Powered By Purpose – Community Engagement in Tamaulipas, Mexico
Laura Pardo Garcia
Regional CSR Manager at Vestas
Published on 5th December 2019
Engaging with and celebrating the communities in which we operate is an important pillar of Vestas’ purpose and practices. As a company Vestas remains committed to improving the lives of the people who interact with our products, regardless of where they are located in the supply chain.
In late 2018 as a part of the development of the Tres Mesas III Wind Farm in Tamaulipas, Mexico, the CSR team in LATAM worked with the local community to install improved stoves in the homes of 31 local residents. Old fashioned wood stoves are typical in the area in order to heat water for bathing, cooking, or heating the house in colder months. However, as they are often located inside the home they can create an unsafe living environment as the residents breath in a steady stream of smoke throughout the year. According to the World Health Organisation wood stoves are considered high risk with adverse affects on health as they can not only make residents ill, but smoke inhalation can lead to death.
As a part of this initiative Vestas assisted with the installation of improved stoves that reduced the need for wood for fuel, in turn helping protect the household income, reduce the use of natural resources, and improve the health of local families by reducing indoor air pollution. The positive effects of the project were felt almost immediately as smoke from cooking and general use was expelled from the house through newly installed external exhausts and the reduction in wood usage allowed participating families a more cost-effective cooking alternative. In the long-term the decreased need for wood fuel helps reduce the deforestation of the region and supports a more sustainable local ecosystem.
This joint effort between Vestas and the local community was inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), primarily Good Health and Well-being as the new stoves significantly improved the general health of the local people as well as Life On Land due to the deforestation result thanks to the less wood needed to fuel the new stoves.
In addition to providing assistance to the local community, celebrating the rich and diverse cultures where Vestas implements its products is important to the longevity of a project. In April 2019 Tamaulipas was also home to the first archaeological display of artefacts discovered during the excavation of turbine foundations. The exhibit, driven by the National Institute of Archaeology and History and partially sponsored by Vestas, the travelling showcase presented not only artefacts and remains found during the project, but also infographics displaying the archaeological practices used during the preparation of the foundations.
The impact of the project has already worked to establish Vestas with a reputation for responsible practices within the wind energy sector. This was also further expanded on through the transparency provided by the exhibit’s infographics which demonstrated the responsible practices utilised by the wind energy sector. In addition, the showcase raised awareness in the local community about the cultural and historical background of the Las Mesas area and how this can coexist with the wind energy projects installed.
This unique showcase helped to strengthen sustainable cities and communities while using partnerships to accomplish the primary goal, both important pillars of the UN’s SDGs and overall ambition to end poverty around the world.
Whether through fuelling the next generation of engineers and turbine technicians, or promoting the heritage and history of the region, Vestas is powered by a purpose that our technology can change the future for good.