Sustainable Business Magazine Issue 111

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SUSTAINING TOMORROW. TODAY SUSTAINING TOMORROW. TODAY SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE ALSO FEATURED THIS ISSUE SDC WATCHES TMR SERVICE ETHICAL BEDDING ST KITTS & NEVIS UPL LTD SEGEN SOLAR CERO GENERATIONS • SERVICE POWER • CONVERGE PLUS MUCH MORE #111 SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE | 1

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2 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE Bursaries for 2023 entry • CISL Sustainability Leadership Access Bursary • Chanel Sustainability Leadership Bursary • Delphis Eco Sustainability Leadership Bursary Applications for 2023 entry close soon visit www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/masters Apply by 31 January 2023
Sustainability

Welcome to the latest edition of Sustainable Business Magazine.

As we enter the final months of 2022, we welcome you to our latest

Sustainable Business Magazine. With the growing importance of the green agenda in the world of work, continuing to push itself even further into the forefront this year - sustainability is still very much dominating the headlines.

At a time when global leaders are gathered at COP27, we feel our job is to report on the smaller individual actions that are also taking place in companies’ day to day. As the macro ways to tackle the huge green crisis that threatens us all, is debated in Sharm el-Sheikh, our approach here is to bring you the no less important micro stories - we are here to shine a light on the fantastic initiatives companies are committing to around the world, to make their companies greener.

A fantastic example of this is Segen Solar. who alongside their network of suppliers are making great progress on their green initiatives through innovative training programmes and product development in South Africa.

In this edition, alongside sharing these business stories, we also hear from leading figures on the issues facing business today - such as Claudia Cavalluzzo an Executive Director from Converge and James Higgins, the founder of Ethical Bedding.

As always we hope you find this edition an informative snapshot of how we can make the world of business more sustainable, working towards a greener future for all.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE CONTENTS sustainablebusinessmagazine.net 04 MARTA MARTINEZ QUEIMADELO Cero Generation 06 CLAUDIA CAVALLUZZO Genuine Net Zero Impact at Speed 12 BRAD HAWKINS Sustainable Service 14 JAMES HIGGINS Purpose Over Profit 18 SEGEN SOLAR Powering the Industry 28 TMR SERVICE Cool and Electrifying 32 UPL LTD Farming for the Future 40 SDC WATCHES Diving into Luxury 48 TRAVEL GUIDE St Kitts & Nevis SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE 61 Bridge Street, Kington HR5 3DJ UK T: +44 (0) 208 762 068 Email: info@sustainablebusinessmagazine.net
edition of
The Sustainable Business Magazine Team
40 18 14 12 32 SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE GUEST WRITERS: Marta Martinez Queimadelo CEO of Cero Claudia Cavalluzzo Executive Director Converge Brad Hawkins ServicePower Chief Solutions Officer James Higgins Founder Ethical Bedding Purpose SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE | 3

CERO GENERATION

LAUNCHES LANDMARK SOLAR PROJECT IN GREECE

Cero Generation, a leading solar energy developer working across Europe, has celebrated the launch of a 100 MW solar PV project in Greece, with an event at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens.

The project, known as Delfini, marks an important step for Greece’s green energy transition and the next phase of renewables for the country. Located in Prosotsani

Drama, it is one of the largest solar projects of its kind and one of the first in the country with a private Power Purchase Agreement, which means it will receive subsidy-free revenue certainty and offer final consumers immediate access to cheaper, clean energy.

Senior Greek government officials, including the Minister of Energy and Environment and the Minister of Development &

Arthur Spyrou (Australian ambassador to Greece) and Konstantinos Zygouras (CEO of Sunel)
MARTA MARTINEZ QUEIMADELO 4 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Marta Martinez Queimadelos, CEO of Cero, speaking at the Project Delfini launch event

Investment, gathered alongside key industry figures, such as Christos Megalou, CEO of Piraeus Bank, and Domenico De Luca, CEO of Axpo Solutions, to mark the project launch. Bringing together the public and private sectors, the event recognised the vast impact that this first-of-its kind project will have on consumers, businesses, and the environment.

At a time of huge change for the global energy sector, the urgency of the energy transition has been brought into sharp focus. Delfini will accelerate progress towards Greece’s goals of reaching a 70% renewables share in locally consumed power by 2030 and ambitious 2050 net-zero targets. Once constructed, it will result in the avoidance of 86,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and produce electricity for 15,000 households.

Greece, like many other European countries, is currently wrestling with sharp rises in energy bills driven by sky-rocketing gas prices. The Delfini project will crucially deliver cheaper energy into the grid and bring down costs for consumers. The project is a prime example of how Greece is determined to get ahead of the curve and set the stage for a future where all energy needs will be covered by electricity from renewable sources.

The project, which reached financial close in August, marks a significant milestone for Cero as the company is expanding its footprint in Greece and advancing its plans to become Europe’s leading solar development company. Despite only being in the Greek market for a year, Cero’s Greek development pipeline is already sizeable, with extensive further growth planned.

CEO of Cero, Marta Martinez Queimadelos, shared a few words on the upcoming project and success in getting it off the ground.

“We are delighted to have been joined by the Greek Ministers of Energy and Environment, and Development and Investment to celebrate this landmark project. Against the backdrop of an ongoing energy crisis, we’re helping to deliver cheaper, cleaner power across the country and supporting the government’s ambitious transition goals. This project is an important step in the expansion of Cero’s Greek portfolio and one of many market-leading projects in our pipeline.” c

Cero Generation is a leading

energy company, working across Europe to

the transition to a net-zero future, for this and every generation.

Active throughout the project lifecycle, from development through to construction and operations, its highly experienced team collaborates with local partners to bring worldclass industrial, commercial and technical expertise to our projects.

Cero’s 9 GW solar development portfolio is one of the largest in Europe, covering both utility-scale and on-site generation projects, as well as integrated energy storage solutions. Dedicated to delivering high-quality, high-performing assets, Cero provides corporate and industrial clients with the solutions to accelerate their pathway to a net-zero future.

Cero is an independent portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) operating on a stand-alone basis.

Media enquiries contact: cero@standagency.com • www.cerogeneration.com

solar support Event to celebrate Cero’s Project Delfini at Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens, 13th July 2022
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Pictured above (from left to right): Domenico De Luca (CEO of Axpo Solutions), Marta Martinez Queimadelos (CEO of Cero), Britta MacIntosh (Senior VP of Ameresco, London), Christos Megalou (CEO of Piraeus Bank), and Konstantinos Zygouras (CEO of Sunel).

GENUINE NET ZERO IMPACT AT SPEED

The growing mantra for Scotland’s new generation of spinouts and startups.

One of the great joys of what I do is working shoulder-to-shoulder with talented, aspirational and ambitious entrepreneurs in a hurry to make their dreams become commercial reality. It really provides daily inspiration to me and the Converge team.

But those who participate in our programme certainly aren’t seeking instant success, nor success that can cost the planet.

Over the past four years, something I have noted is a striking shift in the direction of business concepts by many of those aspiring academic entrepreneurs.

I have seen a tracked change toward an ever-growing common desire to make a positive difference on the Net Zero agenda and sustainability. In fact, those principles are now so firmly entrenched in the psyche of entrepreneurs, it’s an exception not to find some element of their plans focused

squarely on climate, or finding the most commercially sound ways of reducing the damage to it. In many ways, this should not come as a surprise.

By 2030 the Scottish Government aims to generate half the country’s overall energy consumption from renewable sources, and by 2045, to have decarbonised the energy system completely. Currently, however, around 85% of Scottish households still rely on fossil fuels to keep warm.

Scotland has recently soared into the international offshore wind big league thanks to its huge-scale ScotWind leasing tender, along with moves to help its oil and gas industry manage its own energy transition.

But we cannot simply wait until the likes of the ScotWind projects kick-in towards the end of the decade, to see enough meaningful action taken. We are

CLAUDIA CAVALLUZZO 6 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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now quite literally in a do-or-die rush to hit our climate change goals.

Even as late as 2018, only a trickle of applications to our programme featured environmentally-focused new business ideas.

A decade ago, many students and researchers could quite rightly have been accused of too much ‘spray and pray’ when it came to new business ideas. Nowadays, the dominant principle is ‘target and tailor’, with Net Zero foremost in the minds of almost 30% of the total number of prospects we manage annually.

Reflecting the growing urgency to create a more reliable research-based flow of market-ready technologies, last year we launched a standalone ‘Net Zero’ one-off prize, sponsored by UK energy giant SSE. This year we added our first dedicated ‘Net Zero Challenge’ category, to springboard the projects which offer the most promise in addressing the climate crisis.

The convergence of recent economic dark clouds such as the pandemic, rising living costs, and severe weather events have intensified demand to deliver genuine, green solutions for business, society, and the planet.

The good news for investors is ‘profit’ is no longer a dirty word - it’s being knitted into the fabric of what genuinely constitutes making the right kind of ‘impact’.

The bad news, of course, is the era of cheap money most likely over, making the need for targeted, efficient green investment all the more complicated, and time pressured.

In Scotland, as illustrated by ScotWind, we have a fantastic opportunity to be a world leader in fostering growth in a green economy. It will depend on far greater collaboration between government and the key sectors - such as transport, energy, and waste, and of course research - to work.

A well-guided pipeline of commercially viable, green business ideas, supported by years of research and talented individuals, must be at its heart. But without more money, any national green industrial revolution is still a pipedream.

Business, academia, and society must come together behind the most innovative solutions, to ensure they reach their full potential, at pace and with scale.

Spinouts and startups – whose innovation and agility are so often just too good an advantage to ignore - can make an instant and visible difference.

A look at some recent numbers confirms how the change in our own mix of entrants is being mirrored globally.

CLAUDIA CAVALLUZZO 8 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

When given a choice, for instance, The Global Sustainability Study 2021 - conducted among more than 10,000 people across 17 countries by strategy consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partnersrevealed a third of millennial consumers would choose a sustainable option over a non-sustainable one, while half of companies said sustainability has an impact on their recruiting and retention.

Investors are starting to understand the shift. Paying attention to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues has become increasingly critical across all industries, according to a latest McKinsey Global Survey, which showed a resounding 83% of executives and investment professionals believe ESG programs will generate more shareholder value in five years’ time than they do today.

We have had our own fantastic Net Zero-focused successes over the years.

Kenoteq, for instance, is the inventor of a brick made from more than 90% construction waste material and a spin-out from Heriot-Watt University set up in 2019 after more than a decade of research into sustainable building materials and practices.

This year it is the only Scottish firm, and one of just 15 companies shortlisted for a 2022 Dezeen Sustainability Award, which attracted more than 5,400 entries from 90 countries.

Another name to watch is SolarisKit, again spun out from Heriot-Watt University, with the world’s first flat-packable, solar thermal collector which converts sunlight directly into hot water to meet the needs of most homes and businesses, while reducing energy costs by up to 70%.

It recently joined the new accelerator programme at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) in Dundee as it begins to roll out an ambitious programme

to provide affordable clean energy to the world’s most challenging environments in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, Central America, and SE Asia.

WaterWhelm, a company founded by Edinburgh University researcher Ali Abbassi Monjezi,has found a way to use lowgrade thermal energy to make almost any type of water drinkable. This could help the one in three people without proper access to clean and regularly available water for drinking and sanitation.

Some companies are making urgent moves to transition towards Net Zero, but raising money to accelerate to the pace needed, remains difficult. It is therefore paramount that more hard cash is poured in to help new businesses translate their brilliant academic evidence into practical, profitable, earth-changing solutions.

In recent weeks, UK business founder groups have warned access to funding is

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ACCORDING TO THE OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS, STILL ONLY 23% OF UK FIRMS WITH 250-PLUS EMPLOYEES HAVE A CLIMATE-CHANGE STRATEGY IN PLACE.

drying up, as potential investors become more risk-averse with the escalating cost of living crisis, driven by the highest rate of inflation for 40 years.

There have even been warnings of a ‘lost generation’ of startups, as soaring gas and electricity prices begin to hammer firms of all sizes.

There has always been fantastic sustainability research going on at Scottish universities, but perhaps not sufficient effort in creating enterprises and then funding them.

The stage at which the enterprise element is introduced, must be earlier and stronger. We need great ideas from our universities to get to the masses and expand quicker. These types of ideas are not as niche as they once were. But more big backers should understand, nowadays it is likely smaller firms hold the keys to the greenest solutions.

According to the Office for National Statistics, still only 23% of UK firms with

250-plus employees have a climate-change strategy in place. I argue strongly, UK investors would do very well to focus more of their attention on nurturing the brightest ideas, from their very beginnings – and their source is most often, our universities.

British consumers are increasingly looking to companies to embody society’s own changing values.

More urgent work needs done to ensure organisations automatically realise - as spinouts and startups appear to appreciate already, including those we work with at Converge - becoming more sustainable just makes better business sense. c

Claudia Cavalluzzo is Executive Director of Converge, a programme and network that brings together Scottish academic entrepreneurs to equip them to start and grow their own businesses.

www.clarkcommunications.co.uk

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SUSTAINABLE

Environmentally conscious and sustainable public habits, legislative policy and business practices are at the forefront of societal concern and discussion. It is important for organizations to have a clear understanding of their operational impact on the environment and the developing technology that could transform work to make it more eco-friendly. According to IDC, 40% of field service organizations cite sustainability as a top priority. Here are a few ways in which

field service management (FSM) technology can streamline business practices and reduce environmental impact.

REDUCE PAPER AND ADMINISTRATIVE WASTE

Although paper reduction and recycling have been a staple of sustainable business practices for quite some time, it is important to note that many companies still rely on traditional paper-based and manual

SERVICE: How to lower your business’ carbon footprint in the field.
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approaches to field service management. While unnecessary paper consumption is damaging to the environment, these manual methods are also time-consuming, tedious and prone to human errors. The digitization of traditional paperwork and administrative tasks through digital field service management tools can help service organizations become more efficient as they work toward their sustainability goals.

Field service management software converts paper forms to digital files that eliminates the challenge of managing the constant influx of paperwork. Technicians no longer need to complete physical work orders or phone busy call centers to convey customer details – all service records, time and expense reports and customer information is accessible on a mobile field service application that they can use anywhere out in the field. FSM software eradicates the need for mass paper consumption in field service and can streamline operations by allowing technicians to complete inspection checklists, work quotes and job assessments, all from one digital device.

LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE

Many of today’s consumer appliances have smart capabilities and are integrated with Internet of Things (IoT) technology. When these smart appliances and devices are configured correctly, they offer customers new levels of use and provide manufacturers and field service organizations the opportunity to remotely collect data on the status of the system. This information can help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) share courtesy alerts via FSM software and home assistants about preventative maintenance and preemptively schedule service visits to ensure appliances are consistently operational. These capabilities can significantly reduce unnecessary energy consumption from faulty or ill-functioning equipment.

The added intelligence of smart appliances and integrated service systems heightens the customer’s experience both with their appliance or system and with the service company as well. According to Forbes, 88% of consumers will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues. By reviewing the system and client information gathered from FSM software and smart appliances, technicians can get ahead of any environmentally hazardous failures or recommend new equipment or upgrades that are more sustainable and ENERGY STAR compliant, thereby building trust with

the customer and solidifying a strategy for retention while meeting eco-friendly business objectives.

AUTOMATE AND OPTIMIZE TECHNICIAN TRAVEL

Field service is a mobile business. The bread and butter of a successful organization is its ability to assess and address work requests across a broad geographic range – ideally on the first visit. However, mobility comes at a high cost, considering national fuel prices are at a record high. When discussing sustainability in field service, proper schedule execution is essential to mitigating fuel waste caused by additional or unfruitful service visits. Artificial Intelligence (AI)based schedule optimization is helping service organizations consider demand changes, weather, traffic, travel time, location and skill set of its technicians and its fleet when assigning jobs. Overall, the consumption of fuel, resources, and time has a massive impact on the environment as well as a field service organization’s revenue.

AI-powered field service management software is also helping business automate tasks for higher efficiency and ensures that field techs have all the correct customer information and the right parts for a service appointment. By increasing visibility and control on the supply chain through FSM, technicians can be sure of their truck’s inventory and that they have the proper parts to complete the job. Wasted field service trips in fleet trucks and cars are costly, resulting in extra fuel consumption, increased carbon emissions, lost productivity, and reduced customer satisfaction. FSM calculates the information on the tools, customer history, and details necessary to complete each job and can automatically assign the work request to the technician closest or best equipped. The insight FSM offers technicians and operators can help improve first-time fix rates for all service jobs, which can not only reduce a company’s carbon footprint by eliminating the need for repeat service calls but can increase customer loyalty and brand recognition.

For field service organizations, digital transformation is the key to overcoming antiquated business methods that can still negatively affect the environment. Field service management is one way in which service organizations can connect their employees, customers and providers and eliminate redundancies that drive up waste and fuel costs – helping elevate the entire industry to new levels of sustainability. c

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brad Hawkins is Senior Vice President of Products and Solutions at ServicePower and oversees product management and pre-sales engineering across North America and Europe. A long-time veteran in the world of field service technology, Brad brings more than 20 years of experience in workforce management software.

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ACCORDING TO FORBES, 88% OF CONSUMERS WILL BE MORE LOYAL TO A COMPANY THAT SUPPORTS SOCIAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES.
JAMES HIGGINS 14 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

PURPOSE OVER PROFIT

In many ways, the pandemic has been a catalyst for cementing consumer power. People are more informed than ever, and are carefully examining the social good and corporate responsibility of the companies they spend their money with. A study from Accenture found, for example, that 50% of respondents would be more inclined to support a business if it stood for societal and cultural issues.

Against the backdrop of the 2030 deadline set to realise the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is undeniable that the private sector has a hugely important role to play in championing real change within the sustainability space. It is, in fact, as much of an imperative for business as it is for the planet.

Companies, and the business community as a whole, have a unique opportunity to make this a core part of their mission and their purpose, and build social and environmental good into every level of their organisation.

SOLVING PROBLEMS

Most entrepreneurs go into business to solve a problem or take on a challenge. Sometimes they have spotted a gap in the market or believe they can offer a novel solution to an existing issue. While this is a core aspect of the entrepreneurial mindset, increasingly, we must shift this dialog towards not only what solutions a business provides, but also what problems they may create in doing so.

The use of unethical practices and unsustainable materials and processes all contribute to this, and these must be recognised from the outset if a business is to truly commit to driving sustainability within their sector. Being upfront about these issues, and committing to championing better practices enables a company to be proactive in their approach, and incorporate ethical, sustainable methods and materials into the business purpose from the very start.

Understanding where your organisation has the most potential to make a tangible and positive difference, and then aligning

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The importance of the business community in driving sustainability

your operations with this is key to creating real positive impact.

PROFIT AND PURPOSE

The age of separation between business targets and sustainability or ESG targets is over. More companies realise that if they want to maintain relevance and a competitive edge, wile garnering the consideration and support of increasingly conscious consumers, the pursuit of profit must be integrated with, and not at the cost of, environmental and social concerns.

A 2020 McKinsey Global Survey on valuing ESG programs found that 83% of C-suite leaders and investment professionals say they expect ESG programs will contribute more shareholder value in 5 years. Further, companies already possessing high ESG performance enjoyed on average 3.7 times higher operating margins than those of lower ESG performers.

Clearly, profit and purpose do not have to exist in two separate vacuums. While profit is, of course, vital to the survival and success of any private venture, it does not have to be at odds with sustainable choices. Increasingly, companies are taking a longterm view of these issues by investing in sustainable technology and modes of operation that will save on costs in the long run, while offering efficient and eco-friendly methods of achieving results.

As technology and innovation drives us forward in business, it does not have to be a choice for businesses whether they want to operate profitably or with positive purpose – both can and should be addressed.

DRIVING THE SUSTAINABILITY AGENDA

Businesses that wish to build purpose into the heart of their brand must begin transitioning from reactive to proactive efforts towards sustainability, and build the entire culture of an organisation around this purpose.

The first step towards this is accountability. Companies must hold themselves to certain standards that are in line with their stated values and mission, whether this is in terms of the materials used, distribution of products, or simply a commitment to investing in sustainable technologies and initiatives.

Transparency is also crucial, as the business community can only have an impact if they are committed to being open and honest about the efforts they are making, or plan to make. Likewise, openly communicating the purpose and values of a business between all levels of the company not only ensure the vision is understood, but help to engage the entire organisation in getting them to stand firmly behind this purpose.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Far from shallow and surface-level attempts at greenwashing by unscrupulous organisations, the companies that seek to make real, positive differences are those that operate with purpose at the forefront.

To enact real change, sustainability efforts must be systematic, and this means creating fundamental changes within industries and sectors. While one company alone may not be able to achieve this, it is these companies who are actively paving a path for others to follow, making an investment in the future of their businesses, as well as the future of the planet. c

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ETHICAL BEDDING

“IT IS THESE COMPANIES WHO ARE ACTIVELY PAVING A PATH FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW, MAKING AN INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE OF THEIR BUSINESSES, AS WELL AS THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET.”
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POWERING THE INDUSTRY

Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Sales Manager Jacolien Richards and Chief Sales Officer Thabo Makhanya about SegenSolar (Pty) Ltd’s unique offering to the solar industry across sub-Saharan Africa.

SEGENSOLAR
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SegenSolar supplies photovoltaic solar systems and accessories to clients in South Africa and beyond. It is a subsidiary of the UK-based international solar energy equipment supplier Segen and has grown from strength to strength in the six years since its establishment. SegenSolar has achieved this by positioning itself as a crucial link in the supply chain, providing expertise to clients across the African continent.

PROVIDING SUPPORT

Nowhere has SegenSolar’s success been more evident than in its participation in The Solar Show, which took place in Johannesburg in August 2022. The event is one of the most important in the African solar industry’s calendar, bringing manufacturers and installers together to display their products and services. However, Se-

genSolar chose a more auxiliary position at the show.

‘We didn’t have a stand at The Solar Show because our suppliers were presenting and we wanted to give the opportunity to really promote their brand’, explains Jacolien Richards, Sales Manager at SegenSolar. ‘What we did do, though, is support our suppliers through making ourselves and our resources available to help with their own stands. It’s all about brand awareness for our suppliers at the show, and we want to support them in that as best we can. It has been very, very successful, and we’ve seen a lot of business come from that — by being present in that way’.

SegenSolar also presented its partners with another opportunity off the back of The Solar Show as Thabo Makhanya, Chief Sales Officer at SegenSolar, explains:

‘The highlight of the event for us, which happened on the first day, was a VIP event we hosted. Our suppliers and key customers took part. It was a less formal environment than The Solar Show, where we could connect with our customers and suppliers in a relaxed environment and talk about things outside of normal business with some food and wine. It was very well attended, filled to capacity, and ran from about 6 PM to 12 PM’.

Evidently, SegenSolar sees its strength as being the value-added distributor of choice in the supply chain, providing support and expert knowledge where needed.

NETWORKING ACROSS AFRICA

Support and expertise are at the heart of SegenSolar’s offering. That is why one of its most important services is the training pro-

SEGENSOLAR
20 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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noting down the questions asked. This gives us an idea of the typical questions that the industry has. It’s free information! We don’t pay somebody for that research; we listen to what our customers want to know’.

It is not just face-to-face training that the company provides, though. SegenSolar is part of the African Solar Industry

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vision. AFSIA is a vital part of that. We also collaborate with industry bodies to see how we can not just supply products but also offer support with training sessions, helping grow smaller businesses by training them with our products and installation standards. Our responsibility as a distributor is not just moving boxes, but developing solar into Africa’.

INTELLIGENT SUPPLY

SegenSolar is not just a training company, as Ms Richards points out. It supplies and distributes products to installation

firms across the continent. These include everything from solar panels and batteries to mounting systems and inverters. The company uses an intelligent automated ordering system that helps ensure it always has the right amount of stock for its clients, as Mr Makhanya explains:

‘We use a system called auto-ordering. It looks at the history and forecast and determines how much stock we will need for the coming weeks. Obviously, there is also human intervention to ensure outside factors are accounted for. We can’t place our orders based on run rates, so there we

have somebody look at the auto-ordering system and adjust quantities according to the longer-term needs of the market. It is essential to think on your feet and work in conjunction with certain partners so that we understand the country’s challenges’.

As Mr Makhanya highlights, the automated ordering system also has advantages for SegenSolar’s customers.

‘The ordering system uses a portal that gives our customers an overview of the supply chain for their order. They have a line of sight in terms of their order’s ETA and can check on their product at every

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C CY K Freedom Won Segen Solar Advert final.pdf 1 2022/11/11 14:08:48 SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE | 25

stage through to the cargo ship arriving in South Africa. That means our customers can plan their projects accurately with upto-date information’.

Not everything always runs smoothly, though. A lot of SegenSolar’s products are produced in China. The pandemic has, therefore, presented a huge problem, particularly with China’s ongoing lockdowns disrupting manufacturing across the country. Nonetheless, SegenSolar mitigates such issues through its intelligent ordering system.

‘Shanghai was closed for about two or three months due to Covid’, Mr Makhanya says. ‘That had a huge impact on all our products and, subsequently, on the work of our customers. But if the line of sight is accurate, our customers are able to see the problems going on and plan ahead. Our customers usually understand. They also follow the news; they know Shanghai is closed, so they don’t think we’re just pulling something out of thin air. They may then go and source their needs from elsewhere, from another supplier, but our

customers usually come back to us once we have the stock. We foster open communication because it builds trust between our customers and us, and we can ensure long-term relationships’.

GROWING TOGETHER

SegenSolar was set up just six years ago, but in that time has come to play an important role in South Africa and Africa’s solar industry. From the outset, it set ambitious but realistic growth goals, which have been a key factor in its success

‘We have set our business plans in terms of how we’d like to develop, and I’m very pleased to say that we’ve reached our targets for growth every year’, Ms Richards says. ‘This is a result of really listening to our customers — heeding the feedback they give us regarding the product mix they require, the kind of applications they need and the services they need to grow their business. By working together, we grow together.

‘SegenSolar has also benefited from being part of an international network. We are extremely lucky that our partners in the UK have been doing this for many years and have experienced similar challenges and growth. The team also look at the rapid growth of our sister company in Germany to learn from them. Plus, it’s easy to call on the additional joint resources within the network if we do need someone to assist us’.

With a solid foundation already in place, SegenSolar is looking to a bright and solar-powered future. ‘We continuously look at feedback from our customers to ensure that we’re agile in terms of what the market needs and what the supply is’, Ms Richards continues. ‘Combined with a well-qualified and experienced product development team, we’re able to stay ahead of a rapidly changing young industry. It’s all very exciting. SegenSolar is a rewarding journey to be part of’. c

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“WE HAVE SET OUR BUSINESS PLANS IN TERMS OF HOW WE’D LIKE TO DEVELOP, AND I’M VERY PLEASED TO SAY THAT WE’VE REACHED OUR TARGETS FOR GROWTH EVERY YEAR”
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COOL AND ELECTRIFYING

Sustainable Business Magazine spoke to TMR Sales & Service Limited about working as an HVAC and electrical services company in Barbados. CEO Paula Pitt, Director of Engineering – A/C Systems Peter Thompson, and Director of Engineering – Power Systems, James Clarke gave their insight into a challenging but rewarding market.

TMR Sales & Service Limited (TMR) is a Barbadian company offering electrical, HVAC and Life Safety services throughout the country and the Caribbean. It works with industrial, commercial and residential clients although it works most frequently with the commercial sector. Across all of its work, TMR focuses on fully integrated solutions underlined by sustainable principles in order to remain a leader in the market.

The company hasn’t always looked the way it does today, though. It started out in the 1950s as a designer and supplier of electrification systems for factories of Barbados’ then-burgeoning sugar industry. It was then bought out and changed course, providing repair services for motors and transformers. TMR still bears the hallmark of this history as the company at that time was named Transformer and Motor Repairs Ltd.

TMR began resembling the company it is today in 1986, when the transformer repair company merged with an electrical company and acquired a line of air conditioning products in 1990. With the decline of Barbados’s sugar industry, the air conditioning and electrical services became the company’s primary focus. One final change of hands in 2007 to the current owners puts TMR in the leading market position it holds today.

CHALLENGING SUPPLY CHAINS

Commercial customers represent around two-thirds of TMR’s work. It offers products such as whole-building air conditioning systems, air ventilation installations, and even water chilling solutions. The company supplies these products, installs them, then offers ongoing maintenance services. It has a

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team of over 70 technicians, project officers and engineering staff to make this happen.

Nonetheless, TMR faces the same market challenges that every other company does. Increasingly common supply chain difficulties that make the company’s work less predictable than normal.

“When materials are unavailable in the market, the contractual agreements we have with our customers will obviously be impacted,” says Paula Pitt, CEO of TMR Sales & Service Limited. “That is a

problem for customer satisfaction, something we pride ourselves on. We have had to change the way we work with clients as a result, putting in place systems that reduce the impact that unreliable supply chains can have.”

Peter Thompson, the company’s Director of Engineer – A/C Systems, explains in more detail what measures are taken: “What we seek to do, particularly in contracting, is try to impress on our clients the need to give us early notice of what they require so we

can try to procure it in time for the project. In other words, if a client has a project with a duration of six months, we try to impress on them that they shouldn’t wait until too late in the project to begin the procurement of materials and equipment.

“With sufficient notice we can get everything they require, and on schedule, but just-in-time procurement doesn’t really exist anymore. One thing that has been very successful is offering alternative options, until we are able to procure the items

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specified for their project. For example, we can provide an alternative arrangement to get them going and then complete as per the original plan.”

TMR’s approach appears to work because its customers and partners remain committed to the company. With this base, it is looking to continue not just leading but innovating the Caribbean market.

INNOVATING THE MARKET

One of TMR’s greatest strengths is its international mindset. It brings in products from manufacturers across the world to ensure the Barbadian and Caribbean markets have world-leading HVAC systems available to them.

“We’ve always been innovative in terms of our offerings,” Mr. Thompson says. “Our relationships with established international manufacturers, both in air conditioning and the electrical arena, gives us access to new technologies from around the world. Out region has specific needs because of its climactic and geographic situation, and so some of the products manufactured internationally do not always meet the needs of this region’s climatic conditions. We seek the best options of products that meet the best fit for our customers.

He continues: “We seek to see what the best practices are in the industry internationally. We leverage our international

manufacturers for their support in getting those technologies into our area. As an example, we were the first air conditioning supplier to bring inverter airconditioning units into Barbados. That was not the first innovation that we did but it was a notable one. We always leverage our international suppliers to get best practice technologies that exist internationally.”

This will be particularly important going forwards as the future presents more challenges. Existential instabilities such as increasingly extreme weather conditions, which the Caribbean is particularly vulnerable to, and unpredictable crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic affect not just TMR but its customers. “We’re planning towards

these challenges so that we can pivot at any time to overcome challenges or grasp opportunities that arise out of these circumstances,” Ms. Pitt explains. The company’s close partnership with international suppliers will be key in this.

INTERNAL WORK

It’s not just externally that TMR is innovating. The company is transforming its internal processes to meet contemporary demands. The biggest of these is the introduction of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, an ongoing project that the company hopes will be completed soon.

“This ERP system will transform our customer response internally and externally,”

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“...CONTINUING
TO BE INNOVATIVE AND WORKING CLOSELY WITH ALL OF OUR PARTNERS AND CLIENTS. WE’LL EVEN USE OURSELVES AS GUINEA PIGS FOR NEW SYSTEMS OR PRODUCTS TO ENSURE THEY PROVIDE THE BEST RETURNS ON INVESTMENT BEFORE PASSING THOSE ONTO OUR CLIENTS.”

says Ms. Pitt. “It is changing and enhancing our main processes so they are much more effective and efficient. We will now be using electronic notifications and documentation to improve efficiency across the board. For example, internally, our people will no longer need to go through lots of hard copy documents for time, job and customer management. Instead, everything will be digitally stored and instantly searchable.”

The company has taken other smaller but no less important steps toward long-term sustainability too. It has installed motion-activated lighting systems throughout its premises to cut down on wasted energy. It has replaced equipment, fixtures and machinery with more energy efficient alternatives where possible. It has even started drafting electric

vehicles into its fleet. All of these actions are aimed at lowering the company’s carbon footprint, which is essential not only for ecological and social reasons but because they make financial sense as well.

BEST PRACTICE FOR THE FUTURE

TMR is already the biggest company of its kind in Barbados and its brand continues growing throughout the Caribbean. Recent years have shown how challenging things can be, but the company is determined to build on its history of innovation to ensure it continues well into the future.

“Resources are at a premium - everything is at a premium today,” James Clarke, Director of Engineering – Power Systems at TMR, tells Sustainable Business Magazine. “Energy, real estate, salaries, wages, benefits – they’re

all at a premium. Our plan to balance against that is to focus on whatever technologies and processes enable us to make the most efficient use of those resources. That means continuing to be innovative and working closely with all of our partners and clients. We’ll even use ourselves as guinea pigs for new systems or products to ensure they provide the best returns on investment before passing those onto our clients.”

HVAC and electricals will remain an important market will into the future, not least because of the Caribbean climate. Expanding into Life Safety products such as fire safety & suppression and security systems has proven very complementary. Together, despite today’s challenging supply chains, TMR Sales & Service Limited looks forward to a bright future.

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UPL 32 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

FOR THE

FARMING FUTURE

Sustainable Business Magazine speaks with Mike Frank, CEO of UPL Corporation, about how UPL is harnessing technology to transform the global agricultural industry.

UPL is an international provider of sustainable agricultural solutions. It was established in India in 1969 and over more than 50 years has grown to become the world’s fifth largest agricultural solutions company. Today it has a global reach extending into more than 138 countries, with access to more than 90% of the world’s food basket. Nonetheless, UPL is not resting on its laurels.

FROM INDIA TO THE WORLD

Mike Frank, CEO of UPL Corporation, describes where the company is today and how it’s leveraging that to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues:

“We offer a full range of sustainable agricultural products and solutions spanning high performing seeds, biosolutions, traditional crop protection products, pre- and post-harvest solutions, and soil and water technologies – each of which helps farmers overcome their challenges, and grow healthy crops. We have 44 manufacturing facilities so we’re very much back-integrated

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as a company. We don’t just buy products from somebody and sell them. Due to our history, most of our back-integration is in India, which makes us unique in a world where most ag-input companies are based in or supplied from China. We also have 25 R&D facilities and over 14,000 registrations so as a company we have access to a wide range of technology and innovation.

“This deep investment in technology, paired with our Indian heritage, has put us in an excellent position to work with smallholder farmers around the world. India has a very large agricultural base but most of the farmers are small-scale, as is the case in many of the regions in which we now operate. Since the beginning of our journey, and throughout our growth, we’ve focused uniquely on developing and distributing technologies and solutions suited to smallholder farming communities. For example

In India, and to a lesser extent in parts of Africa and South East Asia, growers typically burn their paddy stubble in winter months as a quick and efficient way of clearing fields before planting wheat crop. But burning this stubble releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, with a hazardous impact on public health outcomes, and also depletes soil nutrients. So last year through our agtech subsidiary nurture.farm we launched the Crop Residue Management program, partnering with the Indian Agricultural Research Institute to make available to farmers a bio-decomposer which breaks the stubble down so it doesn’t need to be burned, and deployed 700 boom sprayers to service their land free of charge.

“In the first year of the program we enrolled 25,000 farmers across 420,000 acres in northern India for this service and it was extremely successful. We saw 92% farmer

compliance, over 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions prevented, and farmers found that, by returning the carbon into the soil, they had richer and healthier soils that helped create better crops this year.”

THREE VALUES

As a world-leading company that’s involved from the start to the end of the agricultural industry’s supply chain, UPL understands how important holistic solutions are for not only farmers but the world at large. Technology plays an important role in this but it’s not the only instrument that UPL uses, as its core values reveal.

“We believe in order to solve today’s food security challenges and help decarbonise the planet we need to look at agriculture from an end-to-end standpoint,” explains Mr. Frank. “We have three core pillars that underline this.

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“First is food sustainability. We want to make sure everyone across the planet has access to secure and nutritious food. Second is economic and social sustainability, especially for growers around the world. In order for farmers to really focus on sustainability and regenerative agriculture, we need incentives for them to adopt these practices. Third is environmental sustainability. Our work must contribute to a healthier planet and ensure that agriculture supports global decarbonisation efforts.”

One way that UPL is embodying these values is through its work with women in Africa.

“We recognise that women play a critical role in farming, and yet their valuable contribution is often not acknowledged resulting in unequal pay. This problem is particularly acute in emerging economies, such as Africa, where pervasive gender inequalities persist, affecting women’s ability to access land, financing, markets, training and education. One of the ways in which we are helping tackle this issue is through our partnership with organisations like UN Women and Farm Africa in Tanzania. Working together, we have built a program aimed at improving livelihoods, educating female farmers on sustainable management of natural resources, and helping to build communities more resilient to climate change. We want to ensure that women are treated fairly and that they too can become part of the solution, part of inclusive economic development, and

ultimately help generate positive growth for the agriculture sector.”

Another example is the way that UPL helps farmers globally get to grips with new technology.

“We have a stewardship programme called Applique Bem. It’s all about training applicators – mostly farmers – on how to spray more safely for them and their op-

erators,” explains Mr. Frank. “It also trains them to only put on as much product as is needed on a field. This is a training program that we’ve done in South America with over 70,000 farmers and applicators. It really is, I think, the gold standard in how you train farmers to use products and technologies in the safest, most sustainable way.”

Taking social, economic and environmental solutions as three parts of a whole then finding solutions that service all the whole is not only desirable today but a necessity. The world is changing and it’s changing quickly, and building resilience is key.

“We’ve seen how fragile the world’s food supply chain is. Recent events have shown this,” Mr. Frank continues. “The floods in Pakistan and parts of Asia, or this summer’s extreme heat and drought in both North America and Europe, have had major impacts on global food supplies. Of course the

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war in Ukraine has had a detrimental effect on global movement of grains too. Looking a little further back, Covid-19 was also very disruptive to supply chains. All of these events have helped everyone understand that the global food system is fragile. At UPL we’re focused on how to deliver resilience from the start to the end of the supply chain.”

CLIMATE GOAL SCORING

UPL recognises that agriculture plays a central role in the climate crisis that the world faces. But it also knows that, because of this, it can play a major role in tackling the crisis.

“If you look at agriculture as an industry, it produces about 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world,” Mr. Frank points out. “If we can reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, and advance methods to capture existing atmospheric carbon, we could have a huge impact in tackling climate change. We see infinite possibilities for climate-positive agriculture, which restores balance and ensures that food systems not only feed our growing population, but also nourish and safeguard our planet. There are historic farming techniques as well as new technologies that allow farmers to take carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in the soil as carbon organic matter. This opportunity is real, it’s measurable. But to harness this momentous opportunity, we all need to ensure that farmers are rewarded for adopting these new practices because ultimately the benefits will be felt by society as a whole.

One way that UPL is helping to advance agriculture’s role in fighting the climate crisis and reward farmers for the vital contribution is through the Gigaton Carbon Goal.

“Our Gigaton Carbon Goal is a global series of initiatives that harness sustainable agricultural practices to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 1bn metric tonnes, or a gigaton, by 2040. The goal materialised from an ambition to go beyond our own corporate commitment to reduce carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, but to also work with global farming communities to help capture carbon emissions already in our atmosphere.” explains Mr. Frank.

UPL is undertaking the Gigaton Carbon Goal together with the FIFA Foundation.

“We believe tackling the world’s biggest issues – such as the climate crisis – requires innovative thinking and unique solutions. Our approach is led by our OpenAg purpose – partnering with like-minded stakeholders with complementary approaches and mutual goals to unlock outcomes that no single actor could achieve on their own. We have therefore partnered with the FIFA Foundation through the Gigaton Carbon Goal, combining our agricultural offering and distribution network with their global platform to educate and excite people about the role sustainable agriculture can play in decarbonising our planet. Our partnership will also help promote to existing and future farmers the systems that allow them to sequester carbon, contribute to net zero goals, and improve their livelihoods.

“The Gigaton Carbon Goal is currently in its pilot phase, and in the coming years additional pilots and projects will be launched across the world with the target of reaching 100 million hectares. As the Gigaton Carbon Goal continues to grow and enter new regions, we are taking into consideration the unique circumstances of each country to

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build an ecosystem of partners that bring together and promote technologies, interventions, and effective services and solutions. We are also working with carbon certification bodies to create and validate emission carbon credits and fairly reward farmers for their sustainable practices.”

EMERGING SOLUTIONS

Looking forward, Mr. Frank is keen to point out that UPL succeeds not through gatekeeping its practices but by learning from and adapting the work of other successful companies:

“We have a legacy of over 50 years and have grown up through both organic growth and through acquisitions. There’s been over 40 acquisitions through the course of our history and they’ve allowed us to consolidate and build skills and technologies as well as give us access to more farmers around the world.

“Today we are the world’s leader in manufacturing and selling what’s broadly considered as biosolutions. This is an area of our business where we’re doing a lot of our own R&D. Through our OpenAg network, we are working with technology

providers across the world to scale our work and deepen our impact. This includes start-ups and universities from North America to Europe that are developing new technologies and cultivating research, and we are able to provide global regulatory support and commercialisation opportunities to help get their innovations into the hands of farmers who need them the most. The new technologies that these small start-ups and research centres are producing will play a vital role in future of sustainable agriculture and we are proud to be supporting them.” c

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DIVING INTO LUXURY

Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Sean Clements, founder and CEO of exciting new watch brand SDC Watches. He explains exactly what creativity and hard work it takes to create a watch that is not only stylish but also ecologically sustainable.

SDC Watches is a luxury watch brand created with a vision to make the diving industry more sustainable. Although it first appears to be an unusual pairing, founder and CEO Sean realised that he could upcycle discarded wetsuits into durable, attractive watch straps.

“I wanted to create a dive watch brand and do something a bit different and incorporate the idea of upcycling into the brand and into the mission,” Sean explains. “At first I struggled a little bit with what I wanted to do but took a step back to look at what I enjoy doing in life. I’m both a big watch fan and a scuba diver. As a result, I landed on creating a dive watch brand that incorporated everything that I was interested in – but with a difference.”

Sean set out in 2020 to look at the process of transforming old wetsuits into new watch straps. However, he found it challenging:

“Believe it or not, it was actually one of the most challenging parts of the brand to accomplish. I’ll explain why: it’s never been done before. I think people have tried to do it in the past but I don’t think they’ve been able to create a product that fits the bill. It took us a long time to go through the R&D process, finding the right materials, securing suppliers, then bringing it all together. Now that we’ve done it, though, we’re super happy about it.”

The first designs were publicly available in 2021 but getting there wasn’t an easy job.

THE BIG, HORRIBLE ISSUE

SDC Watches’s model is so important for sustainability because wetsuit material is almost always destined for landfill.

“There’s a really big issue with wetsuits,” says Sean. “They are made from neoprene which fundamentally is a really horrible material in the sense you can’t do

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much with it once it’s finished with. You can’t really recycle it. Sometimes it will end up back in the ocean and that’s really quite sad considering most scuba divers are passionate about the ocean, keeping our oceans clean, and reducing plastic use. There are a couple of companies out there that are doing great things with neoprene but it’s just a very difficult material to reuse. Effectively what we do is take a rubber mould, cut and stitch the neoprene wetsuit material, then upcycle them into straps.”

Getting the raw material to work with, though, proved a challenge. There was no single repository of discarded wetsuits, so Sean and SDC Watches needed to create a means for sourcing the material.

“Over the last 18 months I’ve built up a network of wetsuit drop-offs,” Sean explains. “My starting point was to pick up the phone to my local dive and surf shops and ask if they had any unusable wetsuits available. Then I started enquiring further afield. The volume of responses was actually staggering. What it meant was me driving around, picking up wetsuits from all over the UK. It was kind of fun but took up a lot of my time.

“Today I’ve become got a little bit smarter and work with a couple of smaller companies that do these things called wetsuit drop-offs. So there’s boxes around the UK where people come in, donate their old wetsuits, then I go pick them up. They’re all from the UK although they’ve probably been dived in and used all over the world. We have a really good network now and to be honest probably an oversupply of wetsuits. They’re taking up a lot of space in my flat and in the warehouse!”

One of the most appealing traits of this model is that the sustainability impact the company has is easily measurable:

“What we’re doing is tangible. We can count the amount of wetsuits we’ve saved from a landfill, we can count the amount of straps the company has created. It’s not huge numbers, I don’t want to say we’re changing the world here, but we’re definitely making a huge impact on the sustainability of the dive community.”

At present, turning the neoprene into watch straps is carried out at two manufacturing facilities – one in China, the other in the UK. Meanwhile, the watches themselves are produced in Japan. Sean recognises the sustainability issues with this global approach but explains that its a result of necessity:

“The challenge we have in the UK when it comes to producing a whole watch here there are only a limited number of watchmakers which means there is a lack of resource in the industry. SDC Watches is part of the British Watch & Clock Makers society and that’s something we talk about a lot. Although we have an established watchmaking industry in the UK finding the labour remains the biggest challenge and one of the things I’m campaigning for is being able to produce all our watches here in the UK, but we’re probably still a while away from that to be honest. However, for me, being able to champion British watch brands and going at it from that approach is a real USP of SDC Watches.”

WATCH FANATICS

The challenges didn’t overcome Sean or SDC Watches, though. After taking six months of pre-orders, the company started

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SDC WATCHES “OUR WATCHES ARE PRESENTED IN OUR SLEEK AND STYLISH WATCH BOX WHICH USES 100% BIODEGRADABLE AND SUSTAINABLE FSC SOURCED MATERIALS, INCLUDING A NATURAL WATER-BASED VEGAN FRIENDLY GLUE. THE FOAM INSERTS CAN BE REMOVED IF NOT REQUIRED AND ARE FULLY RECYCLABLE.“ 44 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

shipping out its first watches in December 2021 to much fanfare.

“We’re still very new, very fresh into the market, but really enjoying it,” says Mr. Clements. “We’re selling watches, getting a lot of good press, and perhaps most importantly we’re getting some great shout-outs from the dive community.”

SDC Watches’s brand has spread not only through word of mouth but through the hard graft of working trade events and public conventions, although the company hasn’t only targeted the dive community.

“We’re a dive watch brand but we’re also a luxury watch brand,” the CEO explains. “That means we’re attending events such as the Go Diving Show in March 2023, which is the biggest scuba convention in the UK, but also fairs dedicated to the craftsmanship and retailing of watches. Ultimately, though, we’re an e-commerce company and dedicated to sales through the internet. We have been approached by dive centres and other companies in the UK that want to partner with us to sell in their shops, but to be completely honest the model we’re trying to create here is pure e-commerce.

“Most of our sales have actually come from the US – not entirely sure why that is but clearly there is a market there. It’s probably about 60/40 for our sales to the US and UK. We’ve sold a few into Europe and into the Middle East but the bulk of orders are coming from the US. That might be by virtue of the fact they have more scuba diving there, perhaps they also have more watch fanatics. I don’t know if that’ll continue but for us it’s fine, we ship around the world.”

OCEAN CLEANUP

One of SDC Watches’ most notable sustainable initiatives is its partnership with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), via Work for Good. Donating to charity is common practice within corporate CSR, but the relationship SDC Watches has with the marine charity is different.

“When I set up this company, a big part of it was to give back,” Sean explains. “This isn’t just about me generating profits from this business. It’s about being able to generate profits and give back to good causes. I spent a long time thinking about which causes to donate to and knew I wanted to focus on something a bit smaller, a charity that I could actually build a relationship with, something that shared a close outlook with SDC Watches. That’s why I chose MCS.

“It focuses about 90% of its efforts on the UK although the group also works with other organisations internationally. Where it really fits for us is in the mission: for MCS, it’s all about creating cleaner oceans that everyone can enjoy. it does beach clean-ups for example, about three or four beach clean-ups a month. It also carries out underwater surveys. That means divers can report different measures and metrics back to them from their dives. MCS really engage with their members and other people that are interested in marine life and the ocean. It also focuses a lot on not just the ocean but, for example, aquatic life. It’s big on protecting endangered species around the world, especially those species close to the UK coast.

“For me, that cleaning up of the seas was a simple point I had an affinity with. As a scuba diver, I’ve dived in places where I’ve seen some great stuff, but I’ve seen places where there’s not so great stuff. And when I say that I’m not just talking about poor visibility. I mean plastics littering the sea and corals that have been eroded. I wanted something with common values and a personal approach and found it in MCS.

“I started building a relationship with the charity in late 2021 and then in December of that year SDC Watches announced we were going to donate 5% of each sale to the MCS. That’s 5% of each strap or

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watch we sell. That is an agreement we have in place with MCS, managed through the donations platform Work for Good. I also speak to the charity regularly to let it know how we’re doing and how we might get further involved with its work.”

NEW HORIZONS

SDC Watches is new and upcoming, so its future is a wide and blank canvas ready to be filled. However, Sean is keen that the company sticks tight to its raison d’etre and USP: upcycling for a more sustainable industry.

“At the moment we have our first collection, the Ocean Rider collection,” explains the CEO. “We’ve also designed our first strap, which uses black wetsuits. We are in the process of bringing out three new straps and they will be different colours that make use of blue, red and green wetsuits. We have the materials and our suppliers are all set up and ready, so we’ll have our blue straps out over the next few months. We want to have a full selection of straps available by spring 2023, after which we’ll then look at bringing out a couple of different collections.”

It’s not just new end products that SDC Watches is excited about though, as Sean highlights: “The exciting part of the future for us is what other materials we can upcycle. There’s all sorts of things. I’m looking at the moment at fins, we’re also looking at using the rubber in silicone in dive masks and upcycling that into either a strap or into the watch. Another project that’s going on in the background, which is probably going to take a bit of time, is upcycling scuba diving cylinders. The cylinders are made of steel but when they’re empty they’re not reused. I’m speaking to someone about melting the steel down to use in watches and watch cases.

“There’s lots to do, a million things we can look at. For us it’s about how can we use materials that are destined for landfill and build our product around that.” c

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OUR FULFILMENT PROCESS WE GO THE EXTRA MILE BY MAKING SURE WE USE RECYCLED PACKAGING, BIODEGRADABLE BUBBLE WRAP AND RECYCLED SHIPPING TAP, SO EVERY ELEMENT IS FULLY RECYCLABLE”
our range of fine watches at sdcwatches.com SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE | 47
“ACROSS
View

THE CULTURAMA FESTIVAL

TRAVEL GUIDE: ST. KITTS AND NEVIS 48 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

The dual federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, which is located in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean plate, has a complicated history. Though the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, the federation’s past is one that Kittitians and Nevisians cannot forget, fraught with global tensions, colonial degradation, and widespread exploitation.

Once inhabited by the native Kalinago people, St. Kitts and Nevis was extensively used for tobacco and sugar cane production under British and French colonial rule. The European nations, when not engaged in territorial warfare across the islands, briefly joined forces in the 1626 massacre of the Kalinago population, during which an estimated 2,000 people lost their lives.

As with most Caribbean islands, the period that followed was defined by the institutional exploitation of African slaves, a practice that continued until 1 August 1834. Fast forward to the present, and 1 August remains an important date in Kittitian and Nevisian cultural history. On the first weekend of August every year, Nevisians host the Culturama festival, a celebratory event that aims to preserve and enshrine the native customs and traditional folk art of the region.

During the festival, Nevisians wear delightfully vivid garments that represent characters, including moko jumbies (colorful stilt walkers) and masquerade dancers, from the West African folkloric tradition. Though it is a period of dance, song, and merriment, the history of colonialism and slavery lurks beneath the extravagance to remind locals and tourists alike of the federation’s difficult past.

The colorful masks worn by dancers recalls the egregious performances that slaves were forced to act out for the amusement

of their owners, while the whips held by performers dredges up vivid images of colonial punishment and racial enslavement.

Yet, in their extravagant reclamation of past events, Culturama performers regain control over their history and past oppressors. In the process, the West African folkloric tradition, which was brought to the islands by the slaves who built them, is preserved. Their culture, celebrated. Their heritage, sustained.

For many locals, Culturama is the cultural highlight of the year. It’s a time to remember, it’s a time to celebrate. But it’s also a time to learn! Attendees of the festival are welcome to participate in a variety of workshops, from arts and crafts to costume design to creative writing.

Proceeds raised by the Cultarama festival are directed back into the Nevisian community. The festival is currently raising funds to build a community center, which will serve as a hub for a variety of Nevisian-led cultural awareness programs.

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TO START YOUR ADVENTURE TRAVEL GUIDE: ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS KEY FACTS 50 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
WHERE
Capital: Basseterre, St Kitts Population: 53,199 (2020) Language(s): Saint Kitts Creole / English Major resort areas: Tortola, Little Sisters, Anegada Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke Tourist season: December - April Annual visitors: 1.11m (2019) Currency: The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) Avg. temperature: 70-87 °F Highest point: Mount Liamuiga, 3,792 feet [1,156 metres] Time zone: UTC-4:00 (AST) Dialling code: +1

North

South

Art Batik Beach Bird Spotting Boat Trips / Catamaran Brimstone Hill Fortress Dolphins Dining Diving Eco Park Golf Hiking Horse Riding
Rum Tour Sugar Train Volcano Watersports Wildlife Viewpoint Zip Line
KEY ATTRACTIONS
Market Monkeys Mount Liamuiga Museum Nevis Peak Rainforest
St Kitts
St Kitts
Newcastle
Challengers St Paul’s Butlers Nevis Peak
Charlestown
Point
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West St Kitts East St Kitts Nevis KEY REGIONS
Black Rocks
Cayon BASSETERRE
Sandy
Frier’s

WHAT TO DO...

ENJOY UNPARALLELED VIEWS AT THE TOP OF MOUNT LIAMUIGA

At an impressive 1,156 meters tall, the beating heart of St. Kitts and the highest point on the island, is the Mount Liamuiga stratovolcano. Its name, Liamuiga, derives from the native Kalinago name for the island itself: fertile land. Led by local guides, tourists can explore Mount Liamuiga by foot on a six-hour guided hike; small groups travel via safari truck into the tropical forest, before continuing their trek on foot to witness the

rich flora and fauna of St. Kitts. It can take up to one full day to reach the peak of the now-extinct volcano, where a sky-high picnic awaits you at the volcanic crater top. The views are certain to give any adventurer an adrenaline buzz!

AWAKEN YOUR AWARENESS AT ST. KITTS ECO PARK

After scaling Mount Liamuiga, what better occasion for a little downtime – or limin, as the locals would put it? Head over to the St. Kitts Eco Park, a haven for all things nature. Developed in partnership with the Republic of Taiwan over a period of three years, the eco-project is built on three pillars: agriculture, green energy, and tourism. As such, the park invites visitors to slow down, absorb nature, and open up their awareness to the environment. Over two hundred plant species are dotted around the Rose, Desert, and Tropical Orchard gardens, and have

been planted with the intention of educating tourists on the botanical history of the island and its inhabitants’ heritage.

ALSO IN TORTOLA

• Scout out local wildlife across Convent Bay, including the white-faced whistling-duck and the Little Blue Heron.

• Head to Sandy Point Town to the Amazing Grace Experience to learn about the dramatic story, told with original artifacts from slave ships, of how John Newton would transition from prominent slave trader to staunch abolitionist and writer of the well-known hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.

• Find the Black Rocks of St. Kitts! Located near the town of Saddlers, the Black Rocks will remind of you Mount Liamuiga’s incredible volcanic origins, themselves formed from the cooled lava flow of the stratovolcano.

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NORTH ST. KITTS

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ON ST.

KITTS

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EAST ST. KITTS

TAKE A TRAIN JOURNEY AROUND THE ISLAND

Most guidebooks will tell you that the best way to explore St. Kitts is by car – drive wherever you want, see whatever you want. If everyone were to take that advice, carbon emissions on the island would skyrocket. Instead, take the more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and relaxed alternative: the St. Kitts Scenic Railway. Though originally built between 1912 and 1926 to transport sugar cane from plantations to the main sugar factory in Basseterre, the train (which has six-foot vaulted windows and an observation deck) now invites visitors on a relaxed but incredibly meaningful 3-hour tour of the east coast of St. Kitts, through unspoiled countryside and important scenes of the island’s complicated colonial history.

ALSO IN EAST ST. KITTS

• Play a round of golf at the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club, built with sustainability in mind: native grasses match the landscape and conserve water by maintaining natural watersheds; while food producing crops, planted around the course, supply local communities with accessible and organic ingredients.

• Go bird-spotting at Half Moon Pond! See if you can catch sight of the beautiful ruddy quail-dove and the yellow-billed cuckoo.

*Timothy Beach Resort is a completely Non Smoking hotel* FRIENDLY, AFFORDABLE - JUST RIGHT!
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SOUTH ST. KITTS

TRY A COOK’S TOUR OF BASSETERRE

Become the star of your own food and travel documentary series with a walk through the palimpsest city of Basseterre, itself destroyed and rebuilt throughout colonial wars, riots, hurricanes, floods, and fires. With a population of just 14,000, the capital and cultural center of the island will never feel daunting; its streets and haunts unfurl before you to deliver an olfactory voyage of Kittitian cuisine. Spicy plantains, seasoned breadfruit, stewed saltfish, coconut dumplings, guava cheese, sugar cakes, and coconut fudge – there’s lots to explore and even more to eat, so ditch the guidebook and head down the side streets and alleyways between colonial façades to sample the city’s countless food trucks and street wagons!

ALSO IN SOUTH ST. KITTS

• Those living a vegan lifestyle can still savor Kittitian cuisine: head to Ital Creations at Fari Organic Farm for locally grown plant-based food; relax under mango trees and find a sense of calm with their guided yoga sessions.

• Embrace a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and swim with dolphins off the south coast of the island; keep an eye

out for spinner dolphins, hawksbill sea turtles, angelfish, spiny lobster, and the endemic flamingo tongue cowrie sea snail.

• Leave central Basseterre and head towards Port Zante. Here, you will find engaging street entertainment and a local crafts market, the perfect place to find some holiday souvenirs!

WEST ST. KITTS

WANDER (AND WONDER) IN A RAINFOREST

Suit up. Buckle up. It’s time for adventure! Catch a buggy ride to St. Kitts’ National Park, the Central Forest Reserve (CFR), which was established for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, and wander through the nearly 10,000-acre area. Be prepared for lots of wonder, too – the reserve’s dense greenery and tropical fronds house many species. It goes without saying, but be prepared to get wet! It’s an experience that only adds to the forest’s charm.

EXPLORE LOCALLY MADE TREASURES AT ROMNEY MANOR’S BATIK MARKET

There’s lots to see at Romney Manor, including a beautiful house, luscious garden, and eight-acre estate with effulgent sea views. The history of the land itself is also tantalizing. Evidence suggests the village of Kalinago Chief Tegreman originally occupied

the site, and ancient petroglyphs can still be seen across the estate. Some of the trees which line the house are over 400 years old, thus commanding their own sense of spiritual and historical splendor. The manor is also a batik enterprise: peruse the colorful shop; treat yourself to handmade, unique, and one-of-a-kind batik products; add some color to your wardrobe!

ALSO IN WEST ST. KITTS

• Consider the historical implications of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade at the ruins of the sugar plantation on the Wingfield Estate.

• Continue your historical voyage at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brimstone Hill Fortress, a military fort built during the 18th century by African slaves, overlooking the ocean.

• Part of the Wingfield Estate and Romney Manor’s grounds, the Sky

Safari allows visitors to travel through the rainforest at speed on a 411 meter-long zipline. Can you think of a better way to see St. Kitts’ tropical biome?

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SCALE THE HEIGHTS OF NEVIS PEAK

Located two miles southeast of St. Kitts is the neighboring island of Nevis. The smaller of the pair, the island of Nevis is home to another formidable stratovolcano: the 985-meter tall Nevis Peak. The name Nevis comes from the Spanish nieve (snow),

and its origins are still apparent: most of the year, dense white clouds surround the pinnacle, creating the illusion of a snow-covered peak. With the help of a local guide, visitors can scale Nevis Peak for a glimpse of the volcano’s rich array of flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for the naturalized African vervet monkey, Antillean crested hummingbird, and the federation’s national animal: the brown pelican!

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN TROPICAL BOTANY

A multitude of tropical flowers and shrubs, ornate fountains, orchid terraces, and lily ponds await visitors to the Botanical Gardens of Nevis, located just a short journey from the island’s capital, Charlestown. A mosaic of samples from around the globe have been brought together to make up the five-acre botanical expanse. Run with sus-

tainability in mind, water is recycled across the estate for use in ponds and fountains, while existing solar-powered lighting is being expanded and upgraded. Just remember to gaze upon the Poinciana (Delonix regia), the national flower of St. Kitts and Nevis, well-known for its flamboyant display of orange-red flowers.

ALSO IN NEVIS

• Learn about Nevisian history at the site of Alexander Hamilton’s birthplace in Charlestown, now the Museum of Nevis History.

• Scuba dive among monkey shoals and a delightful coral atoll in the tropical reefs and shallows between Nevis and St. Kitts.

• Head to Nelson’s Lookout, an old stone military fort, for breathtaking views of the island and the ocean beyond.

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NEVIS
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