Flight Centre Travel Group’s (FCTG) corporate brands have partnered with SolarBuddy, a charity dedicated to illuminating the future of those living in energy poverty. This will translate into all businesses within the corporate portfolio, including FCM Travel Solutions, extending this option to event attendees as part of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) add-on to enable delegates to make a meaningful, lasting impact during functions. The goal is for FCTG to build 10,000 SolarBuddy lights by June 30, 2019.
Approximately 18% of the world’s population has no access to electricity which equates to 1.4 billion people living in the dark. This severely impacts education, health, the economy and the environment. SolarBuddy’s mission is to help break this cycle and improve the educational opportunities of six million children living in darkness by providing them with solar lights to study after dusk.
FCTG’s corporate brands are aiming to take whole communities from darkness to light. Delegates and participants at events and meetings organized by the brands are being encouraged to build SolarBuddy lights as an activity within a conference program. The activity of building a light during an event not only fosters more meaningful experiences for participants but also inspires them to spread the word about energy poverty and the importance of the SolarBuddy initiative. Each kit comes with instructions and takes around 15-20 minutes to build using a basic screwdriver.
Already associates attending FCTG’s global company-wide gathering in Berlin in July 2018, assembled SolarBuddy lights during one of the conference sessions thanks to this newly-formed partnership. As a result 2,000 SolarBuddy lights have now been shipped to children in Papua New Guinea and South Africa.
The gift of a SolarBuddy light helps children living in energy poverty to continue studying long after the sun goes down, ultimately improving their education outcomes and overall health and wellbeing. Early stage evaluations indicate that children with a solar light are studying up to 38% longer.
Solar lighting is a sustainable option that minimizes the reliance on the burning of toxic kerosene, dangerous campfires, and expensive battery-powered torches, enabling children to do homework after dark, supports small businesses and improves safety and security of local communities.
FCTG corporate staffers are also being incentivized to reach the 10,000 SolarBuddy target as six staff members from around the globe will be chosen to accompany SolarBuddy on a trip to Cambodia to deliver the lights and witness the incredible impact the contribution has first hand.
Charlene Leiss, president of FCTG’s corporate brands, notes the program is already having a positive effect on the team. “The feel-good, do-good impact of CSR is undeniable. The merits of this new partnership and experience are twofold; there is tremendous value within our workplace coupled with creating more meaningful connections with our clients by offering this wonderful, charitable option. The decision to partner with SolarBuddy was a unanimous one,” she said.
Simon Doble, CEO of SolarBuddy and The Doble Group, agrees: “We are thrilled to be partnering with a global organization in cievents, assisting us in achieving our mission to provide safe, reliable, effective and innovative solar energy solutions to communities who suffer from the limiting effects of energy poverty.”