Sustainability is an integral part of Scatec Solar’s business model. We generate cost-effective, clean and reliable electricity and we always aim to conduct business in a sustainable manner wherever we operate.
2017 was an eventful year with significant value creation and challenges that led to learning on many fronts.
On the back end of an assessment of our sustainability strategy and feedback from key stakeholders during the year, we decided to start reporting in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards. Further we continued the work to integrate six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our sustainability strategy by aligning our existing sustainability targets with the SDGs and developing new targets and activities.
In 2017 we continued to strengthen our organization within all regions and functions. In preparation for stronger growth we recruited about 50 employees over the year and permanent employees is now at 184, represented by more than 20 nationalities. Worldwide, women accounted for 37% of our staff in 2017, up from 28% in 2016.
There were no fatal accidents in 2017. The Injury Rate (IR), excluding first aid injuries, amounted to 3.4 per million working hours, where 3.7 related to contractors and 2.7 to our own employees. We had two lost time injuries during the year.
Our solar power plants in operation resulted in avoiding more than 700,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. A figure that will more than double when projects currently under construction are grid connected. We also started to examine our own climate effect by collecting emissions data from all our operating sites, offices and employee air travels. The total greenhouse gas emissions for 2017 is estimated to 2,879 tons of CO2.
We worked to further improve the environmental and social governance integration in the development phase of our projects. As a consequence of our ambitious project construction roll out, we completed environmental and social impact assessments for several projects during the year. Stakeholder engagement efforts were carried out in Malaysia, Brazil, Mozambique and Honduras through stakeholder meetings and close dialogues with a broad range of stakeholders. The implementation of our Mocuba project in Mozambique resulted in an economic displacement of more than 200 households. We worked actively to mitigate the effects of this by ensuring that all households are assisted in adapting and restoring their livelihoods to pre-project standards at a minimum. All according to the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) Performance Standards.
Local value creation was a key priority throughout the year with strong emphasis on local job creation and development of local communities surrounding our plants. We implemented several new local development initiatives including community internet cafes and training courses in South Africa, a pineapple plantation in Rwanda, a rooftop solar system for a youth club in Jordan and a reforestation program and donations of school supplies in Honduras to mention a few.
In 2017, all operations in our value chain and business partners of our company were assessed for risks related to corruption. We reported one confirmed incident of corruption through our whistle blower channel during the year, which resulted in the termination of a contract with an employee and a supplier.
To work even closer with our suppliers going forward we initiated a Supplier Development Programme for our key suppliers with a focus on social and environmental targets to be evaluated annually. The percentage of new suppliers in 2017 that were screened for social and environmental criteria was 100%.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Avoided Per Year (Tons of CO2)