Recently, I attended the CSCLeaders programme in England. This year’s programme was geared toward energy efficiency in Commonwealth countries and each year the programme seeks to address a global challenge. This year’s challenge was “What could be the future of energy in Commonwealth cities.”

Energy was described as the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and an environment that allows the world to thrive. It also stands at the centre of global efforts to induce a paradigm shift towards low-carbon energy systems, green economies, poverty eradication and ultimately, sustainable development.

Energy is essential to all city functions and services. It is at the centre of the challenge and the solutions to achieving healthier, more resilient and prosperous cities. Hence, it is crucial that cities develop innovative approaches to energy supply, delivery and management. During the programme, we were charged with exploring how we could future proof our cities to ensure we meet the energy demands of growing populations and economies.

The information to meet the challenge came from multiple sources; literature from energy experts, government officials and study tours in a London context. We were further tasked through study tours to identify the best possible options from their environment and use cultural intelligence to conceptualize the best possible projects in small groups.

Study tours where conducted across London at a variety of organizations; StreetLeague, East London Mosque, London Transport Museum, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Battersea Power Station Development and Kiwi Power. These are leading social, cultural and energy organizations in London. In addition, the group were accompanied on their visits by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

Based on observations made over the programme, my group decided to tackle the issue of energy communication and engagement. It was obvious that strides have been made to tackle the energy issue. However, not all the different groups of stakeholders were engaged or had enough information to make a positive contribution to the discourse. It was also decided that this engagement had to be real and stated in simple language for the masses to understand.