By Kathryn Lee
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- Can the small, for-profit business model be applied to environmental services to yield positive outcomes, both financially and environmentally? How do businesses balance social and environmental objectives with making a profit?
- This chapter examines small business’ role in environmentalism in Ethiopia, specifically the small, for-profit business model.
- Micro and small enterprises (MSEs) play an essential role in alleviating poverty through income generation and employment. Can Ethiopia implement this same business model in aiding their environment?This research determined that Selam Awassa Business Group (SABG) is a successful small, for-profit business model. SABG manufactures agriculture equipment, construction equipment, and renewable energy technologies for rural farmers.
- By utilizing a triple bottom line approach that incorporates social, environmental, and economical objectives, SABG is able to both alleviate stress on the Ethiopian environment and also provide economical support to the community. SABG takes into account these three aspects because they produce tools to take the burden off of the environment, take into account the needs of the communities, and follow their goal of making a profit.
- An area of improvement is better communication and analysis of positive environmental change due to the technologies they produce.
In Ethiopia, out of a population of 80 million, 35 million are living in abject poverty. Currently the population cannot be sustained by the natural resources available. The Ethiopian population has endured severe stress from environmental degradation. Several factors influencing poverty in Ethiopia are arid conditions leading to irregular production in the agriculture sector, improper marketing strategies of agricultural products, and degrading ecology. Addressing these issues will not only help the state of the Ethiopian environment but also help to reduce poverty.
The role of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in employment and income generation is increasingly recognized as a solution for Ethiopia and has become a viable option for policymakers with dual objectives of enhancing growth and alleviating poverty. This research seeks to answer the question if MSEs can also play a role in alleviating environmental degradation.
The research question of this chapter is can the small, for-profit business model be applied to environmental services to yield positive outcomes, both financially and environmentally? The methods utilized for this research were a comprehensive literature review on governmental institutions and policies relevant to micro and small enterprise, development, and the environment. Also, the research incorporated interviews and email correspondences with Selam Awassa Business Group (SABG). This research exercised Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis.
Selam Awassa Business Group is a successful small business because it yields positive financial and environmental outcomes. They are able to do this through utilizing a triple bottom line approach. SABG takes into account these three aspects because they produce tools to take the burden off of the environment, taking into account the needs of the communities, and their goal of making a profit. While there could be more communication as far as measuring the business’ environmental impacts, they are a positive example of a small, for-profit business involved in environmental issues in Ethiopia.
Environmentalism and business are often at odds in terms of goals and approaches (Jansen, 1995). At the extreme, environmentalists want to save the environment at all economic costs, while entrepreneurs want to secure profits at all environmental costs (Nelson, 2012). However, environmental resources have strong implications for local and national economies and governments, businesses, and communities are beginning to recognize these links. Economic growth is a driving force behind all nations’ operations, especially in developing countries, such as Ethiopia.
A “microenterprise” is a small business that employs a small number of employees (Gebreeyesus, 2009). Microenterprises often operate with fewer than 10 people and start with a small amount of capital. Most microenterprises specialize in providing goods or services for their local area. Microenterprises are business enterprises found in all sectors of the Ethiopian economy with a paid-up capital (fixed assets) that does not exceed Birr 20,000, excluding high-tech consultancy firms and other high-tech establishments. Small Enterprises are business enterprises with a paid-up capital between Birr 20,000 ($2,500) and Birr 500,000 ($62,500), also excluding high-tech businesses. (1 US$ equals about 18 Birr, 1 Euro equals about 24 Birr in 2012) (Gagel, 2012). The opportunities in microbusiness encourage poor individuals and families to start their own businesses, earn income, and benefit their communities (Gebreeyesus, 2009). Ethiopia has embraced the concept of micro and small enterprises (MSEs), as evidenced by MSE Development Strategy in 1997 followed by the proclamation for the establishment of the Federal Agency for Micro and Small Enterprises Development in 1998 (Mulugeta, 2008). Applying microenterprise to environmentalism provides an opportunity for cooperation between economic development and environmental sustainability.
Governments, businesses, and communities have increasingly recognized MSEs for their income and employment generation (Wasihun & Paul, 2010). In Sub-Saharan Africa, the informal sector (outside of agriculture) includes self-employment and informal enterprises and employs 72% of the population (Wasihun & Paul, 2010). Because MSEs have demonstrated abilities to reduce poverty in developing countries, many Sub-Saharan countries have adopted development strategies that promote MSEs (Gebreeyesus, 2007). The Ethiopian Development Research Institute stated in Growth of Micro-Enterprises: Empirical evidence from Ethiopia that “governments and the donor community [have increased] their involvement with MSE assistance programs that include; improving availability of credit, vocational training programs and short trainings to entrepreneurs and their workers, and facilitating markets services among others” (Gebreeyesus, 2007, 2).
In Ethiopia, according to the 2002 nationwide survey of the Central Statistics Authority (CSA), there were 974,676 cottage and handicraft manufacturing establishments engaging more than 1.3 million people. About 94.2 per cent were active owners, partners, or family workers; employees constituted only 4.3 per cent. The Small Scale Manufacturing Survey (CSA 2003) also shows that there were 31,863 small-scale manufacturing industries engaging 97,782 persons (Ageba & Amha, 2006).
The Ethiopian Government further supports MSEs in the role of national development through public policy (Wasihun & Paul, 2010). The National Micro and Small Enterprises Strategy in 1997 and the Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agency in 1998 both supported the role of MSEs in the Ethiopian economy. More recently, as stated in United Nations University “the country’s industrial policy in 2003 and the poverty reduction strategy in 2006 have singled out MSEs as major instruments to create a productive and vibrant private sector and reduce poverty” (Gebreeyesus, 2009). Through these policies, the government has signaled its recognition of the important role of MSEs in the development sector.
Furthermore, the Ethiopian government invests in development, which directly impacts small businesses. As Engida et al. (2011) observed: “Under the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP), implemented from 2005/06 to 2009/10, Ethiopia achieved rapid economic growth and laid a foundation for future growth by making substantial investments in infrastructure and human capital. The Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) for 2010/11–2014/15, Ethiopia’s new five year plan, sets even higher growth and investment targets” (Engida et al., 2011, vi). Ethiopia’s natural resources are decreasing but the government is looking to increase economic development; therefore, environmentally conscious growth should be incorporated in the country. Ethiopia is one of the most environmentally degraded regions in the world and struggles with deforestation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and declines in soil fertility and water quality (FFE, 2011b; Conservation International, 2007; McKee, 2007 cited in (Kefauver, 2011)). The Ethiopian government recognizes the vital link between environmental degradation and the livelihoods of its citizens. The 1997 Environmental Policy of Ethiopia stated “natural resources are the foundation of the economy” (Environmental Protection Authority & Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation, 1997). With an economically beneficial solution to these environmental problems, collaborative management among stakeholders is possible. Given the state of the environment and Ethiopia’s economic goals, small, for-profit, environmental business may be an effective model for advancing environmental causes.
This research focuses on the small, for-profit business model. Specifically, this paper seeks to answer the question how do businesses balance social and environmental objectives with making a profit? Can the small, for-profit business model be applied to environmental services to yield positive outcomes, both financially and environmentally?
Since the 1990s, the ties between the environment and development have become increasingly apparent. According to proceedings from the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment & Development Conference in Rio de Janerio, “business and industry, including transnational corporations, should recognize environmental management as among the highest corporate priorities and as a key determinant to sustainable development” (Weiss, 1992). In 1994, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) identified protecting the environment as one of four pillars of the agency’s strategy for sustainable development. Around the same time, the World Bank published the report “Making Development Sustainable: From Concepts to Action,” in which it merged economic, ecological, and social objectives under the rubric of “environmentally sustainable development” (Jansen, 1995). Because international institutions are recognizing the importance of incorporating environmentally friendly practices in development and business, small developing countries will be able adapt their businesses to be more sustainable.
While there has been much research pertaining to the individual subjects of MSEs, development, and the environment in Ethiopia, there is little research that links the three together. This paper looks at the connection of MSEs to positive environmental outcomes in Ethiopia, both of which are vital to the economy and the environment.
In order to better understand the small, for-profit business model and to measure its environmental impact, this research will highlight Selam Awassa Business Group (SABG) as the model for sustainable development.
This paper focuses on this business because it exemplifies initiatives that are conscious of environmental issues in Ethiopia, despite being a for-profit organization. Its successes allow this paper to focus on the business’s areas of strength, but also on areas where it could improve its practices. This research looks at many aspects of the business, including mission, personnel, location, and program strategies. It utilizes library research, qualitative interviews with the businesses, and GIS analysis.
Ethiopia has a population over 62 million people, is the second most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, and has a population growth rate that is among the highest in the world (Ezra, 2001). According to the 1994 census, about 85 percent of the population lives in rural areas (Ezra, 2001; CSA, 1998) and depends on subsistence farming. The country is one of the poorest on earth. The Human Development Report 2000 ranks Ethiopia 171st out of 174 countries (Ezra, 2001; UNDP, 2000). Low socioeconomic status, poor weather conditions, massive land degradation, and lack of basic infrastructure for intensive land use has undermined agricultural growth (Ezra, 2001). Ethiopia is a primarily agricultural based economy, and also has floriculture industries in the Rift Valley, which export their products to Europe. Poverty is a serious problem in Ethiopia: Of a population of 80 million, 35 million live in abject poverty. Several factors influencing poverty in Ethiopia are arid conditions leading to irregular production in the agriculture sector; improper marketing strategies of agricultural products; and degrading ecologies (Enquobahrie, 2004).
The Ethiopian Government
In an attempt to liberalize the economy, the Ethiopian government has transformed the economy from a command-and-control to a market structure and has better integrated its domestic economy into the world market (Ethiopian Business Development Network, 2012). Economic liberalization encompasses the policies that promote free trade, deregulation, the elimination of subsidies, price controls and rationing systems, and the downsizing or privatization of public services (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2010). The underlying goal is to have unrestricted capital flowing into and out of the country in order to boost growth and increase efficiencies within the home country (Ethiopian Business Development Network, 2012).
Since 1992, the government has made strides in liberalizing the economy by implementing short-term economic stabilization and structural adjustment measures (Ethiopian Business Development Network, 2012). Partially as a result of this liberalization, the economy has shown a marked growth improvement, increasing by an annual average rate of 7.3% in the last several years (World Bank, 2011). Specifically, this has resulted because the government has enhanced private sector development and private-public partnerships through providing effective industry associations and creating a forum for consultation between the private sector and the government (Invest in Ethiopia, 2012). The government has prioritized a developed economy through its involvement of the private sector.
A supportive government is necessary in order to have a productive market (International Trade Administration, 2010). The Ethiopian government has addressed market failures by intervening in many areas, such as product design, product testing, human resources (training producers), marketing, distribution, financing, and reporting (Accenture Development Partnerships, 2012). These interventions illustrate the government’s commitment to business and investment-led development.
At the national level, the Ethiopian government has also focused increasing attention on the development of MSEs, largely because the government realizes that they are an important vehicle to address the challenges of unemployment, economic growth, and equity within the country (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 2009). The Council of Ministers established the Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agency (FeMSEDA) with the objective “to encourage, coordinate and assist institutions that provide support to the development and expansion of MSEs in Ethiopia” (FeMSEDA, 2010). FeMSEDA establishes a working relationship with regional government organizations, regional agencies responsible for MSE development, NGOs, and the private sector. Table 1, “Governing Institutions in Ethiopia Relating to Environmental Micro and Small Enterprises” as interpreted from FeMSEDA, shows the possible institutions that MSEs can utilize.
The objectives of the Ethiopian Government are apparent in the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) produced by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED). The plan states that Ethiopia’s long-term vision is “to become a country where democratic rule, good-governance and social justice reigns, upon the involvement and free will of its peoples; and once extricating itself from poverty and becomes a middle-income economy” (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 2009) Its vision in the economic sector is, “to build an economy which has a modern and productive agricultural sector with enhanced technology and an industrial sector that plays a leading role in the economy; to sustain economic development and secure social justice; and, increase per capita income of citizens so that it reaches at the level of those in middle-income countries” (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 2009). This is an ambitious five-year growth plan which hopes for GDP growth of 11-15% per year from 2010 through 2015. The total cost is estimated at US$ 75-79 billion over five years. The plan is to complete Ethiopia’s appointment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and improve the commercial regulatory framework (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 2009).
International Involvement in Ethiopia’s Development
In addition to national involvement, there is also international involvement in Ethiopia’s economy. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s (UNIDO) Integrated Programme for Ethiopia (IPE) assists in transforming the structure of the economy (Regional Office of Ethiopia, 2012). One of the components of the UNIDO’s IPE is the Ethiopian Business Development Services Network (EBDSN), a network of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE), Development Organizations, and Institutions. This organization helps these micro and small businesses get started and plan their business strategies. The MSE sector plays a vital role in the industrial development of Ethiopia. Not only does this sector provide employment opportunities to an increasing number of people in the country, but it is also an effective means of fighting poverty and income inequality (Gagel, 2012).
The Ease of Doing Business in Ethiopia
In order to look specifically at Ethiopia’s business history, The World Bank compares 185 countries bilaterally in terms of how easy it is to conduct business in that country. Its report, Doing Business, measures the procedures, time and cost for a small to medium-size limited liability company to start up and operate formally. To make the data comparable across 185 economies, Doing Business uses a standardized business model that is 100% domestically owned, has start-up capital equivalent to 10 times income per capita, engages in general industrial or commercial activities, and employs between 10 and 50 people within the first month of operations (The World Bank. 2012).
As table 2 shows, business is easier to conduct today compared to 2004. Ethiopia was not even ranked prior to 2012, and all the variables that measure the ease of starting a business have improved since 2004. This is a positive sign in terms of progressing to a more business-friendly country.
Civil Society in Ethiopia
In many parts of the world, civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are highly effective in bringing about positive environmental and social change (Gemmill & Bamidele-izu, 2002). While the NGO community in Ethiopia is growing, the Ethiopian government does not trust many NGOs. Some NGOs misuse funding and potentially use foreign funding to support interests contradictory to the Ethiopian government (Kefauver, 2011). Because civil society lacks a strong, positive relationship with the government, small, for-profit, environmental business may be an alternative model for advancing environmental causes.
MSEs in Ethiopia
In a developing country like Ethiopia with an emerging market, the small, for-profit business model is vital. Specifically, this business model can be applied to solve the issue of environmental degradation. MSEs in Ethiopia have addressed the challenges of unemployment, economic growth and equity in the country (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 1997); however, this paper argues that MSEs can also address the issues of the environment. Despite increasing interest, there is still limited research on MSEs and environmental issues in Ethiopia. Analyzing the intersection of governing institutions, regulating bodies, and environmental MSEs will shed light on the practices in place and what could be improved.
To best understand relevant background and historical information pertinent to MSEs and the environment in Ethiopia, this paper conducts an extensive literature review using Scopus, Google Scholar, and other similar database search engines. This research also includes current governmental institutions and policies relevant to MSEs, development, and the environment.
Despite contacting several businesses, including Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Selam Awassa Water Drilling Works and Sanitation PLC, David Röschli Genesis Farm PLC, and Selam Awassa Business Group, this research only focuses on Selam Awassa Business Group PLC.
This paper analyzes SABG in several aspects, as shown in Figure 1. It uses interview methods with Atkelt Girmay, the general manager of SABG, and also uses reports published by the business to collect this information. This research also uses GIS analysis to produce a map from this information. In addition, it uses interview methods with Kate Schneider, a research analyst at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to gather background information on researching business, social, and environmental changes.
MSEs in Ethiopia
The working paper “Growth of Micro-Enterprises: Empirical evidence from Ethiopia” by the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) describes a 2003 survey of MSEs. The survey was done on six selected major towns (Addis Ababa, Awassa, Bahir Dar, Jimma, Mekelle, and Nazreth) based on the population. The sample included 1,000 enterprises, 974 of which responded. The questionnaire asked questions related to background of the owner, history of the enterprise, finance, marketing, business development services, rules/regulations, infrastructure issues, relationship with suppliers and clients and the investment climate (Gebreeyesus, 2007).
Table 3 shows the breakdown of where MSEs are located, what they are producing, how large they are, and what the gender of the owner is. Most of the MSEs are in Addis Ababa in trade shops, employ two to four workers, are owned by males, and have an owner who has completed high school.
EDRI also determined that “the smaller and younger firms grow faster than their counterparts” (Gebreeyesus, 2007). Analyzing the different sectors, “manufacturing shows highest growth rate (13%) followed by service (11%) in contrast to trade (6.2%). Male-headed firms’ growth (10.6%) is more than double that of female-headed firms’ (4.5%) annual average” (Gebreeyesus, 2007).
Selam Awassa Business Group
Selam Awassa Business Group (SABG) is a MSE that looks at social, environmental, and economic returns in Ethiopia (Röschli, 2009). The founders envisioned “an opportunity for a for-profit enterprise to play a pivotal role in alleviating poverty and environmental degradation, provide vocational training and support the local community” (Vaughn, 2008) thus they created Selam Awassa Business Group. SABG produces agriculture equipment, construction equipment, and renewable energy technologies for rural farmers.
In 2006 Paulos Temesgen and Mussie Mohammed established SABG with the help of Atkelt Girmay and David Röschli (“Selam Awassa Business Group-About,” 2012). Paulos Temesgen, Mussie Mohammed, and Atkelt Girmay were all orphans who got their start at Selam’s Vocational Training School. This school partners with Dorcas Aid International and provides disadvantaged youth with practical training in general metal fabrication and assembly as well as building electrical installation. Students become competent in foundry, welding, machine operation, sheet metal processing; provide technical support, install, test, and commission household appliances; maintain household appliances and perform preventive maintenance; and dismantle and dispose of household appliances. In addition to receiving practical, hands-on training, students also take theoretical courses in their discipline as well as in English, entrepreneurship, and small business management (“Selam Awassa Business Group-About,” 2012)..
SABG’s sister business is Selam Awassa Water Drilling Works and Water Sanitation project (SAWDWS). They seek to provide access to safe water to impoverished communities throughout Ethiopia. They partner with Water is Life International (a 501c3 foundation based in the United States) to empower those with few resources to find immediate, affordable, and sustainable access to clean water (“Selam Awassa Business Group-About,” 2012).
Atkelt Girmay, the general manager of SABG, notes that some of their major obligations are to build electrical installations and to provide appropriate technologies to generate “green, clean energy and post-harvest technology and also the water lifting devices” (Atkelt Girmay, personal communication, November 13, 2012). SABG’s goal is to contribute to the clean energy sector in the areas of solar, biogas, mirt stoves (an environmentally friendly stove), wind, and micro-hydro power. SABG uses mostly solar energy, because according to Girmay they are trying to provide solar energy for the whole area (Atkelt Girmay, personal communication, November 13, 2012).
That’s what we think, not directly but indirectly, by providing them the appropriate technology that they can reduce the quantity of wood that they are using usually on the countryside and become and provide them with appropriate technology so that they can reduce the consumption of wood and also by providing renewable energy that they don’t use wood as a firewood for cooking and kerosene also for lighting all these things by providing them an appropriate technology (Atkelt Girmay, personal communication, November 13, 2012).
SABG produces mirt stoves that are insulated fire stoves made from concrete. They cost 85 to 115 birr, last 15 years, have an energy efficiency of 16% and fuel savings of 50% compared to other stoves and are included in 13% of Ethiopian households (Accenture Development Partnerships, 2012). SABG produces molds for the stoves and understands that using the stoves can reduce the consumption of wood in Ethiopia (Atkelt Girmay, personal communication, November 13, 2012). By producing and disseminating the mirt stoves, SABG helps reduce pressures on deforestation because the Ethiopian population uses less energy and thus they harvest fewer trees.
Biogas stoves are another product that SABG produces. Biogas is a methane rich gas produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic wastes, typically from animal and kitchen wastes. Biogas production is considered carbon-neutral as long as it is recovered properly (Accenture Development Partnerships, 2012). The fuel efficiency ranges from 50 to 65 percent (Accenture Development Partnerships, 2012). As Atkelt notes, the Ethiopian government is interested in producing biogas stoves for the countryside so that rural populations have an alternative to wood fires (Atkelt Girmay, personal communication, November 13, 2012).
Clean water is a very rare resource in rural Ethiopia and people, usually women, have to travel far distances to bring it back (Röschli, 2009). Also, there is a fear of water-borne illness associated with drinking water (Röschli, 2009). SABG also produces pumps and water lifting devices such as rope-and-washer hand pumps, and the Afridav pump. SAWDWS, the sister company, installs them. These pumps can drill up to 40 meters in rocky soil and 80 meters in soft soil (“Selam Awassa Business Group-About,” 2012). Using these pumps increases farmers’ yields and decreases the likelihood of food shortages (Vaughn, 2008). Rope pumps offer water that is five times safer than unprotected sources and even lower risk water quality (<10 FC/100ml) is found in rope pump wells in protected springs (Sutton & Hailu, 2011). These samples reflect the worst-case scenario, collected in the rainy season from wells which are primarily for irrigation, and have not been chlorinated or cleaned out since the pump was installed (Sutton & Hailu, 2011).
Water is Life distributes these pumps in these three areas: Langano (Ziway/Oromia), Yerga Cheffe and Wendo Genet (Sidama) (Sutton & Hailu, 2011). Table 5 shows the locations, number of pumps, year of construction, and number of people served from each of the pumps.
A considerable amount of people has been served from the pumps produced by SABG’s Vocational School and SAWDWS. These groups work through kebele (community) leaders (Röschli, 2009; “Selam Awassa Business Group-About,” 2012). This way, SAWDWS establishes support from the local community and uses their labor to help install the well (Röschli, 2009). By involving the community in the process, they can take ownership of the well. Without the support of the community, the people would not be as receptive of the well. According to one of the heads of the SAWDWS, he says: “Without the support of kebelle leaders, we would have a very hard time. Some of the people would just say, ‘You want to dig a well? Go ahead but I’m not providing any labor and could care less what you do’” (Vaughn, 2009).
Table 6 looks at SABG’s company characteristics. This profile shows its goals, its structure, its personnel, and its sources of funding.
SABG produces appropriate technology for farmers to farm more efficiently and renewably. SABG has realized that there is a knowledge gap of overfarming and the degredation of the envionrment and sees a market solution through selling these farming technologies on a small scale. SABG understands and incorportates the following practices into their business plan:
Extensive farming leads to the degradation of native soil, pastures, forests and wetlands. Predictions of climate change and global warming are dire; therefore, farming and farmers must take an active role in preserving scarce natural resources. SABG hopes their products enable farmers to realize their earning potential, the land’s potential and the opportunity they have to farm in a manner that increases their income, provides for their family, and is harmonious with surrounding ecosystems (“Selam Awassa Business Group-About,” 2012).
These technologies, such as crop threshers, increase the yield for rural farmers; with a higher yield, less land is necessary for cultivation, and therefore more soil and forests are preserved (Vaughn, 2008). Appropriate technologies such as this can generate positive environmental outcomes in Ethiopia.
SABG has not, however, quantified their impacts so far. “[SABG] is just only counting our production that is related to an environmental issue and we try to focus to make an environmental future for the environment” (Atkelt Girmay, personal communication, November 13, 2012). He went on to say: “We are only trying to produce the appropriate technologies and we are try to consider the environmental issues to our direct activity but we can’t really compare with and we cannot also say that we are a major contributor of major environmental issues when there are a lot of organizations that are playing a role” (Atkelt Girmay, personal communication, November 13, 2012). For instance, they know how many stoves they sell to a certain area, but do not know exact logistics, such as how many people are using the stoves and where specifically they are using them.
In addition to having positive environmental impacts, SABG also seeks to empower people of Ethiopia to “lift themselves out of poverty” (Röschli, 2009). They do this through teaching and employing Ethiopians. Their vocational school gives youth employable skills while also producing “high quality, appropriate, and affordable technology” (Röschli, 2009).
SABG produces these environmentally friendly agricultural products with help fom students at the vocational training programs. It provides students with skills in metal working, welding, and machine manufacturing. Since skilled labor is a scarce resrouce in Ethiopia, they hope to attain 100% job placement to ensure the students “a life of independence and productivity” (Vaughn, 2008). Because the founders were orphans themselves and were trained with these skills, they founded their business to employ others with the proper training (Vaughn, 2008).
SABG approaches positive economic impacts from a triple bottom approach. SABG believes that “the only sustainable, scalable model is a for-profit model” (Röschli, 2009). As a private limited corporation (PLC), their goal is to produce quality products that bring about environmental change at affordable rates (Röschli, 2009).
Selam Awassa Business Group has a diversified customer base consisting of NGOs, small farmers, and private corporations. By having multiple types of customers, SABG is able to have a fairly secure revenue stream (Vaughn, 2008). These private corporations include Midroc, and Al Yust Trading. SABG partners with Sasakawa Global, a Japanese NGO, which has proven to be beneficial because they cover costs for SABG to develop prototypes in post-harvest technology (multi crop threshers, maize threshers, etc.).
This discussion highlights why SABG is sucuessful from an economic, environmental, and social standpoint, but also highlights areas where it could improve its practices. The basis of their environmental success is that their technologies reduce the burden placed on the environment.
There is currently a growing business environment in Ethiopia which, with the help of the government, will continue to improve. As it becomes easier to do business in Ethiopia, there will be more of a chance for smaller businesses like MSEs to emerge. Furthermore, with the increased attention that the Ethiopian government is focusing on development and MSEs, the number of MSEs in the market should increase. Agencies such as FeMSEDA, which seek to encourage cooperation and collaboration between participants, are vital to growing this sector.
The environmental condition in Ethiopia is strained. Ethiopia needs to take appropriate measures to ensure that the resources are still available for generations to come. The only way that Ethiopia will flourish as a country is if it realizes its environmental benefits, allowing Ethiopians to rely on the environment for their livelihood. Since, as stated in the 1997 Environmental Policy of Ethiopia, “natural resources are the foundation of the economy,” these natural resources need to be preserved and used in a sustainable manner. Furthermore, technologies, which can shift dependence toward environmental resources, have the potential to positively benefit the environment by taking the burden off of the environmental resources as well as creating more sustainable development.
Community Based Business
Selam Awassa Business Group has been sucessful on the ground because it is largely owned and operated by Ethiopians. Because they are locally owned and operated, SABG does not deal with issues of distrust from rural farmers, an issue commonly facing international organizations (Vaughn, 2008). The business actually has strong relations with farmers and the others in the community (Vaughn, 2008). Because of this trust, SABG “can leverage these relationships to convince farmers of the impact that investment in irrigation pumps, plows, or crop threshers, [which are] designed to maximize output, would have on their earning potential. SABG also sells their products to international NGOs such as Service in Mission, Water is Life and International Rescue Committee who then give the products to rural farmers or villagers who cannot afford the initial cost, or do not believe in its benefits” (Vaughn, 2008).
According to the International Trade Administration’s Business Ethics Manual, an important concept is to understand the culture of where the business is located; this includes “core beliefs, participation, responsibility, knowledge sharing, and methods of dealing with conflict” (International Trade Administration, 2010). SABG is able to do this because they are from the area and understand the local culture, business practices, relationships, and community needs.
Diverse Customer Base
Because of Selam Awassa Business Group’s diverse customer base consisting of NGOs, small farmers, and private corporations, they are able to better serve the community while also making a profit. To raise awareness about the benefits of technology in agriculture, Sasakawa performs operating demonstrations in various regions throughout Ethiopia, using SABG products (Vaughn, 2008). By utilizing these many partners, SABG is able to understand the political, economic, social, and technological pressures to best sell and distribute their products. They also must meet these stakeholders’ expectations of producing the product. Through customer demand, they will grow as a business and therefore will be able to have a larger positive environmental impact.
Communication with NGOs in Measuring Environmental Impacts
Even though Selam Awassa Business Group provides appropriate technologies to better serve the needs of the Ethiopians without degrading the environment, SABG does not keep track of the positive environmental impacts. They partner with NGOs to distribute the stoves, machinery, and pumps, but they do not track the positive outcomes. This partnership could be better served if the NGO reported environmental impacts that occur as a result of SABG’s activities. This could be used as an advertising tool to promote the company’s strengths and could thus increase profits. For example, more farmers would buy post-harvest tools if they were able to see that they would be able to harvest on less land, or harvest more food on the land they already own. By encourging a two-way communication between participants, SABG creates a context for the best possible environemntal outcome.
Triple Bottom Line
The triple bottom line recognizes that the three facets to the performance of a business are society, environment, and finances (International Trade Administration, 2010). Oftentimes a business only thinks of the “bottom line” as the profit; however, the other two facets are central to a respectable and sustainable company. The “people” componet takes into account how socially responsible the organization has been and the “planet” componet takes into account how environmentally responsible a organization has been (Buckingham, 2009). John Elkington, who first coined the term “the triple bottom line” argues that only a company that fully takes into account all componets of the triangular is accounting for the full cost of a business (Buckingham, 2009). SABG takes into account these three aspects because they are producing tools to take the burden off of the environment, taking into account the needs of the communities, and their goal of making a profit.
Furthermore, utilizing this business approach can yield higher profits. According to the Business Ethics Manual, “Improved business performance, profits, and economic progress come to those who effectively and efficiently foster and meet the reasonable expectations of their primary stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, investors, and the environment, as well as the owners and managers themselves” (International Trade Administration, 2010, 4). These are all very important issues in Ethiopia, and if an organization can take into account environmental needs and the needs of communities, while simultaneously economically developing the country, then this is a strong model to replicate.
This research suggests several policy reccomendations. Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) are a viable option to mitigate environmental degredation while simultaneously reducing poverty. These two concepts are closely linked together, and a business that accounts for both of these issues will have the best results for Ethiopia. As this research has demonstrated, businesses that have an accountable triple bottom line approach are the most sustainable and are the best for development.
The model from the research could be improved by incorporating an environental impact study, where either SABG or a parter NGO tracks the positive environmental impacts of its operations. Communication is key and governmental agencies should encourage this practice through funding and facilitating programs, and educating key players such as NGOs and businesses. Finally, environmental MSEs that have the positive characteristics of the model examined in this research need to become more prevalant in Ethiopia. Decreasing the barrier of entry for start-up NGOs will help to accomplish this.
In summary, the policy recommendations of this paper are to do as follows:
- Promote a triple bottom line approach to the Ethiopian economy;
- Incorporate an environmental impact study for the business to promote;
- Increase funding to agencies such as FeMSEDA to increase communications between NGOs, governmental agencies, and businesses;
- Understand guiding principles and priorities of all stakeholders;
- Enhance business skills and knowledge; and
- Increase funding for government and NGOs to cover capability gaps in the market, in order to encourage and incentivize more businesses to take on issues such as environmental degradation.
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Chapter 5 Appendices
Table 1 Sources:
1 (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, 2011)
2 (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 2009)
3 (Development Bank of Ethiopia, 2012)
4 (National Bank of Ethiopia, 2012)
5 (Ministry of Water and Energy, 2010)
Interview, Kate Schneider, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
October 11, 2012
The Gates Foundation is obviously a non-profit foundation, could you maybe talk a little about what you see as pros and cons to both the NGO model and the for-profit model in the sector of the environment in Ethiopia?
How do you think both sectors could be improved?
How do you see the people relating to the different sectors?
Do you think the Ethiopian government would be more receptive to one approach over the other in terms of policy recommendations?
Do you think it differs by sector?
If they don’t do it then you have a market failure and government should fill in.
Oh, I wanted to tell you, when you were talking today, so that question of should you sell it or should you give it away, this is the perfect question for people who like to run randomized control trials on social interventions. Have you heard about this?
No, I haven’t.
Ok so a randomized control trial is basically an evaluation method, it’s a research design based off of the idea of what we do in medicine, like you have a double blind study and you have a control group and you have an intervention group that there’s absolutely no difference between them. You give one a placebo, you give the other one the treatment, you see the difference right, and then you know everything that’s different about them is a result of the medicine, right? That’s how we do medical trials. And then the idea is to take that and use that to evaluate, essentially social development method. They have their ups and downs, it’s certainly not the only research method and we can’t only rely on information that comes from that but this question of do you sell it or do you give it away is one that they really love to look into. So there’s been some really interesting information around bed nets for malaria and around water purification treatment. So I know Zwana and Kremer wrote an article that you may want to look up […] Zwane is Z-W-A-N-E and Kremer is K-R-E-M-E-R so Michael Kremer, I think he’s either Hardvard or MIT, he wrote JPAL, Jameal Poverty Action Lab, something, JPAL, so anyways if I get the Zwane and Kremer thing wrong, what I’m actually talking about is on there somewhere, […] Ester Do Flow and abage bonergy are two other researches involved in that center. They have written a book recently, called Poor Economics, they also pretty much gave everything away in the book in one academic article so you don’t have to read the whole 200 pages, it’s bit of a snorer, I’m still trying to make it through, but you can look for the article they wrote, it was published a few years ago, I think under pretty much the same name, and again, you can access that if you go through JPAL and just look around experiments or SETs that they’ve done around bed nets.
So look at that question. And I think this idea of social business is really, really interesting. It’s kind of where a lot of people are going and thinking and there’s definitely some cool business to be done because there are a lot of socially beneficial goods that you can provide according to a for-profit model and this is a great place to look at innovation.
Looking specifically in Ethiopia, have you noticed a difference in civil society compared to social business or the for-profit model?
I don’t know if I know enough about Ethiopia and their particular legal environment in Ethiopia to say one way or another that the constrants to private sector development in Ethiopia run quite deep and I don’t know, what is this 30-70 rule you guys are talking about?
The government doesn’t trust the NGOs in terms of where the funding is allocated where the NGO hasn’t been putting it towards to social good, so this inhibits all of the NGOs.
So they can only spend 30 percent on overhead costs?
Yes, and pretty much everything is included in the administrative costs, which heavily prohibit the actual social good work to take place.
The World Bank “The Doing Business Indicator” and we just made a great for “Doing Business in Agriculture” but I don’t think that data has come out yet.
So “The Doing Business Indicator” comes out periodically and it’s measuring how, what’s the ease of doing business? So it has how many days it takes to start up a business, that’s one of their indicators […] what’s the relative rate of assistance in different industries.
So the reason that this could be really interesting is that if you argue in your paper, that Ethiopia is extremely restrictive towards civil society, and here’s the policies that show that and cite past stuff but relative to Kenya, Suden, Eiratra, Somalia, Ethiopia ranks relatively high in the ranks of doing business. Out of those settings I would expect maybe only Kenya to be better.
Doing business in Kenya is getting easier I think, and the evidence at least in my mind is that there are more businesses and there are some really interesting businesses that are really doing a lot of what you’re thinking about. There is something called farm shop, which is an agro dealership, Sa-die, which is a livestock product dealership. Those are definitely businesses. I mean “umpasa” in Kenya is arguably a social business. I don’t know what the government’s involvement is in “umpassa” I just don’t know enough about it. But I mean I think Kenya has a ton of examples that I think Ethiopia could draw from I just don’t know the context is similar enough to be comparable.
That’s exactly what we are looking for, other ideas.
Tell me a little about the Selam Awassa and the cookstove model.
Selam Awassa is a small business that deals with agriculture and clean water. They have different partnerships. The cookstove business thinks it is more sustainable and effective to sell the stoves.
Which makes total sense right? I think where the private sector has a comparative advantage to provide a good and there’s a market for it, the private sector should provide it. Then there’s just the question to make sure that they are providing it at the price that’s accessible to the poor and if not then is there a role for the government subsidy for people or to the industry to make it accessible, to give them the incentive to make sure it’s reaching the poor.
In my research so far, I’ve found that Ethiopia’s government wants to subsidize these types of businesses because they want to have more development that is also sustainable. So they’ve created different agencies to oversee that, but I’m not sure how effective that has been.
Yeah, I think evaluation is tricky in the Ethiopian context because you know it is, well has been a control and command controlled government. To the extent that that’s about to change, I don’t know. But […] they certainly have been funding a lot of agencies who are like peripherally agencies that are Agricultural Transformation Agency is a perfect example and which I don’t know enough about how it operates and you know it’s a government agency so it may not be relevant to your research but this is definitely one of the ways they are looking to fund development in their agricultural sector.
Do you think in terms of policy recommendations, do you think a business would be more affective or a NGO?
Well if a business wants to get their message to the government, they lobby. That has been a model that has worked at times. I think the lobbies are quite powerful in our country and I’m not sure if we’ve gone over the appropriate balance. And I’m not an expert on that, I’m just speaking at personal opinion but I doubt they would be able to have that kind of influence in Ethiopia. And I think the Ethiopia context it’s really important to think about why decisions are being made and a lot of political decisions are being made about keeping the people who are in power in power. And the way that they got into power isn’t the democratic process so they way that they stay in power isn’t necessarily through the democratic process. And so there is a lot of personal—personal gain that’s at stake when they make policy choices and whose interest is that really serving at the end of the day. But also, what are the levers to influence that, they are really, really limited. I mean there really needs to be strong international messages and threats essentially and those—Ethiopia hasn’t really had to face those, I mean most donors are still sending money there as opposed to other places where donors and especially other governments tend to threaten to pull out their money, and that—that has power sometimes […] other times it really doesn’t and so I—I just don’t know about Ethiopia. I don’t know about the policy environment and I don’t really know—you have to get to the high level people because they are in power now and they care to stay in power and given the structure that’s in place at the moment—there’s not much you could do to influence them or to change policy if they don’t see the policy change as in the best interest of the—you know the status quo in terms of power relationships so I don’t know if that’s a helpful answerWhat do you think of the relationship between the private sector and civil society?
Well I don’t really know, I mean I don’t know, I definitely don’t know that much, I mean I just am not an expert on private sector development, […], I think that there is very little demand for a lot of stuff so some of developing the private sector is actually about building demand in the markets first, […], and that’s about behavior change, when you’re talking about good that are for public health or like water, […], I can tell you the example of the water source intervention that I am familiar with in Ethiopia where basically communities ask for clean water infrastructure, you know covered well pipes, like different tapes throughout the community, they provide the labor, donor money provides the actual like materials, and then people have to pay for the water and that covers the cost of ongoing operation and maintenance. And asking people to pay for something that they used to get for free is really difficult. And then asking someone to pay for something that you can’t see the immediate benefits from is even harder so clean water, you know, you get health benefits form it, you don’t get diarrhea. There are many other things that could also give you diarrhea. So you might pay for water and still get some diarrhea. So the causal link and that fundamental theory of germ theory, I mean most villagers in Ethiopia have barely finished primary school if anything and they certainly haven’t learned something like that. So really you’re talking about behavior changes, you’re talking about getting people to value a good that it’s really hard to perceive the benefits of, enough, that they are willing to pay for it. And I think that that is really challenging. And that is the case for water it could be the case for many other goods that a social business might want to provide so in those cases you, I think you need to introduce it through a few different avenues, and maybe providing it for free isn’t necessarily the right way, but I think you have to start to think about potential options and evaluate their impacts and maybe even do some trials and pilot tests and see what works best and I don’t think we have an answer as to whether or not something is worth paying for. Yeah, it’s tough, I mean business is a great idea but you have to think about demand and you have to have willingness to pay.
How you do you think social business can succeed in a poverty stricken area where people might not have that expendable income?
I mean people have some cash and they do spend it. […] and we have some evidence on what they spend it on. And they, depending on whose hands it’s in. so they, when, even small amounts of dispensable income land themselves in the hands of women, they disproportionately spend it on children’s education, health, nutrition. When men have disposable income they disproportionately spend it on booze, cigarettes, and you know whatever else, I was going to say women but I don’t think there is actual evidence for that, it just like sounded—uhh like three things. But […] yeah, people do spend money, they do buy things, it’s a matter of when they are making this decision about how to spend that one incremental additional dollar, what do they value, and part of that, it’s a lot about outreach so I think you know communication is key because there is a little bit of money there and agriculture is a key part of this story, right? So like when you make agriculture more productive, these families when you, for example, have a little more disposable income so if there is a rural business that’s serving a need that they may have, they might not have spent the first incremental, additional dollar on that good but they might spend their second, and then that business is going to help people. And this is how the rural nonfarm economy begins to grow. And that’s how the drivers of economic transformation in rural areas. Because that’s employment, it’s economic development, and it’s really an upward spiral towards prosperity. So, and there’s a lot of literature on the rural nonfarm economy so you might be able to do literature search on rural nonfarm economy and Ethiopia and come up with something really interesting to think about what are the types of industries that are surviving in that context.
Interview, Atkelt Girmay, Selam Awassa Business Group
November 14, 2012
What are your organization’s social and environmental objectives?
How do you balance the social and environmental objectives with making a profit?
How successful has your business been in bringing about environmental change near Awassa?
How do you measure the environmental impacts of your programs?
How do you think the small business model compares to the environmental NGO model? Are there any situations where a small business is more effective at improving environmental outcomes than an NGO?
What is the exact location of your organization?What do you see as the major objective of the Selam Awassa Business Group?
Our major objective is when we start up the projects our vision was to provide a key training for the youth […] with major obligation and building electrical installation and the second activity was also providing appropriate technology to generate green, clean energy and post-harvest technology and also the water lifting devices. So we have a training called LIFT and we also have an appropriate technology center when we say that appropriate technology center as I mentioned earlier we have this […] in the sector of clean energy we would like to contribute, we are predicting what we call water line and that is installed in remote area and can produce, one we have already installed, up to 35 kilowatts in the countryside where they used to have the kind of kerosene of what we call courades or wood for the light system and for cooking but we installed one waterline. And we also install 70 kilowatts of another site. And we also engage in producing the molds where it can really reduce the consumption of wood and if you use less wood than before and this really benefits the women by using the mirt stove it is the level of GI and if we produce the same molds and then we drop the wood consumption and so we reduce the consumption of wood in our country.
We also encourage [uhh] engage on the we are not engages in the biogas plant because most of the interests in the government offices are engaged in producing the biogas spoke so the countryside can use the biogas spoke instead of building a wood so they can use a biogas so we produce the biogas program all the mold we late with the biogas. And then also in our area in the south they called it goldeay when I says spoke I say this is a mold that can produce a clay part for job making what we mostly use. When are is in the area they have in the northern part they use ingera in the other area they use quarto and different system we also produce different molds that also reduce the consumption of wood in the country. We use mainly renewable energy also clean energy. We use mostly solar energy. We try to provide solar energy for the whole area. And […] so that is the whole package of the renewable energy plan. That’s what we think, not directly but indirectly, by providing them the appropriate technology that they can reduce the quantity of wood that they are using usually on the countryside and become and provide them with appropriate technology so that they can reduce the consumption of wood and also by providing renewable energy that they don’t use wood as a firewood for cooking and kerosene also for lighting all these things by providing them an appropriate technology.
So this is how we are engaged in the renewable energy.
And so somewhere in there you are involved in not just producing these technologies but also selling them, right?
And so we were wondering how do you balance social goals and environmental goals with the profit side of the business. For example, why don’t you just give everything away, why adopt the for profit model?
Yeah, because when we are approaching the profit model we are not an NGO we are a for profit company but most of the shareholders are [uhh] we have about 34 shareholders and we want to work for the development of the country and we don’t want to abandon or forget the social impacts because I myself and two of my brothers have grown up in the children homes and we have, we are regulating profit management. We have about 10 percent or 20 percent if we cut down to
We reduce 30 percent of the profit and when we have a commercial product that we produce like a block making or mixer that is really supporting the industry and we put out a profit, a maximum profit but we reduce only the maximum.
We are trying to make it relevant for the consumers. We are not in Awassa and if we don’t produce the appropriate technology then the user, the product arm of our level and you cannot really advise them to use the appropriate technology because the product is not available. So we believe by being in Awassa we are providing a technology, we are nearby to the whole area in the south and so that is one point and the second point is also when we make a cost calculation we try to consider an appropriate technology like clean energy we try to consider not to make too much profit out of it because that is really a big problem for the whole area and for the development of the country.
So it’s been a profit model but we also try to start in the right direction.
So the next two questions are pretty related which was you mentioned that you think you’re making a major contribution in Awassa, how significant do you think that contribution is in terms of are you one of the major contributors or a relatively minor contributor in relation to environmental improvements and how do you actually measure the environmental impacts that your programs make?
Well that is why we, we are just trying to do it. We didn’t really put any
We are only trying to produce the appropriate technologies and we are try to consider the environmental issues to our direct activity but we can’t really compare with and we cannot also say that we are a major contributor of major environmental issues when there are a lot of organizations that are playing a role. But we did not also have the, we did not measure our impacts so far, we are just only counting our production that is related to an environmental issue and we try to focus to make an environmental future for the environment. All these things. We did not make a comparison and we did not have any requirements companies in Awassa.
And you mentioned in our last conversation that you do track like the number of efficient stoves that you’re producing and so forth. Do you keep a report that you publish internally for that, how do you, what metrics do you track?
Well we, we always try to have whenever two or three companies one […] or even the hydropower plant we have a record like a bag of stoves we know that 500 stoves go to 500 households so we know a record that one customer bought the stove but it is for 500 houses. I was trying to provide you and I asked Mesfin to provide to you and actually the only 2010 and 2012 but I asked him to pick a three year plan or a three year record but they were not able to finish it as fast as I expect but we have records starting from 2008 2009 2010 2011 and on to 12 and we have our 10th record and we know how many bags of stoves are sold and the renewable energy products that we have sold so far. But it was kind of a timing issue that we could not make it ready for the past week and this week I’m sorry but tied and we cannot organize it for you but we have a little.
Would we be able to see just the 2012 that is already prepared? Is that electronic?
That is electronic that actually they put it in excel sheet and they say that bags of stoves and this and that.
If you wouldn’t mind sending that to me if you would be able to I would be really interested to see.
Sure, but that will be good you know if we did it in 2011 and 2010 because if you know because they are also the solar energies and for the micro hydropower plants a huge kilowatts that is contributed to because we harness the water from the river and we generate electricity for the whole area so yeah. But for 2012 I can follow-up with you. I have it in my email. They have sent it to me. And I can send it to you.
Great, and I assume that doesn’t include the location that we talked about for mapping the different areas where you work. Is that something you can describe briefly? How broad is your scope? Where do you work?
We are working. We focus on South and from South the only way we can track it is like the work of the region and to Aroma and South but the like Aroma has 1000 biogas stoves and we supply to Aroma, we don’t know in which area they are submitting. We only know that Aroma has a biogas program from the last expected and they buy them and the distribution is under their digression. Once we just received 300 400 and we just supply to them. And we know exactly where solar energy is located. But like the biogas stove program it is difficult because we just supply it to one government organization or to one NGO.
Right, that makes sense. Do you have any questions for us?
No I guess it woke me up because so far we did not put any measurement into what we are we are working, we only considered yeah what we are producing environmentally friendly products and we would like to purchase but it was all when you say do you have a location do you have a benefits and how many and how do you measure the impacts that information profile we did not do it. But I was really happy to hear from you and it gives me a green light that I have to record everything even though we sold them out it is the product that we produce and supply to the market and so yeah I will work on that from now on. Mixing it a little and knowing what is the impact of our company.
Absolutely, and like I said if you do have just GPS for just solar and hydro points we would be very happy to put that on a map something you could just say this is where we’ve invested in projects. If it’s not too much work to pull those points together, we’d be happy to do that anytime in the next couple of weeks.
Yeah I think we could do that you know last week I was just in a meeting and I had a shareholders meeting and this week I received a huge quantity of pumps so Mesfin was sick and the guys were busy on the production and we had really a tight week that’s why we were not able to provide additional information but I’m open and I’m willing to share the information that I have at hand and if he can give us a few days I think we can produce all the necessary missions that you want for hydrology and solar but for the other we know that we have it in the computer but it is a matter of organizing but we can organize it in the coming two weeks and we can have it all in our hands.
Yes, that sounds great. I’m happy to call and follow up in ten days or so to see how things are going. So the last question that was on the list that just in your opinion as just someone who has worked both in the for profit and the NGO world pretty extensively, what do you see as the main differences between for profit companies with environmental objectives and NGOs with environmental objectives and what do you see as the strengths of for profit verses NGOs?
Well it’s really difficult to answer because it’s I mean no it’s for me it’s really difficult to say that the private sector is restoration and NGOs are in restoration. Yeah, it’s really hard to me to make a comparison but as a private organization most of the private organization are only focusing on profit but the environmental issue they have to really take a concern about it because some of the private sectors really did not focus on the environmental issue but we should all work hard and we have to have a product that is environmental friendly there are still a lot to do. We can’t really say that we have done something for the environment. It’s not really there and with the NGOs, I did not run the NGOs so it’s really difficult for me but for the private sector so far, the combination for the sector and the NGOs since we are producing appropriate technologies, and we would like to invite the NGOs and the government offices and the private sectors to focus on buying environmentally friendly products like when we say micro hydropower it’s just there is, it’s really environmentally friendly because you harness water, you don’t consume the water, it’s only the electricity, it’s something good and you can’t so so, so you can’t really, unless you replace. If you ask me not to cut a tree then you have to give me another option but most people spend this on arranging the committee don’t cut the tree, plant the tree, but you plant the tree and then someone cuts it off because there is not an alternative energy in the county so instead of saying don’t cut the tree we have to provide them with a replacement and yeah you can say you can use like instead of using charcoal you can use a briquette we are trying to produce a briquette from the sawdust and from the bio products and if you don’t really present alternative energy and you cannot really yeah, people have to cook. It’s their life and that’s why some of the NGOs I would say that instead of spending on the software on orientating and training people not to cut trees but if they really work with the private sector with the manufacturers with those committed to clean energy, that would be a big impact. So that is the major observation that I have had with my, our company and some of the private sector and then NGOs. You know we talk that we don’t really provide them with an alternative energy.
Excellent. Thank you so much for your time and feedback. I will be in touch in a week or 10 days to see about the GPS coordinates and I’ll also have my student be sure to send you a transcript of what we’ve talked about today just to make sure I’m presenting you correctly.