Finnish water, energy and ICT technologies and consultancy services could play an important role in designing and constructing green growth for example in African and Latin American countries which suffer from the impacts of climate change but benefit from quick economic development, as discussed in a conference organised by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK).
The EK Environmental Business Forum seminar organized 10 October discussed the important role that cleantech companies can play in development cooperation. Cleantech solutions can help to improve the quality of the development cooperation projects and contribute to the mitigation and adaptation of climate change impacts and other environmental challenges. At the same time, development cooperation projects could be another chance for Finnish companies to establish themselves in the quickly growing new markets in sub-Saharan Africa, for example.
In the EK conference, Gaia presented its experiences in Ethiopia and thereby gave an inspiring view of how innovative low-tech solutions generate significant results. Gaia, together with Ethio Resource Group (ERG), its Ethiopian partner, has installed fuel efficient stoves in 105 schools, two universities and three prisons in Ethiopia. The project has reduced the usage of firewood by approximately 855 tonnes a year, which in turn has preserved some 28.5 hectares of forests and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by some 1,282 tonnes a year. The project has also contributed to improved indoor air quality and less emissions of particles, which will reduce the number of respiratory diseases.
“This is an inspiring example of a development project that simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps to adapt to the impacts of climate change”, says Pasi Rinne, Chairman of the Gaia Consulting Oy.
Entrepreneurship for development
The EK conference highlighted to need to foster innovative public–private partnerships to raise awareness, provide expertise and solutions, establish necessary structures and create incentives that drive sustainable development.
“Gaia’s efficient stove project represents a modern and effective type of development project which has been designed and implemented by private sector working directly with Ethiopian responsible authorities. The entire project, effectively implemented in less than 18 months, has generated lasting, cost-effective and sustainable solutions with measurable impacts. Entrepreneurship and business development are important corner stones of modern development cooperation”, states Pasi Rinne.
There are scaling-up possibilities in Gaia’s project as 14 metal workers have been trained in stove production and business development, and the local stakeholders have become interested in improved stoves. It is anticipated that the market for the stoves can grow especially within large institutions such as universities and prisons. One university has already started producing new stoves for its own use and to be sold to other institutions, while one prison already bought 5 additional stoves from a private stove producer.
For more information:
- Pasi Rinne, Chairman of the Board, Gaia Group Oy, +358 400 464 127
- For more information on the EK conference, including presentations: www.ymparistofoorumi.fi