(pp.469-483) A. Santtiago and F. Roxas ‘Identifying, developing and moving sustainable communities through renewable energy’, World Sustainable Development Outlook, 2012
ANDREA SANTIAGO, DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY, PHILIPPINES
FERNANDO ROXAS, ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, PHILIPPINES
Purpose – Most of the resources for mitigating the impact of poverty have found their way into new technologies or programmes that aimed to provide energy access to the poor at the “bottom of the pyramid” (BOP). Thus, billions have been spent and will be spent on projects such as expensive line extensions or solar panels for the poor living in “last mile” communities.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper looks at the approaches that have been tried in an attempt to make a dent in the incidence of poverty in households living in last mile, BOP areas in the Philippines and posits the critical question of why these approaches have failed despite successes in the more economically well-positioned strata of society. After identifying the critical variables that mitigate against successful programmes, the authors seek to prescribe a separate methodology for interventions in the BOP tiers of society.
Findings – The initial hypothesis garnered from examining the data suggests that BOP communities lack access to the managerial and entrepreneurial skills required to sustain relatively advanced technology applications seeking to improve livelihood opportunities.
Research limitations/implications – The sources of primary data for this research are interviews with community workers, energy project proponents and BOP community leaders. Future research requires pilot programmes where results can be measured and successes can be replicated in other communities.
Practical implications – The insights derived from the research will enable the design of better programmes aimed at the BOP. Positive outcomes should come from improved effectiveness and efficiencies of current approaches and possible new opportunities for leveraging current efforts by governments and civil society with business.
Social implications – The most significant possible outcome of this research would be to enhance the sustainability of current interventions aimed at the BOP. Many corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities are superficial, short-term initiatives, with time frames corresponding to quarterly statements meant for the public and external stakeholders. Unfortunately, the BOP environment is more structurally complex and requires systemic understanding.
Originality/value – Many of the existing interventions do not capture the needs of the BOP. This work looks at this segment of the client system and tries to identify gaps in the programme design in order to focus on the target group.
Keywords Renewable energy, Philippine poverty, Millennium development goals, Sustainable communities, Rural electrification
Paper type Research paper