Name: Yumnaa Firfirey
Position: Senior Sustainability Manager
Country: South Africa
Worked in Scatec Solar since: 2018
What is your story with Scatec Solar?
I feel like Scatec Solar is a perfect culmination of all the experiences that I’ve gained over the last 24 years of my working life. I started at Scatec Solar as a consultant in January 2018 and became permanent later that year. I was employed to head up the role of Sustainability in South Africa. Up to that point, I have worked in the areas and industries of tourism, design, economic development, enterprise development, partnership building. Moving into Scatec Solar felt like coming home, finally I was in a corporate environment, operating globally, that took Sustainability seriously: a company that sees the role of Sustainability as a means of strengthening the core of our business, while also improving the conditions for all our stakeholders. I am grateful to be operating in a company with this progressive and strategic mindset, which I have been fortunate to be able to develop even further in South Africa because of the immense need and opportunity to create positive social and economic impact.
Initially, I was the only employee in the Sustainability team, along with four Community Liaison Officers in the communities near our plants. In the short space of 30 months, we are now a team of 12 people and the number of operational plants has doubled from three to six. During this time, we have overhauled our strategy for integrated community development. We have conceptualised and then implemented, what seems to be a very successful model for community engagement and involvement in decision-making and project conceptualisation and implementation. The number of programmes that have activated our new strategy has been prolific. Our next challenge is to start scaling up our efforts into larger projects that will create even more positive socio-economic impact in our communities, especially at this time where our country is being ravaged socio-economically by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What do you think makes Scatec Solar unique?
Scatec Solar is a relatively new company, constantly evolving, and that makes it an incredibly exciting place to work. There are rules, but only minimally so. This means that it is an environment that is being co-created by the many colleagues who are building this plane while we fly it. Knowing that you can make contributions and suggestions to how the company can further improve its already successful business model is certainly motivating. This kind of environment attracts people who appreciate momentum and innovation and discussions with colleagues are always thought provoking. There is always something to learn, a new perspective to consider. When you add to this that many of our colleagues working in the Cape Town office are constantly travelling to the plants that we are building and operating across the globe, the opportunity for learning and broadening your outlook is immense. Having colleagues energised by the meaningful work being done results in an amazingly uplifting environment to work in. And that is probably how we successfully live our vision of “improving our future”.