BEE Biofuel’s owner, Bruce Salt, a Namibian entrepreneur, has stepped up to meet one of the principal needs during the global pandemic. Covid-19 has forced borders and businesses to be closed – either temporarily or long-term – and the resultant need for solutions to new and existing challenges has spawned innovations from local businesses.
Partnering with Nedbank Namibia, Salt has shifted his company’s production to now also provide sanitisers – one of the most important products in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Using ink disposed of by a local printing company, BEE Biofuel distils back ethanol, an essential ingredient for sanitisers. In this way, the company provides much needed ‘green’ hand sanitiser, surface sanitiser and antibacterial hand soap.
Driven by the belief that any waste can be raw material for another company or industry, Salt asserts that waste should become food for another process either by virtue of a by-product or recovered resource for another industrial process, or as regenerative resources for nature. “We are a big supporter of zero-waste landfill,” he says.
This also encourages a more circular economy where Namibian industries move closer to depending more on one another to survive, rather than procuring from outside sources.
While lockdown has brought obstacles to both regular production and consumption habits, even during these trying times both parties strive to remain vigilant of their carbon footprint, as well as that of communities and the country.
Britt du Plessis, Nedbank’s head of business banking, says the bank’s Green credit line provides versatile funding on the investment cost and tailored support to project developers in the entire life cycle of the project. The bank’s offering is an innovative programme, specifically designed to fund or assist local businesses to enable them to seize opportunities in greening the country’s economy.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, Nedbank has always had the protection of our country’s pristine natural beauty and heritage at heart, and we will certainly be looking at ways to support enterprises that innovate through reducing, reusing and recycling,” said Du Plessis.
Though BEE Biofuel had previously been a small-scale producer of these products, they recently upscaled due to the great need within the local market. They have done this, despite the high cost of importing additional ethanol from South Africa, as the local supply is extremely limited.
“The demand for ethanol-based hand sanitiser skyrocketed in recent months and will likely continue to do so even after the industry becomes more regulated in the near future. We believe this venture is an opportunity for Namibia as a whole to become more self-sufficient regarding production, especially of highly necessary hygiene products such as ours. In the coming months and even years, Namibian industries will need to support one another to a far greater extent in a concerted effort to avoid production obstacles,” commented Salt.
The global crisis continues and consumers are urged to support local businesses, in the hope that the country may emerge from this disaster stronger – and, in this case, perhaps with a new local favourite sanitiser brand intact.
2020-06-12 10:01:41 | 3 months ago