A GREEN FACTORY in Zambia
Zambia’s banana paper project set up a so called Green Factory. It incorporates various environmentally friendly mechanisms, like circular materials, bioclimatic design, and renewable energy. The production of banana fiber and banana paper is organic (using zero chemicals).
Our Multipurpose Hall is where our Team eat breakfast and lunch, hold daily meetings, and where we train everyone in Health, Biodiversity, Fair Trade – and the Global Goals!
Based on the philosophy of “One Planet Paper®” – to reduce poverty and environmental problems through positive business solutions – we want to be a model not only for paper but also for other industries and factories. Following is a list of some of the actions we have integrated, based on the 3 overall One Planet Paper®︎ criteria (1) EcoCycle (2) Fair Trade (3) the Global Goals:
What we do:
- Planting 2 trees for each 1 we have used for building materials
- Use solar and hydropower
- Provide nutritious lunches – 3 different vegetables, Nshima and a protein-rich main dish backed up by a morning breakfast
- Safe water quality tested to UN standards
- No child labor
- No use of chemicals in the production (organic)
- Use of local and circular building materials, licensed according to local municipality
- Bioclimatic construction design (measuring the sun, wind and shade)
- SLOD (Safety Leader Of the Day) – reporting safety issues and improvements on a daily basis
- Avoid use of endangered trees (especially mahogoni)
- Use of biocycle-adjusted building materials (bamboo, banana fiber, straw, etc.)
- Upcycle building materials (used bricks and blocks, used glass bottles, etc.)
- Integrating African design and aesthetics
- Carbon offsetting transport (fuel) and machines (energy)
- Health, Biodiversity, Household budgeting, Sustainability and Fair Trade education for Team Members
In order to realize our dream of a social benefit “Banana Paper Factory in Africa!” the first fundraising was via crowdfunding in Japan. Between March and May in 2014, 137 individuals and organizations supported us to reach 125% of our target. Thanks to this wonderful support, we were able to take the first step in the construction of a Green Factory. We then received support from Sawakami Foundation, and finally Japan Embassy in Lusaka (Grassroots Fund). In September 2014, the construction of the banana paper factory started. The banana journey could begin!!
AFTER (2021). Sustainable initiatives such as tree planting (more than 1,000 trees so far), soil strengthening, biotope, fruit plants and greenery have been integrated.
Building in a world without blueprints, electricity, or water was an exciting challenge. We faced many unthinkable things (in developed countries) but overcame most of them thanks to the trust of the local community. Finding a site supervisor, carpenter, plaster, etc. from villages where many people had never graduated basic school, was a challenge. How do you for example, proceed with the construction according to a schedule when someone can not read?
In pictures and drawings, and with a daily review of a simplified schedule, we succeeded to complete the comstruction nearly perfectly on time!