two most energy-intensive activities are found within agricultural production and processing and are dependent largely on the use of fossil fuels. Reducing direct carbon emissions by moving to cleaner energy is an urgent task for the industry and one that several companies have started to take on.

In July this year, PepsiCo achieved its goal of using 100% renewable energy across all operations in Mexico, its second-largest market. This came less than a year after the company reached a similar milestone in the United States, its largest market. The company plans to source 100% renewable electricity across all of its company-owned and controlled operations by 2030, and 100% renewable electricity across its entire franchise and third-party operations by 2040. If it meets its goals, the company calculates it could reduce approximately 2.5 million tons of GHG emissions by 2040, the equivalent of taking more than half a million cars off the road for a full year.

To do this, it is employing several solutions, including PPAs that will support the development of new projects such as solar and wind farms around the world, as well as purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Another company looking to use more renewable energy is Nestlé. As part of its 2050 net-zero ambition, unveiled in 2019, it has pledged to continue to ramp up its use of renewable electricity to reach 100% by 2025, up from 34.5% in 2018, and says it plans to use PPAs, green tariffs, RECs and on-site production to do so.

These companies, alongside peers such as Diageo and Mars, are taking bold steps towards helping to drive the global transition to clean power – and this looks likely to win them new customers.

More and more, people are demanding cleaner, more sustainable energy. A survey conducted in the US in 2019 by the Pew Research Center found that 77% of respondents believe that developing “alternative energy” is a more important priority right now than producing more fossil fuels in order to reduce the effects of climate change. As consumers increasingly vote with their wallets, companies that are aligned with their values are positioned to take market share from companies that don’t move with the times.

Fortunately, companies within the food industry that haven’t yet taken steps towards cleaning up their electricity use aren’t too late. The availability of sourcing models for renewable electricity has advanced significantly in recent years, and there are numerous options available for companies of all types.

Pulp and paper

The pulp and paper industry was arguably one of the most unlikely beneficiaries of the Covid-19 pandemic, experiencing skyrocketing demand amid the increased need for personal hygiene products, food packaging products, corrugated packaging for online shopping deliveries, and other paper-based materials. Like most major manufacturing operations, papermaking is an energy-intensive endeavor, and as paper-based production increases, the industry may fail to achieve its emission reduction target due to the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions.

In a recent report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights the sector as needing “more effort” if it is to reduce its emissions. Among its recommendations are for the industry to increasingly recover and use pulp and paper production by-products such as black liquor to displace a portion of fossil fuel use.

However, simply using more biomass energy won’t be enough to turn the sector green, the report says. It calls for companies to pursue the use of other renewable energy sources, particularly for recycled production, for which natural gas tends to be employed because biomass by-products are not readily available.

Textiles and garments

The fashion industry is another sector that has an enormous opportunity to harness the power of renewables in order to drive a more sustainable future. Every stage of the textile industry’s supply chain is energy-intensive, from processing yarn, producing fabric, and fabricating textiles, to transporting and selling clothes to customers, and several major fashion brands are now looking at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by powering all their global operations with renewable energy.

As part of the global RE100 initiative, well-known brands from H&M to Nike, Burberry and Ralph Lauren have already committed to sourcing 100% of their electricity from renewable suppliers by 2050 at the latest, and some are also running programs to ensure their suppliers also reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by switching to green energy.

Kingwhale, a Taiwan-based textile mill, recently joined the RE100 initiative, pledging to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2040, but it’s the only Asia-Pacific-based textile manufacturer to do so.

Within the garment industry, there is a growing divide between renewable energy transition pioneers and their less energy-efficient peers, and much as scandals over labor practices within textile supply chains have damaged the image of brands in recent years, companies that don’t operate more sustainably in terms of energy use and consumption risk alienating their customers.

Closing the gap

Across some of the world’s biggest industries, a clear gap is emerging between those companies that have already made progress in the energy transition, and those that are yet to take the first step. Bringing the performance of the laggards in line with the pioneers will be crucial if the objectives laid out in the Paris Agreement are to be met – but it’s also a matter of survival. In the post-Covid world, consumers are increasingly focused on the sustainability credentials of the companies they buy from, and making the switch from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy sends a strong signal that, when it comes to fighting climate change, businesses mean business.

The idea of the circular economy has been gaining political and social currency recently as governments, companies, and citizens alike make plans for a greener, more sustainable recovery from Covid-19. In this factsheet, we take a look at what makes a successful circular economy, and why renewable energy is a vital component.

What is a circular economy?

Since industrialization, the dominant economic model around the world has been linear: raw materials are extracted, they are manufactured or consumed as a product, and then when they reach the end of their useful life, they are thrown away. This take-make-waste system places enormous strain on the environment by increasing the consumption of finite resources and creating huge quantities of polluting landfills.

In a circular economy, there is little to no waste and as much reuse and recycling as possible. When a product reaches the end of its life, instead of throwing it away, its materials are kept within the economy and converted into new materials that can be used again and again, creating further value.

Why do we need a circular economy?

The world’s largest economies are falling behind on commitments to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. Despite pledges made recently during the US-led Climate Summit, research carried out by BloombergNEF shows that, across the world, not enough is being done to limit climate change, and unless something changes fast, we risk reaching the point of no return.

With existing technologies, we have the ability to address around 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These are emissions that come from the electricity and heat we use in buildings, from our electricity grid, and from transport.

But that’s only half the story.

According to the latest data, the production of materials we use every day accounts for 45% of the world’s total CO2 emissions, and only 8.6% of resources that enter the global economy are cycled back into it. Moving to a circular economy would reduce pressure on the environment, decrease pressure on the supply of finite raw materials, and lead to more innovation. What’s more, the World Economic Forum estimates that the transition to a circular model could be worth US$1tn to the global economy by 2025, and create 100,000 new jobs.

So far, climate pledges have focused on reducing the carbon intensity of the traditional economic model, but it’s clear that this won’t be enough. Adopting a circular economy framework today in steel, plastic, aluminum, cement, and food would remove 9.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is equivalent to eliminating current emissions from all forms of transport globally and would put the world well on track to a net-zero future.

What role does renewable energy play in a circular economy?

Reduce-reuse-recycle is only part of the picture. A truly circular economy has to be underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources – for two reasons.

The first is arguably the most obvious: if the energy we use to power the overall system comes from finite resources that create waste, it will never be a real circular economy.

The second, though, is more complicated. Some evidence suggests that, although the circular economy is based around energy efficiency and a reduction in inputs, collecting, sorting, processing, and restoring materials back to reusable forms takes more energy than using virgin raw materials, which means that, in some areas at least, we may need more energy to make this happen – which is why it’s vital for the energy we use to come from clean, 100% renewable sources.

What role can companies play in fostering the transition to a circular economy?

In recent months, a growing number of international brands have begun to harness the power of circular supply chains and manufacturing. Last year, Nike launched an exploratory footwear collection made from 85-90% factory and post-consumer waste, while Ikea began a large-scale furniture buyback program on Black Friday, after committing to becoming 100% circular by 2030.

It’s not just consumer goods brands. We’re starting to see circular construction sites, where companies reuse existing local materials, transform them to extend their lifespan, and pool resources. In the automotive sector, we’re seeing OEMs explore ways of designing sustainable vehicles with recycled and recoverable materials, and looking to reuse batteries from electric vehicles. Even in the mining sector, companies are investigating ways of extracting resources from waste streams to increase the environmental viability of their operations.

All of these gradual adjustments are starting to combine into a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, increases economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.

The circular economy isn’t a ‘nice-to-have.’ To achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 on sustainable consumption and production patterns, businesses must help it to become a reality.

Why is public trust vital in achieving a circular economy?

Trust is a very important factor in getting people to opt for change. We’ve seen this as part of the ongoing energy transition: the companies and people we speak to at Atlas Renewable Energy want to be certain that, by moving to renewables, they will not experience any loss of quality or reliability in their energy supply. But it goes further than that: generating public trust in the positive impact of any change – be that transitioning the grid to renewable sources of power or transforming the economy from a linear to a circular model – is vital to success.

When it comes to simple actions, such as recycling, the costs and the benefits tend to be in the same domain – the people who perform the activity are the same people who benefit from it. This makes these actions easy for the general public to get on board with. 

However, when it comes to wider trade-offs between local and regional or even global effects, it’s a little more difficult to get people to immediately understand the reasons behind the choices being made. Sometimes, reality can be counterintuitive, which can lead people to assume that positives – or negatives – exist, when in fact they don’t.

Fortunately, a well-established and internationally recognized framework to achieve this already exists. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool we already use within the renewable energy industry, and by applying it to the circular economy, it is possible to test the impacts of circular business models, validate assumptions and get feedback for improvement, as well as help define targets and indicators.

Throughout the work we have done in communities, with different industries, and with numerous stakeholders, our experience has always been that we need to be able to prove our assertions in order to achieve buy-in, and we’ve done this time and time again through a consultative approach. 

By using science-backed methodologies such as LCA, companies and governments can be transparent about the upsides and downsides of transitioning to a circular economy, and enable the public to make evidence-based decisions on whether or not to support an initiative.

The time to shift to a circular economy is now

Our inefficient linear model is pushing our planet to the brink of a climate crisis, and depleting the resources we need to support our communities to build back better after the pandemic. It’s time to move towards a circular economy, with renewable energy as a central pillar. 

When it comes to creating this new, more sustainable future, no one company or even country can do it alone. Those at the forefront of the circular economy must continually measure their progress and clearly communicate the results of their efforts. By doing this, they not only build trust but also encourage everyone else to follow suit.

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.*

The company has been recognized for its commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, implementing a social program to help close the gender gap in the renewable energy sector.

Miami, FL, Oct. 22, 2021 – Atlas Renewable Energy, an international renewable energy developer, has been awarded IJGlobal’s 2020 ESG Energy Deal of the Year (Americas) and ESG Social Award. The recognitions were announced on Thursday, Oct. 21, at IJGlobal’s award ceremony in London. According to IJGlobal, these two recognitions were awarded to Atlas due to the company’s true commitment to diversity and inclusion by implementing a social program aimed at closing the gender gap in the renewable energy sector.

The ESG Social Award was awarded to Atlas’ program “We are all part of the same energy” a social initiative that has been rolled out in Brazil, Chile and Mexico, and which is implemented during the construction phase of the solar projects the company is currently developing in these countries.

The program aims to upskill the local female workforce with training that will grant them access to opt for more technical jobs within the construction of the projects. At the same time, Atlas mobilized its contractors to prioritize the trainees in their hiring process. This initiative has become Atlas’ flagship social program and it’s aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (#5 – Gender Equality, #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, #10 – Reduce Inequalities and #12 – Responsible Consumption and Production).

To this date, nearly 1000 women have been trained in different fields, such as civil construction, carpentry, health and safety, module mounting, electricity, among others. This has allowed us to increase female participation in the construction of the projects from a typical 2% to a 15%.

“We Are All Part of the Same Energy” is expected to be implemented in the company’s new upcoming projects so that more women can benefit from these trainings and find new career pathways.

The Jacaranda Solar Plant in Brazil was also recognized by IJGlobal with the Solar Deal of the Year Award (Americas) due to the successful implementation of the program “We are all part of the same energy” during the construction of the project.

During this time more than 214 women were trained in technical skills. Out of the women who were trained, 123 were hired to become part of the construction of Jacaranda. In total, 159 women were hired, which represented 17% of the total hired labor in Jacaranda during peak construction work. The project also focused on hiring underrepresented groups such as the afro-descendant population in the state of Bahia, which formed most of the total workforce, 85% afro-descendant men and 83% afro-descendant women.

“It’s an honor to have our female workforce program ‘We Are All Part of the Same Energy’ and its implementation in the Jacaranda Solar Project recognized by IJGlobal,” said Maria Jose Cortes, Head of ESG at Atlas Renewable Energy. “Creating and implementing this program has been an amazing experience for all of us at Atlas, it has helped us open a door to new opportunities for women in rural areas in Latin America and change paradigms. We are very proud of this, but we know there is still much to do in terms of D&I. We hope this program plants the seed for more inclusive practices in our industry and in the communities where we operate.”

About Atlas Renewable Energy

Atlas Renewable Energy is a renewable energy generation company that develops, builds and operates renewable energy projects with long-term contracts across the Americas. The current company portfolio is 2.2GW of contracted projects in development, construction or operational stages, and aims to expand by an additional 4GW in the next years.

Launched in early 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy includes an experienced team with the longest track record in the solar energy industry in Latin America. The company is recognized for its high standards in the development, construction and operation of large-scale projects.

Atlas Renewable Energy is part of the Energy Fund IV, founded by Actis, a leading private equity investor in the energy sector. Atlas Renewable Energy’s growth is focused on the leading emerging markets and economies, using its proven development, commercialization and structuring know-how to accelerate the transformation toward clean energy. By actively engaging with the community and stakeholders at the center of its project strategy, the company works every day to provide a cleaner future.

To know more about Atlas Renewable Energy, visit: www.atlasrenewableenergy.com

For the first time in history, this year’s Olympic flame, which burned at Tokyo’s National Stadium Olympic Cauldron in the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, was sustained by hydrogen.

The gas was created through the electrolysis of water using solar power, creating a truly green fuel that creates no emissions – unlike the propane and butane that are traditionally used at the Olympics.

As awareness grows around the use of so-called green hydrogen, Daniel Garcia, Commercial Senior Manager at Atlas Renewable Energy, explains the benefits of this fuel, and how it can be part of the energy matrix as the world looks ahead to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

What makes green hydrogen “green”?

Hydrogen fuel is made by separating the gas from fossil fuels, or splitting it out from water. Although today, hydrogen is already being used on an industrial scale, the electricity used to produce it is almost entirely supplied from natural gas and coal. As a result, today, hydrogen fuel production is currently responsible for 830 million tons of CO2 emissions per year – which is the same as the CO2 emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined.

This is clearly not sustainable, which is why we need green hydrogen. Produced through renewable energy, green hydrogen is extracted from water via electrolysis, making it a zero-carbon fuel. As the  International Energy Agency stated, thanks to declining costs for renewable electricity, in particular from solar PV and wind, there is now growing interest in green hydrogen, and as a result, we believe that green hydrogen can make a significant contribution to the clean energy transition.

In what industries and applications can green hydrogen be used?

One of green hydrogen’s most suitable applications is for processes where hydrogen is already required. An example of this is in oil refineries, where hydrogen is used in the processing of most refined products – it’s normally obtained from the natural gas that is already extracted from the wells. Each ton of H2 produced with natural gas produces 9.3 tons of CO2, so replacing this with onsite green hydrogen production could have a dramatic impact on emissions.

Fertilizer production is another key area for the application of green hydrogen. Currently, fertilizer production facilities separate hydrogen from natural gas and combine it with nitrogen to make ammonia, but we’re starting to see the fertilizer industry begin to use electricity from photovoltaic plants to split water into oxygen and hydrogen instead, which is an encouraging sign.

One of the most interesting possibilities is in long-haul transport. Although the trend is towards the electrification of transport, the available technology currently covers short to medium range journeys of up to around 500km. Hydrogen fuel cells have been used to send rockets into space since the 1950s, and in the heavy-duty transport industry, hydrogen will likely be the solution for long-range mobility, particularly in sectors such as mining. 

Is green hydrogen competitive with fossil fuels?

When we think about green hydrogen’s competitive advantage versus fossil fuels we have to take two main factors into consideration: the price of the fuel and the climate benefit. 

Regions with high fossil fuel costs and abundant renewable resources are the most suitable for green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels at first. For example, in the US, there are numerous regions with very good wind and solar power resources, however, because of low shale gas prices it is difficult for green hydrogen to compete against fossil fuels on price alone. In Europe meanwhile, not only is there abundant wind energy but natural gas prices are also far higher, which means green hydrogen is a more competitive option.

The climate benefit is a much easier sell. Green hydrogen generates no emissions, and as governments around the world set net-zero targets for industries, and amid the growing trend towards the implementation of carbon taxes, we think that green hydrogen, alongside other renewable energy sources, will become an obvious choice. 

What does the growth in green hydrogen mean for the renewable energy sector?

According to research by Goldman Sachs, green hydrogen could supply up to 25% of the world’s energy needs by 2050. We’ve already seen numerous countries, from Australia to Chile, Germany, the EU, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and South Korea, publish national hydrogen strategies, and the fuel has a promising future in cutting emissions from the world’s most carbon-intensive industries.

Last year, the United Nations launched the Green Hydrogen Catapult Initiative in a bid to increase the production of green hydrogen 50-fold in the next six years. Replacing all of the world’s non-green hydrogen with green hydrogen would require 3,000 TWh per year from new renewables, boosting demand for solar and wind projects around the world.

What is the future outlook for the green hydrogen market? 

Green hydrogen is far from a niche solution. We believe it’s worth paying attention to, because it solves important CO2 emissions appropriately and effectively. Its growth curve has only just begun: a large part of what makes green hydrogen competitive is the cost of renewables and its efficiency, and because we haven’t reached the full potential yet in these aspects, we believe that green hydrogen will become increasingly more competitive every year.

In the short term, we expect to see a proliferation of on-site green hydrogen solutions, in areas such as natural resources and petrochemicals. Some other solutions where it can be mixed with other fuels, such as natural gas, will also emerge in the medium term. The biggest challenge for green hydrogen is to achieve competitive transportation costs, and then is when it will reach its maximum potential in terms of greenhouse emissions reduction.

When the world locked down it also logged on, and the rapid digital adoption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic will continue into the recovery – and beyond. But powering the new digital normal sustainably means taking a long hard look at the energy we use, and as companies are increasingly forced to report on climate emissions all the way along their value chains, they can no longer afford to ignore the environmental impact of the new digital economy.

Covid-19 turned digitization from a “nice to have” to a “must have”, and many of the quick fixes humanity came up with to keep the economy going during pandemic lockdowns look to be here for the long haul.

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it at the beginning of 2020, two years’ worth of digital transformation happened in two months – and the momentum has continued. Millions of people around the world have been introduced to online services including mobile banking, telemedicine, food delivery, online education, e-commerce, digital streaming services, and social media – and they don’t want to go back.

According to a global survey of executives conducted by McKinsey, companies around the world have sped up the implementation of remote working and collaboration capabilities by as much as a factor of 43 compared to business-as-usual estimates without the crisis. They’ve also accelerated the adoption of digital technologies for advancements in operations and business decision-making by a factor of 25.

And even though many businesses are now implementing phased returns to the office, more flexible working structures are to be expected in the future, with a sizeable proportion of employees saying they want to work from home more often. 

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work, shop, and conduct our day-to-day lives. 

Electric clouds

This flight to digital means a huge upswing in investment into Information and Communications Technology (ICT). A recent report by KPMG found that two-thirds of global organizations have accelerated their digital transformation strategy, with 63% boosting their digital transformation budget. As a result, according to research by Western Union and Oxford Economics, the value of ICT services is projected to increase by 35% by 2025.

These ICT services – networks, servers, storage, and applications – are overwhelmingly based in the cloud. Take-up of cloud computing is forecast to increase exponentially, from US$1.3bn in 2019 to US$12.5bn by 2030, according to BloombergNEF.

This new, cloud-based digital economy is fueled by electricity – and lots of it. Just one data center can use enough electricity to power 80,000 US households, and collectively, these spaces currently account for approximately 2% of total US electricity use.

The carbon emissions from tech infrastructure and the data servers that enable cloud computing are now greater than those caused by air travel pre-Covid, according to a report from The Shift Project. And with IT-sector-related electricity demand expected to increase by nearly 50% by 2030, the French think tank says these emissions could continue to grow at a rate of 6% every year. 

Big tech goes green

Last September, Google pledged to power all of its data centers and campuses with “carbon-free energy” – such as solar – 24 hours a day, by 2030. Microsoft has made a similar commitment – saying that it will be “carbon negative” by 2030. Amazon, which runs the AWS Global Cloud Infrastructure that provides the backbone for much of the world’s websites, said that it, too, will aim for “net zero” by 2040.

However, not all of the pledges being made by technology service providers are equal. There are many ways to reach “net zero”, but not all of them have an equivalent impact on climate change.

To tackle this, a growing number of tech service providers have committed to power purchase agreements (PPAs) that include an additional requirement. These not only ensure the generation of new renewable supply but also come with a certificate of origin stating that 100% of the energy used within the facility is derived from renewable sources.

This isn’t just good for the environment – it’s good for costs, too. Ultimately, renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in most markets, and because electricity is the main outlay for data center service providers, by using solar or wind power, they can keep costs down in the face of soaring demand.

Scope 3 emissions

Oftentimes, data centers are sited many miles away from their end-users. But this doesn’t mean that companies can afford to ignore them. The new Scope 3 emissions reporting requirements mean that corporations now need to calculate their entire greenhouse gas footprints from everything involved in their business – including upstream suppliers and downstream functions.

If a business uses technology – and, thanks to the rapid digitalization brought about by Covid, this means almost every business – now needs to account for the emissions associated with the companies that deliver their software and services.

Numerous cloud computing services providers have begun to provide insights into the carbon emissions of their infrastructure, to help companies make more sustainable decisions. The Microsoft Sustainability Calculator, for example, enables companies to quantify the carbon impact of each Azure enrollment, while Google Cloud has launched a new Carbon-Free Energy Percentage (CFE%) tool that lets users see which data centers are cleanest and allocate workloads, where possible, accordingly.

A sustainable digital future

At Atlas, although we accept that the digital economy will require significantly more energy in the future, we don’t believe it necessarily has to lead to more CO2 emissions. There is another way – and, as we’ve discussed already, some tech leaders are already charting a path forward.

As more and more companies join the post-Covid digital revolution, it is vital that they be aware of the climate impact this entails, and take steps to reduce it where possible. By selecting technology service providers that are transparent about their energy usage and that have committed to using 100% renewable electricity, companies can play a role in ensuring that the new digital economy is as sustainable as possible.

Atlas Renewable Energy’s Lar do Sol-Casablanca II project will have an installed capacity of 239MWp and will provide solar energy to Unipar´s factories in Brazil

Sao Paulo, July 16, 2021 Atlas Renewable Energy, an international leading renewable energy company, along with Unipar, a leader in chlorine, chlorides, and PVC in South America, announced today the signing of a large-scale solar energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in Brazil. The clean solar energy supply will be generated through Atlas Renewable Energy’s Lar do Sol – Casablanca II photovoltaic plant located in Pirapora, State of Minas Gerais.

The Lar do Sol – Casablanca II Solar Plant, which will occupy about 700 hectares, will have an installed capacity of 239MWp with 460,000 solar panels. The plant will host bi-facial module technology, which uses the reflection of the sun’s rays from their front and back sides, increasing the efficiency of the photoelectric conversion and enhancing the overall production of the plant. The project is expected to generate enough energy to supply two of Unipar´s factories, located in Brazil.

Lar do Sol Casablanca II’s yearly energy generation will be the equivalent of supplying energy to about 261,662 households, according to the average consumption of a Brazilian family. Moreover, the plant will approximately avoid 40,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. This calculation is based on the GHG (Green House Gases) Protocol, methodology developed by the World Resources Institute which follows the methods used by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). This amount of CO2 emissions prevented will be the equivalent to removing 16,200 vehicles from the streets of Sao Paulo.

The Lar do Sol – Casablanca II Solar Plant will be developed, built and operated by Atlas Renewable Energy, whose track record and expertise in Latin America has positioned it as one of the fastest-growing renewable energy companies in the Americas and as an essential player in the energy sector in the region. The project adds to Atlas’ rapidly expanding footprint in the Brazilian market with a total of 6 large-scale solar plants amounting to over 1GW. The signing of this long-term agreement with Unipar, one of Brazil’s largest chemical companies, attests to Atlas’ ability to partner with private companies to help them achieve their carbon emission reduction goals as they transition towards a cleaner source of energy.

“The adoption of renewables is becoming a staple of good corporate responsibility and we at Atlas offer a unique opportunity for large energy consumers to clean their energy matrix and at the same time be sponsors of the social and environmental programs we develop to uplift the communities where we operate,” said Luis Pita, General Manager of Atlas Renewable Energy for Brazil. “This contract is a testament to our company leadership in the renewable energy sector in Brazil, as we continue to implement tailor-made solutions with top-of-the-line technologies, elevating industry standards and providing a competitive edge to our clients. It’s an honor to be working with a national chemical leader such as Unipar and partner with them to advance their sustainability goals.”

Mauricio Russomanno, CEO at Unipar, says the agreement takes part in the company’s commitment to the country’s future and the business’s sustainability. “This is one more move towards sustainable solutions that improve the company’s efforts in the search for energy matrices from renewable sources, guaranteeing access to the essential input for our operation and generating greater competitivity through self-production. The total amount of generated energy destined to Unipar will be enough to produce chlorine for the water treatment to over 60 million people”, declares the executive.

As part of Atlas Renewable Energy’s commitment to the areas where it operates, the construction of the Lar do Sol – Casablanca II Solar Plant is set to contract about 1,200 workers in the peak of its activity. The company will also be executing a series of environmental and social programs including the female workforce program “we are all part of the same energy”. The program focuses on the promotion of inclusive practices by empowering the local female workforce through training. With this, Atlas has a goal of having at least 15% female representation in the total workforce during the plant’s construction. This initiative will allow local women to have access to new job opportunities within the project’s construction, generate an opportunity for their economic stability and enhance their skillsets and potential by integrating them into more technical jobs.

About Atlas Renewable Energy

Atlas Renewable Energy is a renewable energy generation company that develops, builds, and operates renewable energy projects with long-term contracts across the Americas. The current company portfolio is 2.35GW of contracted projects in development, construction, or operational stages, and aims to expand by an additional 5GW in the next years.

Launched in early 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy includes an experienced team with the longest track record in the solar energy industry in Latin America. The company is recognized for its high standards in the development, construction, and operation of large-scale projects.

Atlas Renewable Energy is part of the Energy Fund IV, founded by Actis, a leading private equity investor in the energy sector. Atlas Renewable Energy’s growth is focused on the leading emerging markets and economies, using its proven development, commercialization, and structuring know-how to accelerate the transformation toward clean energy. By actively engaging with the community and stakeholders at the center of its project strategy, the company works every day to provide a cleaner future.

To know more about Atlas Renewable Energy, visit: www.atlasrenewableenergy.com

About Unipar

Unipar is a leader in chlorine, chlorides, and PVC in South America, raw material that forms the basis of all industries and is traded on the Brazilian Stock Exchange (B3 S.A. – Brazil, Bolsa, Balcão).

With around 1,400 employees working in its offices and industrial plants in Cubatão (SP) and Santo André (SP), in Brazil, and Bahía Blanca, in Argentina, Unipar is focused on quality, safety, respect for the environment, community integration, and its recognition collaborators.

Throughout its 50 years of history, Unipar has been connected and integrated with the local communities through its Community Advisory Council, which brings together neighbors, social entities, and company representatives. In addition, it is a pioneer in the implementation of the Open Factory Program, which keeps its plants open to visitors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Contact Unipar

FSB Comunicação

(11) 3165-9596

unipar@fsb.com.br

Contact Atlas Renewable Energy

Jeffrey Group

(11) 9943-46870

npadilha@jeffreygroup.com