Nigerian climate cleantech–Reeddi, Fleather by Phool, International Cheetah Day!
Nigerian Climate Cleantech–Reeddi, Fleather by Phool, International Cheetah Day!
REEDDI, NIGERIA’S CLIMATE CLEANTECH
600 million Africans don’t have steady access to electricity. Reeddi, a cleantech start-up, helps solve this problem with affordable energy capsules. Nigeria-based Reeddi’s energy capsules consist of an optimized lithium battery. They’re available at vending machine-like stations in energy-poor communities. They are rented for $0.50 a day using a card, cash, or a mobile phone and returned for a discount. Powered by solar, they have a low environmental impact, and they’re also more affordable than traditional energy sources, like gas and diesel, cutting energy costs by 30%.
Nigerian Olugbenga Olubanjo founded Reeddi to help ensure that the poorest communities get access to clean, reliable and affordable energy – protecting the environment, and galvanizing local communities and businesses too. Reeddi already serves over 600 households and businesses monthly across Nigeria.
Reeddi was named TIME Magazine’s “Best Invention of the Year 2021,” and it’s a 2021 Earthshot Prize finalist. The increased profile from being named a 2021 Finalist, has seen huge increases in demand for their capsules, a 6X increase in sales, and allowed them to launch a new solar panel rental initiative to keep small businesses powered up for longer.
Why does Reeddi matter to us? According to its website, the company’s products have offset over 70,000 kilograms of CO2 since launch. That’s like removing over 15 cars from the roads, or preventing almost 78K pounds of coal burned.
FLEATHER BY PHOOL
Flowers cast into the Ganges river contain highly toxic pesticides. Phool is a company formed to use this floral waste to make a sustainable alternative to leather. During the festival of Makara Sankranti in 2015, Ankit Agarwal and a friend watched pilgrims drink the dirty waters of the Ganges, India’s holy river. At the same time, they saw local temples dumping used flowers into the water, their pesticide coating poisoning the river. In that moment, Ankit had an idea that would soon become his business: Phool, the company that created Fleather.
The Ganges is a lifeline to 420 million people but is the second most polluted river in the world. That is little surprise considering 96 percent of the flowers cast into the river contain highly toxic pesticides.
How did Phool do it? By accident, really. At first, Phool collected the floral waste and turned it into incense sticks. As they did, however, something extraordinary happened. A thick mat-like substance began to grow over the unused fibres lying on their factory floor. This mat, they realised, could be turned into a sustainable alternative to environmentally damaging animal and plastic leather. They called the new material Fleather.
Since then, Phool has collected 13,000 metric tons of floral waste, and they now create 90 square ft of Fleather each day. In the process, they’ve created valuable employment opportunities for a marginalised community. Phool today employs over 163 female ‘flowercyclers’ from the Dalit caste who collect waste flowers. In time, they hope to employ 5,000.
Why does PHOOL matter to us? In the words of Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, “I am impressed by Phool enterprise in India which is a perfect example of a circular economy. Keep setting the standards for others to follow.”
DEEPER DIVE: PHOOL, EarthShot Prize
INTERNATIONAL CHEETAH DAY
In the last century, human beings have contributed to the deaths of over 90% of the cheetah, the planet’s fastest land animal. There are fewer than 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild, making the cheetah Africa’s most endangered big cat. Hence why December 4th is International Cheetah Day. It was established by Dr. Laurie Marker, founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund. CCF was launched in 1990 in Namibia. Its initial goal was to mitigate the problem of farmer-cheetah conflicts in that country.
Here are some fun facts to help you celebrate ICD over the weekend: The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal. They can run 70 mph (or 110 kph), which is as fast as cars drive on the highway. The cheetah can reach its top speed in just 3 seconds! Cheetahs have “tear marks” that run from the inside corners of their eyes down to the outside edges of their mouth. These marks help reflect the glare of the sun when they are hunting during the day. They work just like the black marks that football players put under their eyes during the games. These marks also work like the sights on a rifle, to help the cheetah “aim” and stay focused on their prey when they are hunting.
The reason why a cheetah can’t change its spots is because The cheetah’s skin is actually covered in solid black spots! The black fur actually grows out of the black spots on their skin. Why does ICD matter to us? The cheetah is an umbrella species for biodiversity conservation and an icon for sustainable development and the centuries-old cultural heritage on the African continent.
Umbrella species are species selected for making conservation-related decisions, typically because protecting these species indirectly protects the many other species that make up the ecological community of its habitat.
DEEPER DIVE: ICD