Sustainable Energy for All private sector consultation, Brussels, February 2012

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Publication Date: 
08 February 2012

The United Nations Foundation convened a consultation on opportunities for the private sector to develop commitments to action on Sustainable Energy for All in Brussels on February 8 - immediately following the European rollout of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All at the EU Parliament. The 35 private sector representatives who participated were extremely interested in the initiative, and expressed a strong willingness to continue the discussion and work toward developing commitments.


Kandeh Yumkella, the Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization and the co-chair of the Secretary-General's High-Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All, gave opening remarks. He stressed the critical importance of private sector engagement in the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, and emphasized that the initiative will focus on profit- making business opportunities, not charity. Yumkella mentioned the two dozen focus countries under the initiative, and raised the possibility for companies to develop new sustainable energy projects in close collaboration with the governments of those countries.

Themes and ideas raised during the discussion include:

  • To develop new business opportunities, the private sector will need to work hand-in-hand with governments on developing market-based incentives, and reducing political and regulatory risks.
  • Energy efficiency is a large – and often overlooked – opportunity in both developed and developing countries.
  • Electricity markets are changing rapidly. Decentralized generation will cause us to rethink even basic assumptions about how to match supply with demand, especially in the industrialized world, where power generation is centralized.
  • It will be important to bring industry associations to the table in the commitment development process.
  • The initiative could develop a platform to “matchmake” companies and governments, as well as between companies with complementary interests and projects.
  • The initiative should consider setting up an intranet or social network to allow company representatives to further engage in conversation, share ideas, and discuss commitments.

Companies represented

GDF Suez
General Electric
Royal Dutch Shell
Schneider Electric

Acknowledgements: An official document of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative.