New Ventures to Promote Clean Energy

By Lorin Kavanaugh-Ulku, Business Call to Action

New Ventures to Promote Clean Energy
Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank

More than 12 million low-income people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America will gain access to clean energy following four companies’ commitments made today to the Business Call to Action, a global leadership initiative that promotes sustainable economic and social development. The companies also expect to create approximately 42,000 environmentally sustainable job opportunities by 2016.

The pledges that range from expanding clean energy in more than 40 developing countries to promoting sustainable use of Amazon Rainforest fruits were made at the start of the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Convention in Durbanin South Africa.

“Clean energy access is essential to building a healthier and more prosperous world. We need to come together to find bold and bankable solutions that protect our planet and promote the welfare of all people. We need CEOs, investors, utility companies and renewable energy businesses,” said Business Call to Action Acting Programme Manager Amanda Gardiner. “These pledges show the private sector’s growing commitment to address such challenges by promoting alternative solutions to traditional infrastructure and boosting environmentally sustainable jobs.”

United States-based juice company Sambazon committed to train 7,000 açaí-berry harvesters in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest on organic, non-invasive harvesting principles and environmental management principles. In addition to doubling current yields of the Amazon berry and increasing harvesters’ earnings by 40 percent by 2016, the initiative is expected to preserve over 1.2 million hectares of forestland.

“As worldwide demand for açaí continues to rise, this initiative will help promote a sustainable value chain and ensure adequate supplies of organic fruit,” said Ryan Black, CEO of Sambazon. “To date, Sambazon’s supply chain has provided alternative livelihoods for over 2,500 people and ensures the sustainable use of 700,000 hectares of in the Brazilian Amazon.”

Around 20 percent of the world’s population lacks basic access to energy and nearly three billion people use dirty fuels such as kerosene, firewood, and coal, which kill nearly two million people every year.

d.light, a solar-powered LED lighting manufacturer, committed to expand production and distribution to six million households which normally rely on kerosene lanterns – an inefficient, polluting, unhealthy, expensive and unsafe source of energy – in more than 40 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean by 2015. By providing access to safe, eco-friendly and affordable renewable light and energy, d.light’s solar-powered lamps will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to the company which has offices in Africa, Asia and the United States.

d.light’s business model provides a market-based solution to one of the most enduring development challenges: Bringing clean, affordable lighting to two billion people living off-grid,” said Donn Tice, CEO of d.light.“Our solar-powered lanterns have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of millions people around the world, removing many of the key barriers to energy access for all.”

Seeking to curb indoor air pollution caused by dirty fuels, Netherlands-based SolarNowpledged to scale-up access to solar systems for more than one million people in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda by 2015. It is anticipated the initiative will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in low-income communities by more than 22,000 tonnes.

“While some micro-financing institutions have tried to set up loan schemes to increase the uptake of solar energy in rural areas, none has proven to be scalable,” said Willem Nolens, CEO of SolarNow. “Through our unique hire purchase facility, we enable clients to purchase their own solar system and reduce carbon emissions.”

Oando Marketing PLC, the leading oil and gas marketing company in Nigeria, pledged to combat pollution by promoting access to affordable and portable liquefied petroleum gas stoves targeted at low- income households. The clean-cooking stoves will be made available through an extensive network of retailers available throughout Nigeria.

“Through this initiative, Oando promises to not only improve the daily quality of life for five million Nigerians but also generate 36,000 direct and indirect jobs along the value chain by 2015. By replacing traditional fuel sources with cleaner and greener cooking fuel sources, we can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of many of Nigeria’s households,” said Omamofe Boyo, CEO of Oando Marketing PLC.

This year the UN Secretary General launched the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, highlighting the importance of extending clean energy coverage in order to combat endemic poverty. In recognition of the importance of energy access for sustainable development the UN General Assembly designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.


For more information:

BCtA: Lorin Kavanaugh-Ulku, lo***@bu******************.org, Tel: +1 703-587-3219

d.light: Kristina Skierka, kr******@dl**********.com

Oanda: Adeyemi Oreagba, ao******@oa******.com

Sambazon: Kaia Lai, ka**@sa******.com

SolarNow: Willem Nolens, wi****@so******.eu


Sambazonis the largest vertically integrated supplier and marketer of Açaí products, controlling every step of the manufacturing process to ensure sustainable and organic origin of the fruit as well as the highest level of quality, nutrition and taste.

d.light is an international consumer products company serving people without access to reliable electricity. Our mission is to enable households without reliable electricity to attain the same quality of life as those with electricity. We will begin by replacing every kerosene lantern with clean, safe and bright light. By 2020, we aim to have improved the lives of 100 million individuals. d.lightis financed by leading social enterprise funds Omidyar Network, Acumen Fund and Gray Matters Capital; with investment from prestigious venture capital firms including Nexus India Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Garage Technology Ventures, the Mahindra Group.

OandaMarketing is a fully owned subsidiary of Oando PLC, sub-Saharan Africa’s leading integrated energy company. As the nation’s foremost oil marketer, we sell and distribute our products via our over 500 retail service stations and over 500 industrial customers cutting across the different geographical zones in Nigeria. Oando Marketing also has 2 operational subsidiaries in Ghana and Togo with over 40 service stations.

Solar Nowis unique – a social enterprise committed to bringing the benefits of cheap solar energy to millions of people in developing markets. SolarNow uses leading and proven techniques in the area of distribution, financing and quality assurance.

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