Green Enterprise: An example from Haiti
Published: Jun 25, 2013
When we see the price tag for some of the green technology out there it is easy to be deceived into thinking that being environmentally conscious is the latest fad for the wealthy. Indeed the poorest among us tend to be the ones who stand to benefit the most from energy efficiency and conservation, as oftentimes they spend a large percentage of their income on energy.
This is the case for many Haitians who are some of the poorest in the world and the solution has come from within, from an entrepreneur who believes that the business community, not foreign aid will help turn around the Haitian economy.
Duquesne Fednard built his factory just a few months before the 2010 earthquake that shook the island of Haiti. Prior to this venture he had had an opportunity to visit Ghana and see the production of charcoal stoves that were more efficient than those currently in use in Haiti.
Unfortunately after the quake his factory was destroyed, but undeterred he was able to get his business going once again, this time under tents, and his company grew. He has hit the mark because the stove as designed is more durable than others on the market, allows for more efficient use of charcoal thus cutting the energy bill for the user by 25%, this all results in a payback period of just a few weeks.
In his words, “D&E is committed to providing cost-effective solutions using clean energy to the communities whose resources are limited, in order to break the cycle of energy poverty and stimulate economic growth.”
For his efforts, his company, D&E Green Enterprises won the Ashden Award from the Royal Geographical Society in London “which aims to promote concrete and local energy solutions that help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of the population”. It was the first prize of its kind awarded to the category of Small Island Developing States.
This business creates direct employment for 30 workers and for the additional distributors who are trained to sell the stoves. Through its more efficient use of charcoal it has the potential to slow the deforestation of this island which has less than 2% of its forest left.
Environmental stewardship has its place in countries big and small, rich or poor. I get very excited about seeing how very simple changes can have a big impact on the lives of people.
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Sonia Brown is the principal of Graphite Engineering Ltd. and is a registered professional engineer.