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Wilderness reduces plastic water bottle use

Keikantse Lesemela

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In its attempts to reduce plastic water bottle usage and promote environmental conservation in Botswana, Wilderness Safaris Botswana achieved its target of 76 percent reduction on plastic bottle usage in 2017.

The company has been awarded the winner of National Energy Globe Award Botswana for its innovation in wastewater management and water conservation through the reduction of plastic water bottles. In 2012, the company identified plastic water bottle usage as a challenge that needed to be addressed due to the effects of production and disposal of plastic bottles, as well as the carbon emissions and cost of distributing the water into and out of camps, which are located in remote wilderness areas.

An initial five-year water conservation strategy was launched that year, with a key target to reduce the group’s bottled water usage per guest bednight to a group average of 0.8 litres by the end of the 2017 financial year. Wilderness Safaris Botswana Environmental Manager, Segametsi Monnamorwa said since the start of the project, they managed to bring down the total number of the plastic 500 ml water bottles used in Botswana camps from 128 870 in 2012 to 42 966 in 2018.

“Not only were we delighted to hit our first target at the end of 2017, we have since achieved a total reduction of 76 percent across the Wilderness Group, with an average of 0.5 litres per bednight as of 2018. As the leaders in authentic and sustainable ecotourism we are constantly thinking of ways in which we can minimise impact produced by waste,” said Monnamorwa.

In addition to the Bottled Water Strategy, they have also renewed their efforts on effective waste separation at all camps, going to great lengths to ensure that recyclable materials, including plastic, are recycled and not placed in a landfill. “We have also just launched an active campaign in Botswana to reduce the use of packaging and plastic wrap across all camps, sourcing locally-produced fresh produce wherever possible and setting up agreements with suppliers to recycle and reuse packaging material; and most recently banning the use of plastic straws,” said Morwamonna.

The Energy Globe Awards were founded in 1999 by Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and are today considered one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards.

The programme is under the patronage of UNESCO and is conducted in cooperation with UNEP. This year, more than 2 000 entries were received from 182 countries, each of which was evaluated by high-profile experts from the Energy Globe evaluation committee. Meanwhile the government of Botswana recently announced the ban on the use of plastic carrier bags to curb environmental pollution.

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UN, De Beers launch programme for Women

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The most recent opportunity for women entrepreneurs is the United Nations (UN) and De Beers project – a three-year capacity-building programme to improve the livelihoods of more than 1,200 women micro-entrepreneurs in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Launched last month, the project is tailored specifically for each country, and is expected to be delivered with local implementation partners and focus on regions that have high levels of unemployment and where formal job opportunities are limited.

“Through these programmes, we hope to equip women entrepreneurs with the skills, training and confidence to build successful and sustainable businesses,” said Bruce Cleaver, Chief Executive Officer, De Beers Group. Cleaver believes the project will help prop up communities’ economic activities, as women are proven to reinvest more of their income back into the community and to actively support the creation of jobs for others.

According to De Beers Group the beneficiaries will be equipped with management skills to build confidence and capacity to operate and grow successful small businesses. Anne Shongwe, UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office said the programme aims to complement national efforts on job creation and economic empowerment of women.

“Investing in women’s economic empowerment, particularly with women in the informal sector, sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” said Shongwe.

She further said investing in the capacity development of women micro-entrepreneurs leads to women having higher incomes, better access to and control over resources.

The programme is part of De Beers Group’s three-year partnership with UN Women, which includes a US$3 million investment to advance women and girls in De Beers Group’s diamond producing countries, announced in September last year. Over the past years women pioneers who have passionately grown local businesses include, Theresa Mokoka, renowned female farmer in Kweneng, Nkata Seleka, founder and owner of Sleek Foods, among others.

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Seed Co lists on the BSEL bourse

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Seed Co, the Africa-focused seed company has listed its shares on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) effective 5th October 2018. The shares for the Zimbabwean based company started trading on the same day.

“This is a primary listing by way of introduction of the issued share capital of Seed Co, comprising of 379,331,127 of ordinary shares on the main Board of the BSEL,” reads BSEL media statement. Seed Co is a leading certified seed company authorized to market seed varieties developed by itself, government and other associated seed breeders in over fifteen (15) African countries. The company is involved in the breeding, multiplication and distribution of mainly hybrid seed varieties.

In commenting on this milestone by Seed Co, the Chief Executive Officer of BSEL Thapelo Tsheole highlighted that, “this reinforces the value of listing companies on the exchange as this listing reiterates that for companies that wish to raise capital or increase visibility in the market, the stock exchange is the right avenue”. He further said BSEL is happy to welcome a company of Seed Co’s stature to the market.

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