October 19, 2007
Sustainability reports usually have long chapters on the environmental and economic aspects, but struggle to address the social dimension. Therefore, I was encouraged to read yesterday’s press release that the ‘Commission promotes the social dimension of the Energy Community’.
Stop here for the moment, and consider what defines the social dimension.
The difficulty with the social dimension is that it probably is the broadest of the 3 sustainability pillars. A few first associations with the social dimension:
- the safety of energy users (against electrocution, fires, gas explosions, …)
- consumer protection
- the comfort of energy users
- opportunities using energy services to rethink healthcare (telemonitoring, telecare, …)
- opportunities using energy services to rethink transport (telecommuting, teleconferencing, …)
- the safety of employees working in the energy industry (e.g. coal mining, nuclear power, …)
- social issues in the energy sector in the context of liberalisation
- the vulnerability of our digital society to power outages
- energy poverty
Looking at the press release:
Author : Hans De Keulenaer
The process of opening-up the electricity and gas energy markets offers new economic and employment opportunities. It implies acceptance of competition and clear rules concerning the functioning of the market. It also implies addressing social consequences linked with the restructuring of energy companies, the introduction of market prices for energy and the protection of workers and vulnerable customers.