Climate Story Jeffrey Gogo
International funding of more than $250,000 is to go towards capacitating and training Zimbabwean companies to improve their energy and water use efficiency, Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe (BCSDZ) executive director, Tawanda Muzamwese has said.
The money, which comes in the form of technological support, will be used to meet a target of boosting energy and water use efficiency in ten selected, “high impact” companies across different industries, as part of efforts to tackle climate change, he said.
The plan is set out in a Technical Assistance note titled “Promoting Rapid Intake of Industrial Energy Efficiency and Efficient Water Use in Selected Zimbabwe Industries”, co-funded by the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). Accountants PriceWaterhouseCoopers India will lead the project, undertaking a series of energy and water audits in the chosen firms.
Under the plan, support will cover companies in food processing and beverages, leather and footwear, agrochemical production, including fertiliser production, and timber processing, said Muzamwese.
Mining and mineral processing, cement production, cable manufacturing, construction, waste management and dairy have also been shortlisted.
Nine months from now, the companies will be expected to serve as models towards a greener industry.
“The technical assistance includes guidance on carrying out energy and water audits in ten industrial units, guidance on the implementation of ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems and raising of awareness on the importance of resource efficiency,” Muzamwese told The Herald Business on May 3, by email.
The CTCN is the operational arm of the technology mechanism under the UN’s climate convention. It offers legal and policy expertise, technical training and technology transfer support to willing developing countries keen to achieve low-carbon growth. In 2015, Zimbabwe made three requests for such kind of assistance
One request centres on the development of a climate-smart agriculture manual for agriculture education; the other on water use and industrial energy efficiency — submitted jointly by the BCSDZ and the Climate Ministry — and lastly, on drafting bankable climate proposals. The requests were all approved in 2016.
Businesses lag behind0
Climate change demands that industry strengthens its framework of policy and regulation, and deliver improved environmental, economic and social outcomes from well-managed companies.
By implementing plans that support low-carbon development, companies are not only helping themselves, but also contributing towards Zimbabwe’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by 33 percent, or 17 000 gigatonnes, between now and 2030, as pledged under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
There are also other financial benefits for corporates, including higher prices for products originating from a certified eco-friendly firm, access to certified markets and improved access to funding, experts say. But businesses so far haven’t played a significant part in transitioning to cleaner energy, even though they have been one of the biggest sources of emissions.
That’s in part due to a lack of clear-cut national policies for driving renewable energy use in industry, which consumes 64 percent of the national electricity supply.
Inefficiencies also cut through the water sector, where, together with urban households, industry accounts for up to 15 percent of national consumption, according to Government data
“Limited monitoring and measurement of water and energy use, outdated equipment and inefficient processes have resulted in energy and water consumption above global industry benchmarks,” said Muzamwese.
For example, the global standard for making a litre of beer is seven litres of water. In Zimbabwe a litre of beer is made from between 14 and 16 litres of water.
“With each litre, more coal is being put into the furnace, more water drawn from the dam…it’s an entire chain that results in more emissions, more industrial waste and water shortages. In view of climate change, we intend to look at energy and water efficiency use in industry,” said Elisha Moyo, a climate change researcher with the Zimbabwe Government, in a previous interview.
Government figures show that the industrial sector is growing by about two percent on the average each year, but the share of renewable energy as a percentage of total industry power consumption is just one.
Mr Muzamwese is hoping that improved energy and water use efficiency in industry will be key to achieving the national target of avoiding the equivalent of 1 300 gigatonnes of carbon emissions from improved energy efficiency alone, by 2030.
He expects that when the CTCN assistance expires in nine months, “energy and water use efficiency from the ten demonstration companies to have reduced to an extent that cost savings lead to profitable operations and that local technical staff are trained to scale up such projects.” About 40 people from industry, Government and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) will receive training.
Officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce see the project as a chance to modernise businesses and boost economic growth.
There was a half-day inception workshop hosted by the Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe, a coalition of 80 blue – chip Zimbabwean companies, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, for this purpose in Harare on May 3. The meeting was attended by officials from the Energy Ministry and those from SAZ. Energy regulator ZERA and the Scientific Industrial Research Development Corporation (SIRDC) were also represented
As the National Designated Entity, a UN accredited regulator responsible for facilitating all private and public funding proposals to the Green Climate Fund, a Uinted Nations financial mechanism, the Climate Ministry, was expected to show leadership in climate mitigation.
To do that, the Ministry must also accredit implementing entities capable of meeting up with the Fund’s fiduciary standards. SIRDC has since been accredited as one such entity. Accreditation is crucial to ensuring transparency, accountability, monitoring, reporting and evaluation for any money disbursed.
The Business Council will likely work with all these organisations to achieve its targets.