Convinced that there cannot be an energy transition without solidarity, in 2013 Rexel created its foundation – the Rexel Foundation for a better energy future – which has made fighting fuel poverty one of its priorities. Its actions are based on the idea that effective solutions require close collaboration with target communities.
05. A FOUNDATION FOR A BETTER ENERGY FUTURE
Fighting fuel poverty
Fuel poverty affects 12 million people in France and continues to rise, despite heavy investments and the existence of numerous aid initiatives. “The Foundation is positioned as a solutions provider in collaboration with vulnerable communities and all stakeholders.” says Bertrand de Clermont Tonnerre, Sustainable Development Director of the Rexel Group and General Secretary of the Rexel Foundation. Through its Foundation, Rexel contributes to energy progress by working alongside charities, NGOs and partners to support community projects and improve access to energy efficiency for the most disadvantaged, thereby offering solutions that meet today’s societal challenges.
“The emergence of a decarbonized economy demands a transformation of electrical consumption habits and behaviors. Rexel and its Foundation accompany and assist communities on a daily basis along the road of energy progress.”
75projects supported by more than 70 partners since 2013.175,000beneficiaries of the Rexel Foundation for a better energy future since its creation in 2013.
With this in mind, the Rexel Foundation’s mission focuses on three kinds of programs:
Community projects: supporting public interest projects initiated by NGOs, associations and partners to improve access to energy efficiency for disadvantaged communities.
Social innovation projects: promoting and accompanying innovative models and solutions through a support and innovation platform aimed at social entrepreneurship in energy efficiency.
Academic studies and research: developing knowledge and raising awareness of energy efficiency in order to create a shared knowledge base through studies, conferences, workshops and applied research programs.
Energy efficiency,a source of progress
Reducing energy dependency: energy efficiency reduces dependency on fossil fuels.
Reducing environmental impact: energy efficiency addresses the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Reducing the social divide: energy efficiency facilitates access to energy for all and helps fight against fuel poverty.
Facilitating the inclusion of households in difficulty
Initiated by the Rexel Foundation in Roubaix, the “Collectif des Possibles” (Possibilities Collective) project demonstrates the Foundation’s hands-on commitment to fighting fuel poverty. Providing individual support for people throughout the renovation of their home, the Collective proposes an innovative approach: assistance with administrative processes, choice of craftspeople, project management, etc., all the way to completion. To accomplish this, the “Collectif des Possibles” relies on a wide community of players: local authorities, associations, foundations, private businesses, craftspeople, Rexel employees, social entrepreneurs, startups, students and local volunteers.
Collaborative workshops bring together residents, local stakeholders and experts, enabling collective thinking about solutions to accompany vulnerable people and help lift them out of fuel poverty. The initiative is explained in an informative booklet and its methodology has been documented. These resources are available on the Rexel Foundation website in open source format in order to strengthen the project’s social impact and transpose it elsewhere.
The Roubaix experiment is intended to be deployed in other localitions that have expressed an interest in the initiative.
20young Indians took part in a training program offered by the "Green Village" project in Raipur (India) since 2018.
Facilitating youth employment in India
In 2020 and for the second consecutive year, the Rexel Foundation supported the association LP4Y through the “Green Village” project in India, which facilitates the professional and social integration of youth in need. The initiative aims to develop the entrepreneurial spirit of young people living in remote, disadvantaged neighborhoods located far from employment areas. Twenty beneficiaries aged 17 to 24 took part in this project in Raipur, following a program based on the creation, construction and management of a micro solar power plant. They were thus given access to training in communication or teamwork before joining the workforce thanks to a network of partners and local players.
Also in India, in 2020 the Rexel Foundation supported the association “Un enfant par la main” (A Child by the Hand) to contribute to the reopening of four children’s community centers that were destroyed during the floods of 2018 in Tamil Nadu. Electrification work (solar panels) in these centers were completed within the year despite difficulties relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. 312 children and 6,707 community members now benefit from a new solar energy production system and the distribution of solar lamps. Study and social time have therefore been significantly increased.
The Foundation encourages Rexel’s employees to get involved in its projects either by serving as ambassadors in their country to support the Foundation’s teams or by sponsoring a community project in line with its aims.
For example, in collaboration with the Rexel Foundation, in 2019 employees from Rexel France decided to support the creation of a “Café joyeux” (Joyful Café), an establishment employing disabled people in Versailles. Its opening will only take place in February 2022, having been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of the Group’s entities also supported collective and community initiatives by freely providing products, supplies or skills sponsorship.
Improving access to solar energy for Native Americans
Improving living conditions for Native American communities in the United States thanks to the installation of solar panels is the aim of the National Tribal Solar Program organized by the NGO GRID Alternatives and funded for the past several years by the Rexel Foundation. This initiative provides native communities with access to a source of clean, local, renewable electric power. Households can thereby lower their energy bills by 75 to 90% on average.
Thanks to funding from the Rexel Foundation, the equivalent of 45 kW in constant current will be installed on behalf of the Eastern Navajo Agency. The initiative also aims to create a longer-term benefit through “rooftop classroom”, a practical training program conducted by the association. Throughout the project, around 30 students will be trained in the installation of solar panels. Finally, by working with tribal leaders on planning energy resources, GRID Alternatives contributes to raising awareness among Native American communities about the issues of energy management, energy efficiency and energy savings.