SUSTAINABLE EMEA ISSUE 03/18
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EUROPE / MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA
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CONTENTS ISSUE 03/18 Welcome to the latest Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) edition of Sustainable Business Magazine. Sustainable Business Magazine aims to spread awareness of sustainable values in business, as well as the exciting ways in which organizations continue to meet challenges and champion corporate social responsibility. In this issue, we speak to some of the businesses and corporations who are driving economic growth, environmental stewardship, and empowering communities in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As part of our ongoing focus on sustainable infrastructure development in South Africa, we begin this issue with a foreword from the Independent Power Producers (IPP) Office, who tell us about how their Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) program is driving investment in rural communities and small businesses. The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has been closely involved in REIPPP. Mpho Mokwele, Head of Project Finance, tells us about financing vital renewable energy projects in collaboration with local communities. We also spoke to Noel de Villiers, Mechanical Engineer at Sutherland Engineers, about a multidisciplinary engineering company finding innovative ways to reduce water and energy consumption in South African buildings. In Zambia, we spoke to Gabriel Bracho, Plant Manager at ZAMEFA, about reducing dependence on foreign imports, and improving the quality of wire and cable products available in the region. To the northeast, we spoke to Davis & Shirtliff, a Kenyan supplier of water- and energy-related equipment and products. CEO David Gatende told us about some of their latest sustainable infrastructure projects. We also spoke to Neer Chandaria, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Chandaria Industries, about how the largest tissue and hygiene products producer in East Africa built a successful business out of recycling. SBM Regional Reports take a close look at exemplary sustainable businesses from around the world, whose innovations in environmental best practices, community engagement, and local economic development may offer fresh ideas and new perspectives to our readers. This issue, we spoke to Bao Nguyen, Sustainability & Communication Director at INSEE, a Vietnamese cement producer. Mr. Nguyen talked to us about Green Label cement, using waste for energy production, and the importance of investing in talent. We also have a guest editorial from Argent Energy, a United Kingdom-based biofuel supplier. Steven Lindley, QC Laboratory Manager, and Lee Knight, Process Development Chemist, talked us through the process of transforming fats into high-quality biofuel which can then power London’s fleet of buses. Details of upcoming sustainability events throughout September and October can be found on our events calendar. Our featured event is Power & Electricity World Africa 2019, Africa’s largest and longest-running power and electricity show, which will take place at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 26-27 2019. We hope that you find this issue both interesting and inspiring. Thank you for reading. The Sustainable Business Magazine Team
Independent Power Producers Office (IPPO)
Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA)
Davis & Shirtliff
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INDEPENDENT POWER PRODUCERS OFFICE
ENERGY ENSURES SA
REMAINS GREEN Renewable energy is fast changing the energy landscape of South Africa. Massive tall towers and thousands of shiny mirrors have suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere 2 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
– locals call the Solar Tower the “Star in the Sky”. Along the coast great white whirring blades of countless wind towers suddenly punctuate the horizon as far as you can see. Upstream, a river has been partially diverted to feed rushing water into huge turbines. Inland, thousands of blue solar panels stand upright in strict formation solemnly gazing at the burning Kalahari sun. Countless homes carry large tanks and black snake-like tubes on their roofs. What’s happening...a possible alien invasion? No! Hakuna matata (no worries). It is only South Africa’s renewable energy programme exerting its position on the energy mix of the country. South Africa has taken its rightful place amongst world leaders as a user of renewable energy. Global positioning with regards to reducing of carbon emissions has thrust South Africa into the realm of renewable clean energy. From rooftop solar water heaters to large concentrated solar power towers, the range is wide and growing even faster as gas and desalination projects climb into the game. Further technological advances such as Vertical Axis Wind Technology (VAWT) continue to stoke the fires of renewable energy research in the country. How did this all happen so quickly? The answer is very simple. It is what happens when good governance prevails. A simple agreement between the SA National Treasury, the Department of Energy and the Development Bank of Southern Africa saw the birth of renewable energy in SA and the Independent Power Producers Office (IPPO). The IPP Office is situated in Centurion in Pretoria and has become the home of renewable energy in SA. It was this group of smart young experts led by a legend in renewable energy in SA, Karén Breytenbach, bolstered by the presence and support of her COO, Maduna Ngobeni, a gentle giant in the field of renewable energy. Together they led the team to great heights when they produced the REIPPP, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme, pronounced “reep”. This program has been lauded internationally and many countries
STUDENTS BUSY IN THE COMPUTER LABORATORY BUILT BY GOUDA WIND FARM.
COOKHOUSE WIND FARM IN THE EASTERN CAPE.
KONKOONSIES SOLAR PV IN THE NORTHERN CAPE.
have applied the REIPPP program in their own countries. Basically, the IPPO conducted auctions in which potential producers bid a price per megawatt that they were willing to sell at. The results were amazing. Based on 2016 Base Data, four bid windows saw the price of generated electricity for wind drop 50% between Bid Window 1 and Bid Window 4. Over the same period PV also fell 74% as newer and cheaper technology was introduced. Hydro electric, biogas, and biomass technologies have also been developed and are adding to the national grid. Furthermore R194bn has so far been invested by private and public sectors to make this happen. This is six times more than what was invested in stadiums in the 2010 World Cup in SA. Another amazing feature of the REIPPP is that successful firms had to commit 1 – 3% of direct turnover to social and enterprise development in the local communities surrounding the plant. This implies radical social and economic transformation as individuals, communities, and small businesses in rural, forgotten areas of our society benefitted from this new windfall. Like a windfall from heaven, IPPs have to date committed R20.6 billion towards socio-economic development initiatives in the country, with R16.5 billion thereof specifically allocated to their respective local community. Amazingly, operational IPPs have invested R504.9 million so far in innovative housing and infrastructure, health care, education, and skills development initiatives. As such, the direct impact of the programme on people’s lives is already tangible. Locals often comment, “We had nothing until the Plant came to the village”.
The unique and wonderful design of the REIPPP allows the programme to contribute to structural transformation in the economy and society by enabling broad-based participation by all South Africans. In Bid Window 4 South Africans own on average a 57.8% stake in the projects that have reached financial close and in Bid Window 3.5 a stake of 56% was reached. Furthermore, shareholding by South Africans is being secured across the value chain in operating companies of IPPs and in Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractors. On average, local communities co-own 11% of these projects. In addition, the IPPO mitigates against South Africa’s vulnerability to climate change. The renewable energy portfolio has reduced the country’s carbon footprint by displacing
22.5 million tons of CO2 emissions and with water savings of 26.6 million kilolitres. The environmental benefits of these clean energy resources will grow exponentially as the portfolio matures. Today 62 large renewable energy plants are connected to the national electricity grid with a total generation capacity of 3,773 MW. An additional two projects are still under construction under round 3 of the procurement program. A further 27 projects were signed on the 4 April 2018 with a generation capacity of about 2,300 MW. These projects are expected to start connecting to the grid towards the end of 2019 with the last connection in 2021. Finally, renewable energy has burst into our lives and the entire country stands to stay out of the dark. c MADUNA NGOBENI
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DEVELOPMENT BANK OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
“SUSTAINABILITY ALSO MEANS MAKING SURE THAT THE KEY STAKEHOLDERS, THE LOCAL COMMUNITY, FEEL THAT THEY ARE PART OF THE PROJECTS AS MUCH AS THE ORIGINAL DEVELOPERS.”
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SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH COMMUNITY Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Mpho Mokwele, Head of Project Finance at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, about developing infrastructure through partnerships, community-based change, and fighting poverty. The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is a development finance institution (DFI) seeking to accelerate sustainable social and economic development on a regional and national scale though public-private partnerships (PPPs). Based in Johannesburg since its establishment in 1983, the DBSA advances the economic development of South Africa by expanding access to financial and advisory support and furthering developmental infrastructure. The goals of the DBSA are sustained growth to maximise developmental impact, the creation of integrated infrastructure solutions, and the promotion of financial sustainability and operational independence within the community. To date the DBSA has a committed portfolio of 33 renewable energy projects with a total of approximately 2,541 MW across various renewable technologies, having worked closely with the South African Department of Energy on the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP). “The DBSA is a DFI with a sub-Saharan focus and mandate,” explains Mpho Mokwele, Head of Project Finance at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. “Our primary focus includes transport, energy, water, and social infrastructure, and so
the purpose of the DBSA is, as with other DFIs, how to use programs to target these issues and eradicate poverty by creating employment and economic growth. How we achieve it all is through the funding of key infrastructure in various parts of the continent, and making sure that whatever project we get involved in will be developed thoroughly enough to have the desired impact. While we are self-funded and therefore have to
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DEVELOPMENT BANK OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
be financially sustainable, it is not just about the financial return, but it’s more a balance between the return and making sure there is sufficient economic development in the underlying communities where we are investing our money.” PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS Through their support of renewable resources with the South African Department of Energy, the DBSA has used PPPs to create effective and measurable environmental, economic, and structural change in their region. REIPPP contributed 6,327MW of zero-carbon energy to the electrical 6 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
grid, and has demonstrated that South Africa has viable opportunities for supportive infrastructure projects. “If you want to achieve all that is laid out in the DBSA mandate you have to have both a private sector and a public sector approach,” says Mr. Mokwele. “Because ultimately the government needs to work alongside the private sector to begin to eradicate poverty and unemployment. Neither one can do this on their own. And the DBSA is one of the key funders of local and under-funded municipalities in South Africa, because, unlike the purely commercial banks who may not focus on these under-resourced
municipalities, one of our key mandates is their funding and support.” The DBSA is also involved in purely private sector projects. “For example, we fund private sector companies and shareholders who want to roll out their own energy projects,” says Mr. Mokwele. “Ultimately all of this has to also fit within the DBSA mandate, making sure that there will be job creation and that the project is sustainable. We work a lot with other stakeholders, including the private sector sponsors who own these projects, and commercial banks since we normally co-fund with them. Government depart-
ments may also be involved as well in order to fully realise the project’s objectives and its sustainability.” SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC CHANGE Sustainability is crucial to DBSA’s approach to development finance. “My own work over the past seven years or so has primarily been in renewable energy,” says Mr. Mokwele. “The DBSA was quite instrumental in developing the renewable energy market as far back as 2010, and the REIPPP program was a tri-party arrangement between us,
the Department of Energy, and the National Treasury, through which we created the framework for implementation of renewable energy projects in South Africa.” “Sustainability also means making sure that the key stakeholders and the local community feel that they are part of the projects as much as the original developers,” explains Mr. Mokwele. “In order to make sure that the underlying projects are truly sustainable going forward, it is important that the local community is not ignored and as such they are fully engaged up front.
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DEVELOPMENT BANK OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
THE DBSA VIEWS INFRASTRUCTURE AS AN ENABLER AND IS ULTIMATELY THE KEY TO REDUCING POVERTY.
Our investment in any project can go up to as long up to 18 years, so you have to make sure that all key stakeholders are fully engaged and fully on board. You also have to make sure that whatever framework or structure that you come up with can be replicated, in order to roll out infrastructure in other sectors of the economy. So as an example, we are a water-scarce country and DBSA is trying to replicate the same model used in the REIPPP program in order to create water-based programs to increase accessibility.” MAINTAINING INFRASTRUCTURE The role of the local community in maximising the impact of these projects is 8 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
central to DBSA’s success. “We are taking a pragmatic approach to many different problems,” says Mr. Mokwele. “In terms of sustainability, a single project can have major development impact overall, instead of just focusing on pockets of problems here and there and not getting a complete, clear picture. One of the most exciting parts of that is the local community involvement and the communities taking up ownership in such projects. So the DBSA has developed a financing framework in order to finance those local communities. We have thus supported the creation of local community trusts. These trusts must be governed by a reputable board of trustees, and some of the people who sit on those boards must
be from the local community. These local community trustees are augmented with independent trustees, who have experience in terms of local economic development agendas and issues.” The purpose of setting up these community trusts is to ensure that any cash flow emanating from the projects will be used to develop the communities. “This in turn makes sure that, beyond the life of this renewable energy project, the local communities and any infrastructure within the said community can be sustainable on their own without our project being there,” says Mr. Mokwele. “So the initial cash flow is used to build much-needed infrastructure such as health facilities and schools, in line with
infrastructure is implemented, you then create those links between communities and enable them to freely communicate with others, afford them access to information or to travel,” says Mr. Mokwele. “This means that people feel much more connected to the world in general. When we fund these projects we don’t just look at the immediate project on a standalone basis. We look at what other downstream impacts the project can have”. FUTURE INVESTMENTS “Most definitely there will be slight adjustments in terms of how we want to approach our investments in the region,” says Mr. Mokwele. “We are striving to accelerate infrastructure roll out and increase investments. Over the past couple of years we decided, instead of us waiting for opportunities to come to us, we would help with
developing those opportunities ourselves through our project preparation division, so we are generally being more proactive in terms of our investments. Lastly, in the South African market, we are quite entrenched. The objective is therefore to replicate some of the financing models we have developed and implemented in the rest of the region.” “Obviously there will be tweaks here and there because the environment is slightly different,” explains Mr. Mokwele. “But some of the lessons we have already learned can certainly be replicated. In terms of unlocking infrastructure in the rest of the region, utilizing financing mechanisms such as blended finance, concessional funding, and first-loss facilities to reduce the cost of funding of projects in those markets will ensure projects that would otherwise not be implemented to be unlocked and implemented.” c
community needs assessments undertaken upfront at the project development stage. One key aspect is enterprise development, where aspiring entrepreneurs from the local community are given an opportunity through funding or tutoring to develop their business skills. So beyond providing renewable energy in these communities, this is what the program has managed to do in order to achieve other development goals and objectives. This aspect of the program has been quite exciting.” COMMUNITY INDEPENDENCE The DBSA views infrastructure as an enabler and ultimately the key to reducing poverty. “Once ICT or transport related SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
BUILDING TO CONSERVE Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Noel de Villiers, Mechanical Engineer at Sutherland Engineers, about innovative new solutions to reduce resource consumption, Green Star accreditation, and the importance of multidisciplinary engineers.
Sutherland Engineers is a South African multidisciplinary engineering company. Headquartered in Cape Town, the company was founded by father and son Gordon and Craig Sutherland in 1991. Since 10 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Gordon Sutherland passed away in 1997, under Craig’s leadership, Sutherland Engineers has grown from a small structural engineering firm operating in the Western Cape to having a national presence, with
offices in Johannesburg, Durban, and Tyger Valley. “We’re one of the few companies in South Africa with all ten different building disciplines in our portfolio,” says Noel de
SILO PRECINCT WATERFRONT.
Silo Hotel and Radisson RED Hotel,” says Mr. de Villiers. “These buildings were all completed in 2017. They use a precinct cooling and heating system that serves six buildings including the Radisson RED Hotel. We are actually using seawater as the primary cooling medium (via heat exchangers), because our
GRAIN SILO WATERFRONT.
seawater is particularly cold in summer – it goes down to 12 or 13 Celsius. So we have water-cooled chillers that work extremely efficiently, and which save a lot of electricity. We’re finding up to 50% of the cooling requirements can be met with this so-called ‘free cooling’ obtained by the sea.”
GRAIN SILO WATERFRONT.
SILO PRECINCT WATERFRONT.
Villiers, Mechanical Engineer at Sutherland Engineers. “To apply that, we have well over 100 people in offices all over South Africa, and we also have an office in Nairobi.” SEAWATER COOLING Recently, Sutherland Engineers have been deeply involved with the creation and construction of the Silo District, one of Cape Town’s newest and most vibrant hubs. Located at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, the new development offers residents and visitors a wide range of entertainment and cultural activities. “We’ve been involved in the Grain SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
“WE’RE ONE OF THE FEW COMPANIES IN SOUTH AFRICA WITH ALL TEN DIFFERENT BUILDING DISCIPLINES IN OUR PORTFOLIO.”
90 GRAYSTON JOHANNESBURG.
In the Radisson RED Hotel, this seawater cooling system works alongside the building’s other temperature controls. “The building has a six-pipe system,” says Mr. de Villiers. “That means two pipes for chilled water, two pipes for seawater, and two pipes for heated water into each hotel room. Around
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half of our cooling is done by the seawater. Then the water chillers generate additional cooling and, using a heat recovery system, the rejected heat is used to generate hot water and provide heating where required. That’s been a very interesting, challenging, and satisfying project.”
GREEN STARS The Radisson RED Hotel was the first hotel in South Africa to receive a Green Star rating for its sustainable construction and operational practices. Over the years, Sutherland Engineers have worked on several Green Star-rated buildings. “A project we completed in Johannesburg called 90 Grayston Drive is in fact the first and so far possibly the office building in South Africa with large air cooled ammonia water chillers,” explains Mr. de Villiers. “Ammonia has the benefit of being extremely high-efficiency, while also not contributing to global warming or ozone emissions. 90 Grayston Drive is unusual in that it is the only project we’ve worked on to score full marks on global warming potential (GWP). All the modern refrigerants do well on ozone depletion, but
ROSEBANK TOWERS JOHANNESBURG.
GWP was always very difficult to obtain, and we’re very proud of it. That’s another project that has received a Green Star rating.” Sutherland Engineers also recently completed a project in Johannesburg called Rosebank Towers. “At Rosebank Towers, we implemented an ice storage air conditioning system, reducing operating costs significantly,” says Mr. de Villiers. “Although it’s a partial storage system, we find we can run the chillers night-only during the cooler months of the year, which means for about ROSEBANK TOWERS JOHANNESBURG.
four to five months of the year the chillers don’t run during the day at all. That is another successful project that was awarded the Green Star rating.” WATER SAVERS While energy efficiency is a high priority for engineers in South Africa, water conservation is perhaps even more vital. Following a number of very dry years, awareness of water consumption is at an all-time high, and this is impacting building design. “We’ve done a
ROSEBANK TOWERS JOHANNESBURG.
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SUTHERLAND ENGINEERS ZEITZMOCAA MUSEUM WATERFRONT.
couple of installations with reverse osmosis, which is used to purify, for example, sewage water,” says Mr. de Villiers. “In one project in Cape Town, they circulated treated effluent throughout the whole precinct, which was the size of a city, for use in irrigation.” “Then there was the Estuaries Plaza – now called the Old Mutual Wealth building – where the client wanted a Green Star rating, but the roof was already on, making it very difficult to achieve the rating,” says Mr. de Villiers. “We put our heads together
FNB BANK CAPE TOWN.
to consider what could be achieved on the water side of things and proposed the idea of using treated effluent not only for irrigation but also purifying it to a drinking standard. What we did was a black water system with biodigesters. This means all the waste water from the building itself would go through biodigesters, various stages of pre-filtration, and ultimately through reverse osmosis, purification, et cetera. This would then be put back into the building. So essentially
the building has a closed system, operating off the grid. Last year that building was the first in the country to receive a Net Zero water certification.” KNOWLEDGE-SHARING Through two key programs, Sutherland Engineers are sharing their expertise with the next generation of engineers. “With our Sutherland Draughting and Detailing Academy, we take young school leavers and internally train them to do draughting
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FOLLOWING A NUMBER OF VERY DRY YEARS, AWARENESS OF WATER CONSUMPTION IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH, AND THIS IS IMPACTING BUILDING DESIGN.
CONVENTION CENTRE CAPE TOWN.
and detailing. This could be structural, mechanical, or electrical. They spend a year or two with us and then we give them a certificate when they’ve completed their work. It’s an accredited training course, and it’s something we’ve won some awards for in the past. Then there’s the Go For Gold program. For this, we invest in financially disadvantaged learners from poorer communities. This means they can be provided tutoring in mathematics, science, et cetera. For this, we offer financial support. There are many companies that get involved in the Go For Gold initiative, and it’s something we are very proud to be part of.”
comes challenges. To combat that, we’re not taking every single thing that comes our way. Yet at the same time, we’re rejigging ourselves for the future, whatever the future may hold. This sector is clearly becoming increasingly competitive over time, so we have to keep squeezing more
out of less. That means becoming more multi-disciplinary. We differentiate ourselves from other companies by the fact our engineers are able to talk plumbing and fire and HVAC, regardless of their specialty. We believe multiskilling all our engineers is the key to our future.” c TWP JOHANNESBURG.
MULTISKILLED FUTURE “With the economy in South Africa off the boil a little, we’re going through a consolidation phase,” explains Mr. de Villiers. “We’re still far too busy, but what we’ve also done is start focusing more on the jobs we really want to do. Our mechanical and electrical divisions have grown at a rate of something like 20% per annum over the last ten years, for example. We’ve had tremendous growth. With that SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
ZAMEFA ENSURE THEIR PRODUCT QUALITY STANDS UP TO THE HIGHEST GLOBAL STANDARDS.
Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Gabriel Bracho, Plant Manager at ZAMEFA, about new products, regional expansion, and corporate social responsibility.
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Metal Fabricators of Zambia Plc. (ZAMEFA) is the largest wire and cable manufacturer in Zambia. Founded in 1968 to contribute to industrialization in the newly-independent Republic of Zambia, ZAMEFA was at the time a subsidiary of the Zambia Industrial and Mining Corporation (ZIMCO). In the 1990s, as many state-owned companies in Zambia, ZAMEFA was privatized, Phelps Dodge Corporation acquired 75% of ZAMEFA’s shares. As a result of joining the global marketplace, ZAMEFA began a transformation program, in order to meet global industrial standards. In 1996, they became the first company in Zambia to achieve ISO 9001 certification. ISO 14001 followed in 2004, again making ZAMEFA the first company in the country to achieve this standard. In 2008 the company also achieved OHSAS 18001. These standards are fully integrated into ZAMEFA’s operational and management procedures. Since the 1990s, the company has changed ownership two more times, with current parent, South Africa-based Reunert Ltd through its Mauritius subsidiary Reunert International Investments Ltd, which acquired ZAMEFA in 2016. Today, based in Luanshya, in close proximity to the copper mines, ZAMEFA produce high-quality copper rod, wires, and cables for domestic and international customers, including ZESCO, Zambia’s largest power company. NEW MARKETS Over their fifty years of operations, ZAMEFA have seen many changes, but none in recent times have been bigger than the decision to begin manufacturing new products. “Three
years ago, before Reunert had even begun the process of buying ZAMEFA, we invested around $5 million in our manufacturing equipment,” says Gabriel Bracho, Plant Manager at ZAMEFA. “At the time, this investment was to renew some old equipment and keep everything up-to-date, but it led to even bigger things. Since Reunert took over, we have planned two major projects.” The first of these projects is to begin fabricating medium voltage cables. “Until now, ZAMEFA had only produced low voltage cables, up to 3.3 kilovolts (kV),” says Mr. Bracho. “The idea for this project is to go to medium voltage, up to 33 kV. This is a $3.3 million project. We already have all the preparatory work done. We believe these cables will be available in the next two years.” Currently, Zambia is forced to import medium voltage cables. “It’s the same in neighboring countries,” says Mr. Bracho. “They import products from China and India, and these cables are not the highest quality. This changes all of that. We’re now going to be able to offer high-quality products both to domestic clients and to nearby countries as well, locally manufactured” PRECIOUS METAL ZAMEFA’s factory in Luanshya is right in the heart of Zambia’s Copperbelt. This proximity to the raw material allows ZAMEFA to control every step of the process, to ensure consistency and quality. “We handle everything from copper cathode to the finished product,” says Mr. Bracho. “Even our copper scrap is sold back to the mines to make into new copper. We are fully integrated. In order to produce the highest quality copper rods from this raw material we have SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
borrowed a process from the Finnish company Upcast. This process produces a type of copper called oxygen-free copper, which means the amount of gas trapped in the rod is below 5 parts per million (ppm).” By using internationally-known accreditation systems, ZAMEFA ensure their product quality stands up to the highest
global standards. “Our Quality Management System contains all three ISO/OHSAS standards. We also have an additional layer based on standards from South Africa (SANS) and from Zambia (ZABS)” says Mr. Bracho. “This means we have a specification body from South Africa and another from Zambia, coming to us every six months to
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check that our company is in full compliance with standards. The body takes samples, sends the samples to labs in South Africa for testing, then they produce a report. If the cable is not in compliance with South African standards, they put the certification on hold, meaning we cannot put the SANS mark on the cable, similar to this procedure
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Zambian Bureau of Standard certifies our house wire products. We’re also able to manufacture to European standards (IEC), American standards (ASTM) and British Standards (BS). Our compliance always meets the quality expected in the market, which is why we are recognized as a top-quality brand.”
years, we have planted around 400 trees in the area. We also provide small contributions to the police and hospitals in the area. We are a major employer here in Luanshya. The copper mine and our plant are two of the main sources of work. This is of course an important part of contributing to the economy and people’s livelihoods.”
TREES AND ELEPHANTS In addition to supplying vital cables for electrification efforts in Zambia, ZAMEFA have a number of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. “In the past, we contributed to refurbishing a ward at a local hospital,” says Mr. Bracho. “Then in the last two years, we have also worked with a special charity in Zambia called Epic Elephant. They take orphaned elephants, rear them, then try to put them back into the wild. Every year ZAMEFA contribute with their found raising activities to help their orphan elephant center stay alive.” ZAMEFA also invest in the local environment and community. “We have a very active tree planting program,” says Mr. Bracho. “Every year, for the past three
50 MORE YEARS As ZAMEFA’s product line expands, so too does the local appetite for wire and cables. “We have the capacity for more,” says Mr. Bracho. “Our population is only 14 million, so the market is limited, but with the years, we have thought bigger than that. About 35% of our production serves the local market and the remaining 65% is for export. The mining sector is hugely important for us now and into the future. Zambia is in the top 8 largest copper producers in the world, and we want to continue being an important part of that adding value to Zambia’s main export product. Despite all the ups and downs of the copper industry, ZAMEFA has already been here for 50 years and we want to be here for at least 50 more.” c
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DAVIS & SHIRTLIFF ONE OF 45 INSTALLATIONS OF AQUASENTRY ULTRA-FILTRATION UNITS THAT PROVIDE TREATED DRINKING WATER TO ~6,000 PEOPLE FOR UNILEVER TEA, MUFINDI DISTRICT, IRINGA, TANZANIA.
WATER Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to David Gatende, Group CEO at Davis & Shirtliff, about regional expansion, solar power, and the importance of access to water for African development. The Davis & Shirtliff Group is an East African supplier of water- and energy-related equipment. Founded in Kenya in 1946, Davis & Shirtliff are active in water pumps, boreholes, swimming pools, power products, and water treatment, along with solar generators and other renewable energy technologies. The company has regional subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan, as well as a partnership in Ethiopia. Dedicated to working on global issues such as climate change 22 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
as well as investing in local infrastructure, Davis & Shirtliff use their position as industry leaders to further economic development and improve the accessibility of potable water and renewable energy. Last year, when Sustainable Business Magazine last spoke to Davis & Shirtliff, the company was working on growing their own Dayliff brand of products, as well as further exploring their commitment to solar power and renewable energy. (See Sustainable Business Magazine EMEA Edition issue 02/17 for the full feature.) In 2015 Davis & Shirtliff
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worked with the Kenya Rural Electrification Authority (KEREA) to provide 34 schools across two countries with solar-powered generators, and in 2016 they worked alongside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to install solar-powered water pumps in the refugee camp at Dagahaley in Kenya. In the year since, Davis & Shirtliff have continued to expand, remaining focused on the accessibility of water and furthering the use of solar power. EXPANSION & DYNAMISM Davis & Shirtliff have steadily increased in size and regional reach. “This is a dynamic organization, and we are constantly changing,” says David Gatende, Group CEO at Davis & Shirtliff. “Since we last spoke to Sustainable Business Magazine, we have opened a number of new business units across the region. In Kenya alone, we have new branches in Eastleigh, which is a busy area in Nairobi; Nyeri and Muranga towns near Mount Kenya; Bungoma, towards the west; Mtwapa, not too far from the Indian Ocean; and Marsabit towards the arid North East of the country. We generally open branches virtually at first, then once the business proves itself we find premises and establish ourselves in the area. Outside Kenya, we have opened a new branch in Dodoma, which will be our sixth unit in Tanzania, and a third branch in Rwanda in Gakiriro in downtown Kigali. We also have a new subsidiary based in Lubumbashi, which is in the southernmost part of the DRC. Following the elections in Zimbabwe, we have established a new business and found premises which means we are now present in a total of nine sub-Saharan countries.” Recently, Davis & Shirtliff opened a new core business segment in irrigation. “This dovetails very nicely with our other segments where there is natural synergy, and customers have asked why we didn’t do
this sooner,” says Mr. Gatende. “We have partnered with an American company called Hunter Industries and we will be providing drip irrigation as well as pop up sprinklers, spray guns, and related accessories. We have also gone downstream and introduced very simple irrigation products, for example, the Futurepump, which draws water from a river or lake using a single solar module and is ideal for simple irrigation. We have been focusing on Dayliff too, our own brand, which comprises a very wide range of great quality, affordable, value for money water pumps and related equipment and accessories. Systems-wise, we are rolling out a new Document Management System (DMS) and have re-structured ourselves internally to better serve the more than sixty branches we have across the region.” WATER & ENERGY In addition to their commercial successes, Davis & Shirtliff are known for their commitment to the local communities, economy, and environment. “We are very conscious of global warming,” says Mr. Gatende. “Recently, Cape Town in South Africa was
37KWP SOLAR PUMPING INSTALLATION FOR DANISH REFUGEE COUNCIL AT IMVEPI REFUGEE CAMP IN UGANDA.
reportedly on the verge of running out of water, and across the world we can see the effects of changing weather patterns. Our region has not been spared from the extreme cycles of droughts followed by flooding. The Davis & Shirtliff tagline is ‘Improving peoples’ lives by providing water and energy solutions for Africa’ and that, fundamentally, is what we are about. When it floods, people can use our pumps to remove the excess water, and when it doesn’t rain as expected during the planting season, people can extract water from the ground. Often times, the water one has isn’t of the quality one needs so some treatment is required. In very practical ways, the solutions Davis & Shirtliff provide alleviate some of the effects of global warming and many of the water-related problems that people face in Africa today.” A large number of Davis & Shirtliff’s latest projects have been related to their solar business segment. “We are getting our teeth stuck into several massive projects in Uganda and in Kenya that involve solar-powered borehole pumping,” says Mr. Gatende. “NGOs, national water ministries, and local
NEW DAVIS & SHIRTLIFF UGANDA OFFICE COMPLEX.
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DAVIS & SHIRTLIFF ALUMINUM SOLAR ARRAY STRUCTURES USED IN SOLAR PUMPING PROJECTS FOR DANISH REFUGEE COUNCIL BY DAVIS & SHIRTLIFF UGANDA.
county governments have seen the compelling benefits of using renewable energy and have funded substantial projects to the tune of several million US dollars. Camps have been set up in Northern Uganda for thousands of South Sudanese who have fled civil war, while in Meru, Kenya, the county government has decided to improve the lives of
their constituents by providing solar powered water. A typical project would involve drilling a borehole, using ground-mounted solar modules which power a submersible pump that pumps into an elevated tank from where water flows into a water kiosk and can be drawn by consumers through intelligent water dispensers, all in a neatly fenced off area.
NEW TECHNOLOGY Advances in technology are also allowing Davis & Shirtliff to improve efficiencies. “We recently gave our technicians tablets, which means we can allocate jobs online, improve their productivity, and communicate better with customers,” says Mr. Gatende. “We now have tracking devices on all our compa-
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ny vehicles in order to reduce risk and road accidents and we have also introduced our own remote monitoring technology that we call iDayliff. This involves putting a SIM card into the control panel of a borehole, reverse osmosis plant, or solar installation so that we can manage equipment from many miles away – we have over three hundred such installations around the region. We have developed a freely downloadable phone app called D&S Flo that has our Product Manual, branch contacts, equipment sizing tools, news updates, online shopping, et cetera, and nearly five hundred staff and customers are already using it. Every month, we have a product meeting over lunch led by our Chairman, Alec Davis, where senior customer and product managers discuss new products that need to be introduced. We also consider the feedback from customers, staff and suppliers about product performance and what holes we need to fill in our product offering.” POWER OF THE SUN After their continued success during the last few years, Davis & Shirtliff are looking to continue growing and adapting to an ever-changing business environment that
constantly throws up challenges and opportunities. “We shall continue opening new branches,” says Mr. Gatende. “I think I forgot to mention a new branch I visited over Easter in Chipata, Zambia, near the border with Malawi. It seems like the need for our product offering is insatiable and our business model is perfectly suited to the region. In preparation for the future, we have made an investment to develop a new warehouse distribution center in the outskirts of Nairobi that will propel the company to new heights.” Another project Davis & Shirtliff are particularly proud of is the Sultan Palace, a prestigious vacation resort along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline. “Davis & Shirtliff supplied generators, solar heating, street lighting, and swimming pool and reverse osmosis equipment,” says Mr. Gatende. “We are doing something similar in Goma, DRC with Serena Hotels. Wherever possible we insist on executing projects with quality equipment using the renewable power of the sun.” “I would like to see Davis & Shirtliff tackle big issues that concern the majority of people in our region and provide local leadership in matters to do with global warming, environmental protection, and healthy
living,” says Mr. Gatende. “I’m convinced that there will be increasing pressure from the public that will favour businesses that are concerned about these issues and themselves operate sustainably. So when people talk about reducing wastage of water and energy, reusing instead of always replacing things, and recycling to get more utility, I get really excited because it means we have a very bright future ahead of us.” c
15KW GRID CONNECT SOLAR SYSTEM FOR ST JUDES SCHOOL IN ARUSHA.
WATER SERVICES PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION TRAINING.
SOLAR PUMP TESTING AT MULA PRIMARY SCHOOL, MERU COUNTY, KENYA.
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PAPER FOR THE PEOPLE Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Neer Chandaria, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Chandaria Industries, about turning recycling into a profitable business, investing in the local community, and a major expansion project in Tatu City.
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NEER CHANDARIA, GROUP SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR.
Chandaria Industries Limited is the largest tissue and hygiene products manufacturer in East and Central Africa. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Chandaria Industries is also the largest company within the broader Chandaria Group. The company was founded in Mombasa by Mangalal M. Chandaria in 1947, as a manufacturer of paper drinking straws. By the time they moved to Nairobi, in 1974, Chandaria Industries was manufacturing machine rolls, toilet paper, and teleprinter paper. It was in 1985 that Mr. Chandaria’s son, current Group Managing Director Mahesh Chandaria, struck upon the idea of investing in a paper recycling plant, which would be capable of converting waste paper to tissue and hygiene products. Today, the company is the largest recycler of paper waste in the region, and the only company manufacturing all their tissue and hygiene products in Kenya. Chandaria Industries are also known for their support of the Kenyan economy and collaborations with state agencies, their
state-of-the-art environmental systems, and their many corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. “The Chandaria group is one of the largest family-owned business groups in East and Central Africa,” explains Neer Chandaria, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Chandaria Industries. “We have a large and diversified operation that is spread across tissue paper and hygiene product manufacturing, real estate, venture capital, insurance, banking, automobile manufacturing, mining, flexible packaging, and solar energy generation. We are spread across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, India, and Dubai. But Chandaria Industries is the group’s focus, and is also the largest tissue paper and hygiene products manufacturer in our region in terms of capacity and turnover. We have a portfolio of close to 470 products at Chandaria Industries, and currently we manufacture most of them locally, basically catering for every level of affluence in the Kenyan market.”
DARSHAN CHANDARIA, GROUP CEO & DIRECTOR.
MAHESH CHANDARIA, GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR.
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CHANDARIA INDUSTRIES ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP Chandaria Industries’ flagship sustainability initiative is their paper waste recycling program. “This program has been part of our operations for over fifty years,” says Mr. Chandaria. “We have our own collection points and currently employ directly more than a thousand people on site, but we are also employing around 30,000 Kenyans indirectly who are proudly associated with our paper waste collection operations. We are the largest paper recyclers in East and Central Africa. Through this program, we believe we have saved over 22 million trees over the course of the last 31 years, and we expect to save another 7 million over the next 5 years.” Recycling paper isn’t the only way in which Chandaria are making a difference. “The use of plastic carrier bags, industrial packaging, and similar packaging material has all now been banned within the country,” explains Mr. Chandaria. “We have partnered with a government agency called the National Environment Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA), and we are collecting plastic waste and sending it out to authorized and credible recycling plants. In the long term, this will heavily reduce the amount of plastic just floating around the environment. We were chosen for this partnership based on both our history of proactive recycling policy and our distribution network. Since we directly supply to our customers and therefore have our own fleet of vehicles, once a delivery is made we can use the empty trucks to transport the collected waste plastic out to the plants.” COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY Chandaria Industries also contributes to Kenyan national development through their
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CSR programmes and charitable donations. “The directors have allocated a percentage of our annual turnover to participate in a variety of programs and activities,” says Mr. Chandaria. “We have actually partnered with WASH United in the East African region for World Menstrual Hygiene Day, specifically with regard to the sanitary products that we produce in the region. Another key partnership is with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to effect change in Kenyan refugee camps. There is a camp in Garissa and another in Kakuma which we will most likely be visiting and supporting with our hygiene products, as well as sponsoring houses and tents.”
“Another one of our major CSR projects is the school directly opposite our factory,” explains Mr. Chandaria. “The MM Chandaria Primary School is actually named after my grandfather, who took care of the school when it first started up. We have given a lot of the students there the opportunity to work for us after they have finished with secondary school and college. As a business we are supporting about thirty-five educational, medical, and general institutions across the country, unrelated to our business and location, simply as a CSR scheme to financially support specific worthwhile institutions. There is a social development element in all of our business dealings and we look
to support a culture of social responsibility and economic growth.” REGIONAL FOCUS As a deeply-embedded part of the Kenyan economic landscape, Chandaria Industries have developed various products tailored to the needs of the local market. “There are certain products that have been specially designed for the African market,” says Mr. Chandaria. “In particular, we have a toilet tissue brand called Dawn Pekee that we have created for our local customers.” With the tagline ‘For Every Kenyan, Every Day!’, Dawn Pekee is made from 100% recycled paper, and is Chandaria Industries’ biggest selling single product. As a highly affordable product, Dawn Pekee is responsible for bringing toilet tissue to millions of Kenyans for whom hygiene products were previously a luxury. “We are the only company creating a product like this, that is fully functional as well as being a substantially lower price than our competitors’ products, in order to make it accessible for people,” explains Mr. Chandaria. “We have set the bar high for continuous innovation, investing in the latest technology the market has to offer, which allows us the space to create new products all the time and tailor them specifically to the African market.” TECHNOLOGY AND GROWTH Embracing cutting-edge technology has also allowed Chandaria Industries to rapidly grow their operations and expand into previously unexplored markets. “We have an extremely large project that we’re working on at the moment,” says Mr. Chandaria. “We have purchased new, superior paper manufacturing machinery, which means the output will be about three times as large. We have had to acquire 30 acres of land at Tatu City just to accommodate the new machinery, since as soon as you bulk up one area all of the
other areas need to increase to match. With this increase in output the total warehouse space needs to grow and the workforce needs to increase. Everything has a chain reaction, and the overall space required by the business is much bigger now. This expansion is a response to increased demand for our products, and also because of existing untapped markets that we intend to cater for. We export to about fourteen different countries, but we couldn’t service our existing local customer base and the foreign market without improving our efficiency and increasing our output, which this machinery will allow us to do.” “Our Tatu City project is a five-to-sevenyear plan, investing in the new machinery as well as beefing up capacity, our team, and building a new head office,” says Mr. Chan-
daria. “Diversifying the business in a way which plays to our strengths has been a big step for us historically, for example setting up a business called Chandaria Properties to deal with our real estate investments. One of our main agendas with Chandaria Properties is coming up with cost-effective housing, so as to enable people to live in as secure and hygienic a home as possible but at a very accessible price. Another sector we have set up in is investment, which is dealt with by Chandaria Capital. We like to enable and promote the youth within the country, and back entrepreneurs who don’t have the financial capabilities or experience to start business without some support. We will continue to expand and grow as a business, and offer support to the local community as we do so.” c
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REGIONAL REPORT: INSEE
INSEE HAS COMPLETELY EMBEDDED SUSTAINABILITY IN THEIR BUSINESS STRATEGY TO HAVE EFFICIENT OPERATIONS AND CREATE NEW ENVIRONMENTALLY-RESPONSIBLE POLICIES.
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CEMENT Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Bao Nguyen, Sustainability & Communication Director at INSEE Vietnam, about recycling waste, reducing environmental impact, and improving the community livelihood.
INSEE is a leading Vietnamese cement manufacturer, noteworthy both for its size and its success at implementing strategic sustainability approaches. INSEE was established in 1994 and is a subsidiary of the Siam City Cement Group, one of the largest manufacturer of construction materials in Southeast Asia. INSEE Vietnam currently has more than 1100 employees across 5 different production sites, and strives to contribute to national growth and the surrounding communities, as well as playing an active role in the sustainability of the cement industry. EMISSIONS REDUCTION The modern world is largely built on cement. More than brick, stone, wood, or steel, cement is the material which underpins our buildings and our transportation infrastructure. Globally, the only substance consumed in greater quantities than cement by human activities is water. But cement manufacturing is also highly energy intensive, and the chemical process involved in cement and concrete production releases large quanti-
ties of carbon dioxide. The cement industry alone produces around 5-6% of global CO2 emissions. Consequently, reducing the environmental impact of this indispensable building material is an essential part of combating overall climate emissions. Responsible cement manufacturers are increasingly playing a vital role in global action against climate change, and INSEE is one of the sustainability pioneers. Over the past decade INSEE has established a full-fledged sustainability department to assess their operations and create new environmentally-responsible policies. “The creation of the department was mainly to consolidate what we were already doing,” says Bao Nguyen, Sustainability & Communication Director at INSEE. “We found it necessary to create this department in order to have one direction for the whole business strategy, to have one unique voice. We established the department in 2008, a year after the formation of our Ecocycle business unit, which provide waste management solutions for the industry and the SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
REGIONAL REPORT: INSEE is a competition named INSEE Prize for Sustainable Construction where students give ideas and one of the best ideas is picked, then we support the student to implement it in reality. Another stakeholder is the community around our operations. Our main focus is in terms of improving livelihood, furthering structural development, and creating an environmental awareness program.”
country, using state-of-the-art co-processing technology in our manufacturing processes. The primary idea is to process the waste to generate the thermal energy we need for clinker production, so that instead of using natural resources like coal, we are integrating literal waste into that process and are able to reduce our carbon footprint while contributing to the society by reducing waste landfilling.” The company also implement a program called INSEE Green, or green manufacturing. “We have invested in the waste heat recovery plant,” says Mr. Nguyen. “You need electricity for cement production, and the kiln used also loses heat to the outside. The idea is to take this lost heat to produce electrical energy, so we simultaneously reduce our CO2 emissions and power the process. In terms of the social aspect, we relieve all our electrical needs from the national grid, and also generate 25% of the needs of the plant in terms of electricity consumption. This combining of economic growth, environmental performance, and social responsibility is what INSEE is interested in.”
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BUILDING TOGETHER An essential part of any large company is employee investment. With their employees, INSEE combine ideas about further education and training with their environmental concerns. “This year we have launched an initiative that we call Building Together,” says Mr. Nguyen. “The idea is, for all the parts of the business strategy, we want to go through and define some key overall systematic development targets. Our first stakeholder is our own employees, so we invest a lot in terms of people development in terms of training, coaching, leadership programs, trainee programs, and in terms of safety. Our aim is to have a zero-harm working environment not only for our employees but for all visitors, contractors into our plant.” Another human resource prioritised by INSEE is the student population. “We have a program where we work with different key universities,” says Mr. Nguyen. “So we have different frameworks and partnership agreements with different universities to support the INSEE Campus program. We provide working internships, and one aspect
WORKING FOR THE COMMUNITY For INSEE, combining economic benefits with environmental and human concerns is crucial. “With our contribution to the society, we now recycle the waste,” says Mr. Nguyen. “It helps public safety and environmental footprint by reducing natural resources consumption, efficient production. We are also able to recycle by-products into construction materials, for example using industrial waste like the slag from the steel industry or the fly ash from the coal power plant. So we can recycle this waste, integrate it into our product, and recycle all this waste into construction materials without compromising the quality or even increase its performance. One of the CSR initiatives we have done the past years is the Slurry Project. When trucks come back to the plant, they can still have some concrete into the truck and when you wash it you have waste called slurry. We are working with the local authorities to find which streets need to be improved and we are using the waste slurry to replace the sand or soil. Then on top of the slurry you can use concrete to make a nice road. It’s a good example of sustainable development. It’s socially responsible, economical, and environmentally sound.” SUSTAINABILITY & RECOGNITION INSEE continues to prioritise cooperative interaction between different priorities so that they may benefit one another, especially within their new Building Together initiative. “For all the different parts of the business strategy, we want to go through and define some key systematic development targets,” says Mr. Nguyen. “One of
the projects is the Green Label. We are very proud to be one of the first producers of green cement and concrete solutions in Vietnam. This product contributes not only to the sustainable construction of factories and high-rises, but can apply for Green Building certification such as LEED, LOTUS or GREEN MARK.” Between the use of waste within Ecocycle, waste reduction by INSEE Green, and the emphasis on humans and the community through the Building Together initiative, INSEE’s approach to sustainability concerns
has been acknowledged by the business world at large. “All these activities have been very well recognised by the other private sectors, but as well by the government and academic institutions,” says Mr. Nguyen. “INSEE has been elected Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development the third time in a row. We are also the Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Green Building Council, as well as Vice Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce Green Growth Sector Committee, which is the commit-
tee indicating sustainable development initiatives. We’ve been awarded in 2017 as well in the Top 100 Sustainable Business in Vietnam by VCCI (Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry), Green Company of the year by the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Award, and finally Best Constructor & Building Material supplier. The next step is the Sustainable Development Goals. INSEE will begin to orientate its activities towards addressing some of the SDGs, and to define some clear targets we want to achieve by 2020 and 2030.” c
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ARGENT ENERGY ARGENT ENERGY IS THE UK’S LEADING PROVIDER OF RENEWABLE TRANSPORT FUEL.
Written by Steven Lindley and Lee Knight of Argent Energy.
Controlling the Quality of Biofuels with Gas Chromatography Argent Energy is the UK’s leading supplier of biodiesel, taking waste fats – such as used cooking oils, tallow, and sewer grease – and turning them into high quality biofuel for the freight and transport industries. Despite the huge inherent variability in the starting materials, the company must reliably and consistently meet strict quality standards relating to the ester and glyceride content of the biofuels it produces. The company’s laboratory in Stanlow relies on a trio of gas chromatographs from Shimadzu to analyze its biodiesel, the latest addition being a Nexis GC-2030 that was installed to increase testing capacity and optimize production methods. If you’ve travelled on a London bus recently, your journey may just have been fueled by Argent Energy biodiesel, perhaps even refined from the city’s own infamous fatberg, a monstrous blockage that was removed and some of it sent to the company for processing. Argent Energy is the UK’s leading provider of renewable transport fuel, supplying biodiesel to the commercial freight and passenger transport industries. The company produces biodiesel at sites in Motherwell in 34 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Scotland and Stanlow in England by refining waste oil streams from plants, factories, and the food and restaurant industries. FROM FATBERG TO FUEL To get from, for example, fatberg to fuel, Argent Energy must undertake several rounds of laboratory testing – screening of raw materials arriving at the refineries, in-process testing and analysis of the end product – all overseen by scientists working in Stanlow’s production, QC, and R&D laboratories. While the production lab typically uses basic titration methods to monitor the raw starting materials, both the QC and R&D labs depend heavily on gas chromatography (GC) for process optimization and end product testing to ensure that the legal maximum allowable amount of total glycerides in biodiesel – 0.2 % – is not exceeded. Steve Lindley, QC Laboratory Manager at Stanlow, explained: “During the refinery process, we need to convert all the glycerides into an end product that is close to 100 % esters. To ensure that we
We were one of the first companies in the UK to take delivery of a Nexis GC-2030 and we’re experimenting with how we will use the system in the long term. QC LABORATORY MANAGER STEVE LINDLEY USES THE NEXIS GC-2030 TO SCREEN FOR TRACE AMOUNTS OF GLYCERIDES AND TO DETERMINE THE ESTER CONTENT OF THE BIOFUEL.
have achieved this, we use GC to screen for trace amounts of any remaining glycerides and to determine the ester content of the biofuel. We are looking for really low levels of triglycerides, and the Shimadzu instruments are great for this type of work, not least because they support a temperature program of between 270 and 400 °C – a real challenge of glyceride screening that not many GCs can handle.”
work to identify suitable starting configurations and set-ups, and will always speak to us on the phone, via email, or even drop in to the lab. The Nexis is Shimadzu’s latest GC system, offering even better detection capability and greater sensitivity for our work. Having a third GC will relieve the burden on the other instruments and allow us to separate trace and high concentration analyses.”
LEAVE NO TRACE Although until recently the QC and research labs at Stanlow have shared two Shimadzu GC-2010 instruments, they have very different analytical needs, which have presented some operational hurdles. Where the QC lab performs trace analysis, the research lab’s main remit is method development and process design, involving regular handling of samples of vastly differing composition to those of the QC team, and there was a clear need to separate the workflows. Lee Knight, Process Development Chemist in the R&D lab, explained: “The composition of the feedstocks we receive varies tremendously. We never get the same raw material twice, and so we have to work on a case-by-case basis and vary our processes accordingly. Today’s raw materials vary widely in glyceride content and composition. We now need to look for anything between 10 and 70% triglyceride in our mid-process samples – it really can be that high. This was overloading the columns we had, and detection wasn’t optimal.” Steve added: “Combining trace and high concentration analyses on the same instrument presents a challenge for the QC lab. With the glycerides, we’re looking at very, very low levels. If we then put samples with a high concentration of analyte through the same system, it can contaminate the column and yield weird results. There was a real need to separate the two types of testing, and so we got in touch with Shimadzu to see what solutions the company could offer.”
AN EARLY ADOPTER The Nexis GC-2030 is still a relatively new addition to the Argent Energy lab bench, having been installed just a few months ago, and the company is exploring its capabilities for existing and potential applications. Steve commented: “We were one of the first companies in the UK to take delivery of a Nexis GC-2030 and we’re experimenting with how we will use the system in the long term. At the moment, we’re running two different columns to see which one gives us the best results; it may be that we find one type is best for samples with high analyte concentrations and another for low concentrations.”
EXPANSION TO NEXIS GC-2030 Shimadzu’s GC application specialists evaluated several potential solutions for Argent Energy before recommending the recently launched Nexis GC-2030 dual column instrument with FID detectors. For convenience and ease of use, the system includes two autosamplers – one for each column – enabling overnight analysis of non-urgent samples with instantly-accessible results ready and waiting in the morning. Lee observed: “Column installation is much easier with Shimadzu’s ClickTek connectors than conventional screw thread fittings, and the inclusion of a light inside the oven means that you can actually see what you are doing. The system’s touchscreen operation is straightforward, and so users, whether they are new to GC or already familiar with Shimadzu software, can learn how to use the instrument with little more than a day’s training.” Steve said: “The support we receive from Shimadzu is quite hands-on; its technical specialists did a lot of behind-the-scenes
FUTURE PLANS Moving forward, the plan is to continue to perform trace glyceride and ester content analysis on the two GC-2010s and use the Nexis to support in-process testing, method development, and process development to optimize the plant operating conditions. “We’re now looking at the next stepping stones in method and process development, which is where the main gains are at present, for example, to understand how the processing method can be refined to save on reagent costs, increase throughput, and improve quality and consistency, moving towards a better, more effective steady state. It’s a work in progress, but if we can perform fewer manipulations of the in-process samples, we would benefit from even greater reliability of our results. To support all that, we need to perform more detailed in-process and feedstock analysis, which is where the Nexis GC-2030 will be a big advantage, helping us to achieve our objectives,” Lee concluded. c WASTE OIL STREAMS FROM PLANTS, FACTORIES, AND THE FOOD AND RESTAURANT INDUSTRIES ARE REFINED AT SITES IN MOTHERWELL IN SCOTLAND AND STANLOW IN ENGLAND TO PRODUCE BIODIESEL.
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Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2018 Dubai - UAE www.smartcitiesdubai.com
AFCS Dubai is UAE’s leading smart city event. Over 400 senior executives, from municipalities & government, developers, technology and sustainability experts, designers, and architects attend each year.
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