Sustainable Development in Business

Sustainable Development in the Business sector

Carbon Footprinting - MEXA Blue Carbon Label and Awards

The Blue Carbon Award is the natural extension of the Mauritius Blue Carbon Label recently developed by MEXA in its endeavour to lead a carbon emissions reduction project (CERP), to help its members to understand the carbon footprints of the products, sites and services they use at the same time protecting the environment through a sustainable development of manufacturing processes and trade.

MEXA has over the last two years hosted a series of workshops and seminars to guide export companies in their quest of carbon footprint reduction. MEXA has initiated the first ever Blue Carbon Award in 2010 in an aim to recognize companies who make sustainability work and carbon mitigation in business practice in Mauritius. MEXA held the first edition of the Blue Carbon Award Ceremony on Monday April 18, 2011. Having demonstrated an absolute reduction of their footprint or equivalent relative efficiency improvement of more than 40%, the seven participating companies namely Consolidated Dyeing & Fabric Ltd, Ferme Marine de Mahebourg, FM Denim Ltd, RT Knits Ltd, T&T International Ltd, Tamak Textile and Poster Graphics proudly received their blue carbon certification. The company is independently assessed by official assessor Rexizon C.E. Ltd, a third party for its carbon footprint at the end of each financial year, taking into account the GHG Protocol.

The Blue carbon Award from MEXA serves as an important acknowledgment for companies who make sustainability work and carbon mitigation in business practice in Mauritius. The promotion of carbon footprint through a recognized Carbon Reduction Label will enhance brand reputation and sales appeal. Being Blue Carbon awarded will help to put a business in-step with future policies that will have a significant impact on domestic and on the wider marketplace.

Energy Audits in Manufacturing Companies by Enterprise Mauritius

There is a need for an efficient use of energy in manufacturing enterprises which can constitute the foundation for energy management initiatives and investment decisions in more energy efficient equipment and renewable energy options. Enterprise Mauritius (EM) has fully funded energy audits by consultants to manufacturing companies towards further investment in expertise and equipment leading to more efficient operations and green productivity. The audit reports highlight modifications in the present set up of the processes with investment in possible equipment wherever applicable. The recommendations for all the manufacturing companies audited have been geared towards water savings, electrical energy savings, energy savings from boiler operation and general investment measures including energy efficient equipment as well as renewable energy utilization such as solar and wind energy.

After taking stock of the energy reports, enterprises are developing an implementation plan, which includes restructuring as well as investment in machinery and equipment, in consultation with EM. Some of the measures proposed, notably the quick wins with negligible investment has already been implemented in most of the companies audited. The enterprises have found this exercise fruitful since in some cases there is no dedicated engineer for energy or environmental management as it adds to their overhead cost. Based on the energy audits carried out through this project, these organisations may now work on the implementation of best energy practices. Enterprise Mauritius is seeking assistance from donor agencies to financially support the local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in opting for renewable energy technologies as well as energy efficient processes.

Adoption of Green Productivity measures in industry, particularly in SMEs, will lead to immediate improvements in productivity as a result of increased efficiency gains in resource use, lower cost of production and lower environmental compliance costs. Other benefits include competitive advantage, a better working environment, better employee participation and teamwork and greater job satisfaction.


Cleaner Production at Richfield Tang Knits Ltd (RT Knits)

Richfield Tang Knits Ltd (RT Knits) is a textile manufacturing company employing about 1600 employees with an annual production capacity of 16 million units of jersey wear. It has taken initiative to move towards “sustainable textile production,” incorporating “Green Productivity Techniques” into a new facility in La Tour Koenig, near Port Louis.

Using wind and solar energy, collecting rain water, and changing the company’s perspective, RT Knits is an example for the local textile industry. In building the La Tour Koenig facility (which includes a 800,000 sq. ft. factory built on 30 acres of land), RT Knits spent approximately 25 million USD on green features. This includes using solar and wind power in creative ways and collecting and reusing rain water. All of these innovations result in a 30 percent reduction in overall fuel consumption.

Buildings were designed in such a way so as to make use of renewable energies, e.g. make up building facing the north to exploit indirect soft sunlight instead of using tube lights and knitting block facing the South East Trade Winds for natural ventilation, thereby substituting the use of electricity to provide comfortable, clean work environment. RT Knits installed more than 150 solar panels on the main factory building and use it directly to heat water used in the dyeing process--reducing the use of fossil fuels for heating by 80 percent and generation of hot water for about 600 persons in dormitory instead of LPG.

Wind power is also being used directly in the factory through special vents installed in the wall facing the wind that are manually opened and closed. The wind can be used to remove excess cotton that is produced during fabric processing—something usually done by electric fans or vacuums. LED lights (4 W) were placed on machines, hence tube lights not required during the day. Efficient T5 and CFL tubes replacing conventional tubes (56 kW) and LED Emergency lights were placed on the whole site.

Rain water is collected on the roof of the building and then converged to infiltrations basins connected to boreholes. The groundwater is replenished and avoids surface runoff and flooding to surrounding inhabitants’ houses.

The storage warehouse on the La Tour Koenig property is completely unplugged, using only natural lighting during the day and stored solar power at night. The on-site cafeteria, dormitory, and offices have all been constructed with windows that provide natural lighting for as long as possible during daylight hours.

Other environmental initiatives include constant monitoring of all dyeing processes to optimize the lowest possible use of chemicals, water, heavy fuel oil and LPG and using eco-friendly chemicals and dyes. Awareness raising sessions on energy conservation and protection of the environment are organized for employees, including distribution of solar water heaters and CFL.

What RT Knits gain through the implementation of these cleaner production measures are lower production costs, compliance with regulations, improved work environment, and positive press coverage of their initiatives.

Sustainable Buildings and Constructions for Mauritius and Rodrigues

One of the key priority areas identified in the SCP programme is Sustainable Buildings and Construction. Buildings consume a lot of energy, materials and natural resources. In recent years, various international forums have provided evidence that sustainable buildings and construction can cut down about one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, hence being able to play a key role in combating and addressing climate change.

Built–up areas are estimated to cover about 25% of the land in Mauritius and this percentage is increasing every year. Between 7, 000 and 10, 000 building permits are granted each year for residential as well as non-residential development purposes. In this context, a comprehensive framework is under development to address the sustainability of the built environment and promote sustainable buildings and construction in Mauritius and Rodrigues.

The Sustainable Buildings and Constructions project was commissioned by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and financed by the European Union. The main objectives of the project were:
(i) To develop a Policy Paper on sustainable buildings and constructions
(ii) Establish a Building Rating System with integrated guidelines on sustainable buildings and constructions

The Building Rating System

The structure of the ‘Brilliant Pearl Green Building Rating System for Mauritius and Rodrigues’ has been based on 6 groups of criteria:
1. Site and Ecology
2. Resource Based Water Management
3. Resource Based Energy Management
4. Materials and Resources
5. Indoor Environmental Quality
6. Management and Innovation

35 individual criteria have been defined under the 6 groups developed. These criteria have been classified as being either mandatory or voluntary ones. Currently, 15 out of the 35 criteria are classified as mandatory. The 6 groups of criteria are accompanied by a series of guidelines which define the implementation of the defined criteria.

The proposed policy framework recommends that the basic requirements for sustainable buildings be integrated in the legal framework for buildings. Additionally the exisiting guidelines developed by the Ministry of Housing and Lands with regard to the building infrastructure and land use be treated as secondary legislations.

Institutional framework:
The report also recommends the establishment of an institution which will be responsible for all matters relating to the promotion of Sustainable Buildings and Constructions. This office will be similar to the Energy Efficiency Management office and will coordinate all activities which will contribute to the implementation the recommendations of this project.

Photo gallery Opening ceremony of consultative WG 
14 June 2011
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