Environmental concerns have always been thought of as the realm of NGOs, governments and philanthropists, so how can local entreprenuership contribute? Environmental problems are usually as a result of a disconnect between the societal, business and environmental needs. Therefore a system that links the three from the word go is to be applauded today. This is the basis of the eco-preneurship idea, which seeks to support and promote businesses that are designed with environmental conciousness.
Industrialization has put a strain on our environment due to pollution, deforestation and loss of biodiversity. The right technologies can help us develop our economies without damaging the environment.
The upcoming COP21 in Paris is an important one for Africa as the continent who suffers the most from climate change, and for the world who wants to replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is expected that issues such as climate financing, information-sharing climate-smart agriculture and technology transfer will dominate the talks.
Sustainable construction techniques present an opportunity for developing countries to lower carbon emissions, lower energy consumption, and from the outset, reduce housing deficit and the cost of living. Many techniques that help lower the cost of building have been tried and tested and proved successful. Green building is slowly but surely being accepted in developing countries.
Long Sokhon is a small-scale farmer in Cambodia’s Pursat Province. Like 85% of Cambodians, she makes a modest living off the land. She used to cook for her family of eight over a wood-chip fire by night. Sokhon lived the way most do in rural Cambodia—one of the poorest countries in South East Asia with a population of 15.8 million. Then, she was given the opportunity to have a 2,000 litre slate-grey tank installed in the vegetable patch. Long Sokhon was chosen as part of a biodigester pilot project run by Engineers Without Borders Australia and Live & Learn Environmental Education.
When you arrive at Kigali International Airport or any other border of Rwanda, you might get surprised when you see that your plastic bags are confiscated if you have some items packed into plastics bags. Since 2008, Rwanda has established a law regarding the prohibition of the importation and usage of polyethylene bags, and set heavy fines to anyone trying to import or use them. Plastic bags were replaced by paper bags. However, there are some situations where plastic bags are needed, such as in the health and agriculture sector, so there was a need to come up with an innovative solution to avoid environmental damage that can be caused by those plastic bags.
Nick Boerema is the Facilitator for Engineers Without Border’s Sanitation in Challenging Environments project and is based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Nick’s role includes providing technical advice on sanitation solutions and facilitating collaborative efforts to promote knowledge dissemination, innovation and adoption of best practice for sanitation in challenging environments. Nick previously worked in Australia as a project engineer for Vast Solar, managing the development and demonstration of low-cost concentrating solar thermal technology for power generation. Cleanleap's Angela McClowry recently interviewed Nick to better understand some of the challenges in sanitation and ways in which we can 'cleanleap' over existing issues.
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD) launched the Green Bond Impact Report in June 2015, with detailed information about the environment and social results expected from projects supported by its green bonds. The report provides an update on the progress of the 100 green bonds (US$8.4 billion) that have been issued to support projects aiming for low carbon and climate-ready growth in IBRD’s member countries.
In Cameroon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, there is a growing number of entrepreneurs who are turning rubbish into innovation by making paving tiles and building materials from plastic waste. Pierre Kamsouloum, an entrepreneur from the Northern region of Cameroon was pioneering the technology. Pierre joined forces with Living Earth, an international NGO, and has travelled across Cameroon and to Nigeria and Sierra Leone to train others.
A local entreprenuer in Tanzania has devised a solution that seeks to eliminate all the problems associated with unsafe/unclean water and sanitation. It will help locals avoid related diseases. What's more is that his solution is low-cost and requires no power compared to other water treatment technologies. It is also made from local materials, recyclable, and versatile in that it can be tailored to treat water in vartually any location/area. The nano-filter combines nano-filtration technologies with sand-based water filtration techniques. It has already been rolled out in the market and is gaining ground.
The traditional plastic bottle is associated with high carbon emissions, and that is set to change with the onset of a PET bottle made of 100% plant materials. The bottle was launched earlier this month by Coca Cola, and is set to help the company eliminate dependency on fossil fuels for production of PET bottles. Coca Cola has, through the previous PET bottle made of 30% plant material, achieved substantial cuts on global emissions and the new development to produce a 100% plant bottle is a key to sustainable packaging.