Iberdrola makes energy accessible to the financially underprivileged

#social action #SDG

Working in collaboration with public administrations, various companies and NGOs, Iberdrola has prevented vulnerable customers from being deprived of their electric supply. Iberdrola group has also contributed over €15 million towards a series of initiatives to raise living standards for people at risk of social exclusion.


 Iberdrola signs agreements with public administrations and NGOs to prevent cuts in the energy supply from affecting customers in vulnerable situations. As a result of these agreements, absolutely all vulnerable customers in Spain are now covered. In the United Kingdom, the company has the Warm Home Discount program, and in the United States there is Operation Fuel.

 Contribution of 5.8 million euros at the group level by Iberdrola's foundations for initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of vulnerable groups in the countries in which it operates.

 To ease the potential impact of COVID-19 on customers struggling to pay, Iberdrola has launched the help plan to aid customers in covering their electricity, gas and other utility bills.

 Iberdrola 2021 Social Programme: through its Foundation in Spain, the company will allocate 1.2 million euros to social aid aimed at mitigating the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. 43 % of this budget will be devoted to preventing situations of poverty and exclusion, prioritising the fight against child poverty. In total, 34 projects have been selected, which will benefit some 50,000 people. Since its creation in 2010, the Social Programme has allocated more than 10 million euros to social initiatives in the country, helping 375,000 people.

 ScottishPower — the group's UK subsidiary — is working with ReachingWider, an association to provide higher education for vulnerable people in Wales, and with Bendrigg Trust, an open-air education nursing home to care for people with disabilities through the Adventure for All project.

 Rainn: A project by Avangrid(*) — the group's USA subsidiary — to protect people in need.


SDG 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Its objectives include ensuring that the entire population and especially the poorest and most vulnerable have equal rights to economic resources, access to basic services, property and land control, natural resources and new technologies.


The rise in poverty is not only unfair and a threat to the integrity of millions of people, but it also heightens inequality which, in turn, weakens social cohesion and severely hampers economic growth.

The main causes of poverty (unemployment, social exclusion and major vulnerability for certain population segments to natural disaster and disease) drive inequality and heighten malnutrition, lack of access to education, discrimination and exclusion. Altogether, this exacerbates crises, increases political and social tension and leads to all kinds of conflict.

There are currently over 700 million people or 10 % of the world's population living in extreme poverty (i.e. on less than US$1.90 per day), which means they barely have enough to cover their most basic day-to-day needs. And this critical situation is far from getting better. Despite having improved gradually from 36 % in 1990 to 10 % in 2015, the upward trend has slowed over the past few years to reach 8.2 % in 2019. Now, the situation could become much worse due to the COVID-19 crisis, which is pushing millions of people into extreme poverty. It is expected to reach 8.8 % in 2020 (nearing 2017 figures). This would mean the first rise in poverty in over 20 years (according to the 2020 SDG Progress Report).

To make matters worse, extreme poverty is a gender issue: for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 who live in extreme poverty worldwide, there are 122 women within that age group in the same situation. Furthermore, there are two regions housing the greatest number of people who live below the poverty threshold: Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of the global epidemic, we can expect to see the most significant surge in extreme poverty levels in these areas, with an additional 32 million people in Southern Asia and 26 million more in Sub-Saharan Africa struggling to survive under the international poverty threshold.

Poverty is also expected to rise among the working population. Over the past decade, the ratio of workers living in extreme poverty had been gradually decreasing, from 14.3 % in 2010 down to 7.1 % in 2019. In April 2020, however, as businesses and other workplaces began to shut down, 81 % of employees and 66 % of freelancers suffered the consequences. In February 2020, only 87 countries had unemployment protection programs in place as part of their national legislation, and freelancers were only covered in 34 of those countries.

There is also a staggering difference in the coverage provided in terms of financial and social assistance for vulnerable segments of the population from one region to another. Around 61 % of these segments (children, adults at working age and senior citizens not covered by contribution plans) receive financial support in Europe and North America. By contrast, monetary aid is only offered to 4 % in Central and Southern Asia.

For all these reasons, ending poverty in all forms everywhere requires the entire global community to get involved. Hence why the United Nations (UN) set this as SDG 1 of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda.

Iberdrola aligned with the sdg

Key facts for undesrtanding world poverty

Who's affected?

736 million people are currently living

in extreme poverty.

< $1.90/day

Specifically, they have to survive on less than $1.90 per day.

+50 % are children:

one in four children under the age of five are under the appropriate height for their age.

How is it distributed in the world?

84 % are found in sub-Saharan Africa (51 %) and South Asia (33 %)

The 10 countries with the highest percentage of poverty

Are found in Africa, the inhabitants of which survive on less than $1.90/day for every 100 residents
















South Sudan


Dem. Rep of the Congo


Central African Republic

Main causes

Unemployment, social exclusion and the increased vulnerability of certain populations to natural disasters and disease.

Is there a solution?

50 %

Even though poverty has been halved since the year 2000, we need to focus on increasing the incomes and alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable.

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Key facts for understanding world poverty [PDF] External link, opens in new window.


Although poverty has been reduced by half since 2000, it is still crucial to do so much more towards raising income and easing suffering for those in need. The targets for 2030 are:

  • To eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere.
  • To implement appropriate social protection systems and measures.
  • To ensure that all men and women have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services.
  • To develop the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related, economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.
  • To ensure significant mobilisation of resources through enhanced development cooperation.
  • To create sound policy frameworks to support investment in poverty eradication actions.





(*) Avangrid, Inc. is 81,50 % owned by Iberdrola, S.A.