2020 put the fragility of people and the planet into sharp focus for the world to see. Governments, NGOs, corporations and individuals are responding to the SDG agenda. Increasingly companies are changing the way they conduct business to align with the ambitions of the SDGs as there is a growing awareness of the interconnectedness of environmental, social and economic issues.
Additionally, this is strengthened by a strong business case for embedding sustainability into core corporate practice. According to the Harvard Business Review, sustainability offers value for businesses when it comes to competitive advantage through comprehensive stakeholder engagement, mitigating risk, fostering innovation, improving financial performance with proper ESG frameworks, building customer loyalty and attracting talent.
The standardisation of setting sustainability metrics and reporting on sustainability performance is also making it easier for companies to adopt a sustainability agenda and align with the SDGs. At the end of 2020 the World Economic Forum in partnership with the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms developed a set of metrics and a standardised framework to report environmental, social and governance performance. Reporting performance in these areas helps companies understand their environmental and societal impact, drives actionable sustainable agendas, increases transparency and fosters dialogue amongst stakeholders.
Just as social, environmental and economic issues are interconnected, so too are the SDGs. Transitioning towards sustainable and resilient societies hinges on responsible management of finite natural resources, and access to resources such as energy, is not only a fundamental human right, but also a means to sustainable development.
ECONNECT recognises its role in realising the SDGs, most specifically by helping provide clean and affordable energy with innovative technology to avoid harmful environmental impacts. It does this in partnership with other global actors including governments, other energy suppliers and energy networks.
SDG 7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Recently, the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy in 2021 declared that energy access is the most pressing priority for global COVID recovery efforts.
Energy poverty threatens developing nations and rural areas around the globe. Lack of clean energy access is a barrier to increasing wellbeing, health outcomes and livelihood security for many in the developing world. Presently, some 789 million people lack access to electricity. About three billion people remain without clean cooking solutions, causing millions of premature deaths annually and disproportionately affecting women.
For domestic use in developing countries, natural gas is often used as a bridge in the transition to renewable energy. It is cleaner to burn than oil or coal, playing a central role in reducing carbon emissions. Natural gas is a low-carbon and reliable solution to existing energy demands.
LNG is seen as the cleanest, most effective and cheapest energy source during the transition to zero carbon fuels. With ECONNECT's IQuay, existing ports can quickly mobilise energy import capabilities due to the floating unit’s plug and play capabilities.
Affordable and reliable energy is critical for health facilities. As time is of the essence for the clean energy transition, offloading permits are drastically reduced compared to transitional fixed import infrastructure. A new-build IQuay can be deployed within 12 months.
SDG 9 - To build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation
Economic growth, social development and climate action are heavily dependent on investments in infrastructure, sustainable industrial development and technological progress.
Industrialisation in Lesser Developed Countries is too slow to meet the 2030 agenda target. Industrialisation needs reliable access to energy and increased resources. ECONNECT can partner with other players in order to create a robust energy value chain to the countries that need it most.
The IQuay enables LNG, renewable fuel, carbon capture and other energy projects previously deemed unfeasible due to geography, environmental impact and high construction costs.
IQuay scalability and modular design allows for clean energy access for both large and small consumer markets, as the technology is adaptable to a variety of energy types and a variety of loading and offloading scenarios.
Investment in R&D is growing but needs to accelerate. ECONNECT’s drive to develop innovative and cost effective solutions for liquid transfer continues. Thanks to the visionary support from the Norwegian government, ECONNECT will continue to invest in realising solution offerings, not only in the natural gas sector, but also in Hydrogen, Ammonia and Carbon Capture and Storage.
SDG 13 - To take urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts
To limit global warming to 1.5°C, as called for in the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling by 7.6 % each year starting in 2020.
Climate change is affecting every country in the world and it poses a threat to our existence as we know it. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives and livelihoods, especially for the most vulnerable. ECONNECT’s mission is to deliver infrastructure solutions which will allow a faster energy transition from coal, lignite and wood, which causes severe air pollution, over to supply of natural gas and zero-carbon energy sources.
ECONNECT’s floating, jettyless transfer system allows for energy transport without the need of a jetty. Traditional construction resources and methods for building jetties are carbon-intensive. From concrete and steel materials, diesel generators and emissions from construction vessels, and waste produced from construction, building jetties carries a high cost to the environment.
The IQuay’s regenerative lifecycle design cuts out waste and pollution with re-use. The environmental costs of production are reduced by repurposing the product for use in a variety of contexts.
Moreover, ECONNECT provides innovative infrastructure with a variety of marine transport applications. Recognising the extreme diversity in how mature energy infrastructure networks are in the different regions of the world, ECONNECT's IQuay is universal, so a unit that can supply LNG today can be retrofitted to supply Hydrogen tomorrow.
SDG 14 - Life Below Water
Over 3 billion globally depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihood. Oceans are our planet’s life support and regulate the global climate system and they are the world’s largest ecosystem.
Shallow sea habitats, where most harbors today are constructed, are amongst some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet and are estimated to sequester nearly 10% of all carbon dioxide absorbed by oceans. They are an integral part of the Earth’s natural carbon sink in the fight against global climate change.
More generally, coastal waters are deteriorating due to pollution and eutrophication. Building coastal jetties requires excavation and construction activities which have a dramatic and detrimental effect on marine biodiversity in shallow seas.
Dredging and pile driving during jetty construction is commonly used to allow for access of carrier vessels to terminal sites via jetties, these alterations to river or sea morphology can have a profound effect on the reduction of wildlife habitat and can affect the water quality necessary for the flourishing of biodiversity and community livelihoods related to fishing, shipping and transport. ECONNECT’s IQuay is a floating system, so the seabed and surrounding areas are left undisturbed.
SDG 17 - Partnership For the Goals
Against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is apparent that strengthening multilateralism and global partnerships are more important than ever to solve the world’s problems. The Sustainable Development Goals remain the framework for building back better and can be achieved with partnerships between governments, civil society, scientists, academia and the private sector.
Multi Stakeholder partnerships will be crucial to leverage the inter-linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals to enhance their effectiveness and impact, and to accelerate progress in achieving the Goals.
ECONNECT recognises that working together with other energy companies will help bring clean energy to the developing world. Working with the Energy Network Norway, ECONNECT collaborates with other industry players to leverage the Norwegian energy industry’s expertise to strengthen the hybrid energy value chain.