By Wallace Mawire
Hippo Valley Estates Limited in Chiredzi district, in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo Province, is promoting the use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) stoves by its employees as a way of conserving natural resources in their community.
According to the company’s sustainability report contained in its 2019 annual report released at its 63rd Annual General Meeting (AGM), the company has embarked on a project of issuing employees with LPG which will gradually replace firewood as a source of domestic energy.
The company says as of 31 March 2019, more than 1,500 stoves had been distributed to employees under the initiative.
It is added in the report that the company initiated investment in LPG handling facilities is paying dividends as both employees and the local community now have access to more efficient, cleaner and cost-effective domestic energy compared to the use of firewood.
On a monthly basis, approximately 90 tonnes of LPG is being sold within Chiredzi, saving 2,500 tonnes worth of firewood per month contributing significantly to conservation efforts.
About 70 % of the country’s 16 million people live in rural areas and are dependent on fuelwood as their principal source of energy. Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management Agency says more than 50 million trees are disappearing from the country’s forests every year.
Energy is critical to Zimbabwe’s sustainable development and is at the centre of all developments- environmental protection, food security, women empowerment, education of girls, and productivity losses due to malnutrition.
Working towards this goal is very important as it interlinks with other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) A focus on universal access to energy, increased energy efficiency and the increased use of renewable energy through new economic and job opportunities, is crucial to creating more sustainable and inclusive communities and resilience to environmental issues like climate change.
Sustainable Development Goal 7 calls for “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” Ensuring sustainable energy access is critical in delivering not only SDG 7 but all the SDGs. Without sustainable energy, a development that lifts up all people while protecting the planet is simply not possible.