Many companies from the likes of Tesla Motors and Hyundai that are providing green goods and services and are reaping huge profits.This market sector is making use of not only new technology, but also innovative business models, and approaches and is likely the new face of entrepreneurship.
On clean energy globally, it is estimated that more than 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity, and at least 2.7 billion people lack access to clean cookstoves and fuels. While not the primary source of climate pollution, inefficient lighting and cooking contribute to climate change and the degradation of natural resources. These in turn has seen companies come up with alternative sources clean technologies like solar lamps and clean cookstoves.
Here are some companies in the different sectors that are in the forefront when it comes to environment conservation:
Mr Green Africa
The company incentivizes marginalized waste pickers and base of the pyramid stakeholders by offering premium prices and added benefits, to provide a continuous supply of valuable recyclables which in turn creates pathways out of poverty for them, while simultaneously creating a positive environmental impact. Mr. Green Africa then processes the recyclable material into valuable raw material and feeds it back into plastic manufacturers’ supply chain to enable them to achieve their circular economy goals, and benefit from raw material cost savings.
Waste management is a huge issue in Africa and Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is no exception. The city produces around 2,400 tonnes a day, of which roughly 60% is collected and only around 10% recycled. The rest is dumped illegally or burned.Mr Green Africa who is an alumni of Nairobi Garage partnered with Unilever in 2018 where the consumer goods manufacturer injected Sh30 million in Mr Green Africa in a pact that would see the plant’s collection centres rise from the current 25 to 100 across the country in two years.
M-Kopa is a Kenyan solar energy company. The company has pioneered and built one of the world’s most advanced Pay-As-You-Go platforms to upgrade millions of lives in East Africa (Kenya and Uganda) M-Kopa was launched commercially in 2012, As of March 2019, over 700,000 homes and businesses across are being empowered by M-Kopa’s connected technology and consumer finance.
M-Kopa offers pay-as-you-go solar home systems, with payments collected in small amounts using mobile money or digital payments. Instead of collateral, M-Kopa uses embedded mobile technology to remotely control the system. If payments are late, then the system can be disabled until the customer catches up.
The company claims that energy is a vital step towards economic inclusion. It also says that families are saving an average of US$183 annually – by replacing kerosene, candles and batteries. With the growing range of upgrade products, M-Kopa maintains that its flexible financing model, underpinned by IOT systems and telemetry, is a scalable and efficient way for low-income households to finance life-changing services and products.
Amour Vert is recommended by Cosmopolitan as one of the top twenty eco-fashion brands. Amour Vert is an American company that produces clothes and accessories like shoes, bags and jewelry made from sustainable materials, and non-toxic dyes following a zero waste policy.
The fabrics used are Tencel and Modal which are derived from eucalyptus and beech that can be grown without the heavy chemical applications that cotton needs. Cotton when it is used is certified organic. Polyester clothes are made from recycled material so they ensure waste reduction. For every tee-shirt that is purchased from them they plant a tree in north America.
Fast fashion industry is the second largest polluter with a large carbon footprint, according to EcoWatch, because of the use of pesticides and fertilizers in producing raw materials, toxic dyes during production and the waste produced by changing fashions. Amour Vert addresses all these problems and planting trees ensures it is reducing its carbon footprint.
Powerhive develops scalable, bankable off-grid utility solutions to create a future where everyone has access to clean energy and the opportunities that come with it
Powerhive,who is also a member of Nairobi Garage offers key tools and services for implementing profitable rural electrification projects in energy access markets around the world. The company’s technology platform is ideal for energy providers and developers of any size and can be integrated with new projects or as a retrofit for existing mini grids.
In 2015, Powerhive East Africa Ltd., became the first private company in Kenya’s history to receive a utility concession to generate, distribute, and sell electricity to the Kenyan public.
The concession allowed Powerhive East Africa to scale up its operations in the region, beginning in Kisii and Nyamira counties in western Kenya, and to deliver electricity directly to hundreds of rural communities that are beyond the reach of the national grid.
In 2018, Powerhive partnered with Cape Town based solar micro-leasing marketplace Sun Exchange to use the crypto-economy to fund energy access for 175 000 people in rural Kenya living without electricity. The partnership was expected to raise $23-million, which will fund 150 new projects.
Over the past eight years Powerhive, who recently joined Nairobi Garage has built a vertically integrated platform that allows the company to identify, construct and operate the high quality and low cost solar-powered mini-grids in Africa.
Weleda is one of the oldest cosmetic companies whose entire range is natural and organic, attested by the certification by NATRUE. They offer face, body, skin, and baby care and wellness products derived from flowers, fruits, and plants. They guarantee that all their products are free of chemicals harmful to people and the environment, like paraben, synthetic perfumes, and preservatives, sodium-laurel-sulfate, and phthalates. Moreover, they use no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) either.
Founded in 1998, Solar Century has been around since the early days of the industry and have been part of the evolution that has made solar electricity the mainstream energy source that it is today.
The company has put solar on a greater variety of sites than any other company in the industry and won multiple awards for leadership and innovation. To date, Solarcentury has developed and built more than 1 GWp and has a pipeline of 2.4 GWp.
Solarcentury works work end-to-end: developing, structuring finance, building and operating solar projects at commercial and utility scale. The company works with partners to bring solar to their customers’ homes and is committed to making solar more accessible and attractive. Customers benefit from Solarcentury’s experience in terms of engineering quality, financial stability and sheer breadth of deployment.
Solarcentury is in business for a purpose: to make a meaningful difference in the fight against climate change through the widespread adoption of solar power. As a big believer that solar can help change our world for the better, the company contributes 5% of our annual net profits to SolarAid; the charity founded by Solarcentury which aims to eradicate kerosene lamps from Africa.
In Kenya, Solar Century has worked on over 10 solar projects with the latest being an installation at Galleria mall . Solar Century also built a ground-mounted 500kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) system at Mombasa’s Moi International Airport, installation of three solar PV plants at the Nairobi-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe).
Other projects include a one MWp solar PV for Williamson Tea at its Changoi Tea Farm, a 500kWp system at ALP in Tatu City and setting up of a roof solar system for London Distillers in Athi River, Kenya. This latest project follows the signing of a contract to build Solar PV at a Unilever Tea Factory in Kericho.
Harnessing the potential of women and women’s network to increase the use of clean energy technologies is an integral part of climate change initiatives. To address this need, the United States Department of State (in honor of Gender Day), launched the Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER) at the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-19) in January 2013.
The partnership was launched under the Green Belt Movement International (GBMI). wPOWER’s initial activities were implemented at the Wangari Maathai Institute of Peace and Environmental Studies (University of Nairobi) and involved training and equipping rural women with clean energy entrepreneurial skills.
Working together with these key partners, wPOWER aimed to empower more than 8,000 women clean energy entrepreneurs across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, and India to deliver clean energy access to more than 3.5 million people by September 2018.
Wind energy has become one of the cheapest sources of energy, and in 2017 became cheaper than fossil fuel fuels.
Vestas, which is also on the Carbon Clean 200 list, is devoted to producing only wind power. A Danish firm, Vesta started as a blacksmith shop in 1898. A pioneer in the field of wind energy, it is now a global player, accounting for 16% of installations worldwide. It has installations in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
They want to ensure the cost of wind power keeps decreasing. They have already helped to make wind a mainstream source of energy. Vesta is working on making its turbines more environment friendly and also reduce the carbon footprint of their manufacture.
Greenpeace considers wind is vital and to be one of the main carbon-free renewable sources of energy which can together meet more than 95% electricity and heating demands with available technologies. In this scenario, the past and future contribution of firms, like Vestas, that are committed to making wind turbines bigger and better to provide cheap energy is invaluable. Wind power can reduce carbon emissions to keep global warming below 1.50C.
In Kenya some of the Vestas wind turbines have been installed in areas such as the Ngong’ Hills in Kajiado County.
EcoPost is a Kenyan company that uses 100% recycled plastics to make aesthetic, durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber for use in applications ranging from fencing to landscaping. As of 2014 EcoPost generated over Sh10.8 million in revenue in a year and saved over 250 acres of forests and withdrawn over 1,000,000 kilograms of plastic waste from the environment.
The company has won a number of awards including the Green Award by the Transform Kenya Awards, a joint initiative of the Standard Group and Deloitte.
The company has gotten recognition under World Wildlife Fund’s Nature Award, 2010 SEED Award, the 2009 Enablis Business Award, the 2010 Bid Network Nature Challenge Award and the 2011 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award.
Fireclay makes bricks, architectural moldings, and tiles for walls, bathrooms, kitchens, and subways. They rely on locally sourced recycled material for their production process. This includes processed gravel from neighboring plants, post- industrial glass and recycled glass from curbside collection, porcelain from curbside collection, and fireclay scraps from second quality tiles.
The company which started as a tile factory in the 1920s, operates at its original location in the middle of agricultural California. The manufacture methods are sustainable and products are hand-crafted. Each consignment is made to order and people can choose from the available range and styles or suggest customized combinations. The company is proud that its employees are also share-holders in the firm.
Companies which make wealth out of waste are using available technology to reduce waste accumulation and all its attendant problems and create imaginative products for people. Using green building materials from companies like Fireclay Tile creates less waste.
Steelcase makes chairs, desks, cabinets, architectural elements like panels, floors, and work-tools like whiteboards, lighting using only safe materials that can be recycled. Moreover, the products are also designed in such a way that the components can be easily dismantled by people for refurbishing or recycling.
This ensures that after the product is used, at the end of its life-cycle, when the company buys them back, the durable parts in good condition can be reused to make the same products again. This involves careful planning from the design stage, and waste management is an integral part of the product concept