* Finalizing plans to improve the use of its own power with ESCOM support
* So that it can further reduce its power demand from ESCOM
* Enabling ESCOM to provide increased access to power for new and existing users
By Duncan Mlanjira
Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc — in partnership with Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) — has started reducing its power demand by 4 megawatts during its off-peak business hours through shifting its irrigation practices as part of energy conservation.
In its endeavour to “move towards living its purpose”, the company is also finalizing plans to improve the use of its own power with ESCOM support, so that it can further reduce its power demand from ESCOM.
In a statement, Illovo Sugar Malawi Managing Director, Lekani Katandula said their decision to work with ESCOM on this initiative “is guided by our purpose of creating a thriving Malawian community through the provision of affordable food and energy.”
“Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc remains mindful of the role that the company plays when it comes to environmental conservation and climate change through sustainable practices within its operations.
“As a result, the company is committed to minimizing any negative impacts that its operations may have on the environment, or which may contribute to climate change.”
Katandula further said “key on the company’s agenda is energy conservation,” thus the company embarking on the joint initiative with ESCOM “that will provide additional power to new and existing customers on the national grid by finding more efficient ways of power utilisations within its operations”.
“We are optimizing some of our requirements by shifting our irrigation patterns to take more power during off peak hours, which enables the business to reduce its peak time power requirements from ESCOM — thereby enabling the latter to provide increased access to power for new and existing users in the country.”
He also said they are planning to implement some of the plans by end of July 2022, saying “such collaborative initiatives are critical for ESCOM and all other companies to improve access to power for all Malawians and to promote the growth of businesses in the country”.
Katandula further Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc is on a drive to enhance its efforts towards environmental conservation as well as sustain the existing biodiversity surrounding its operations, whilst reducing waste and pollution by partnering with its staff, communities, and other stakeholders.
“Our staff, communities and other stakeholders are sensitized and engaged in the importance of environmental protection with the worsening of the global climate crisis.
“We have a number of practices and programs within our operations that ensure environmental preservation.”
Some of the activities to curb environmental degradation currently in use at Illovo include overall water management by using effluent water treatment plants and sewage ponds to purify waste water for irrigation.
The company is also managing solid, liquid and gaseous waste by following government set standards and segregation of waste at all sites for recycling and burning using incinerators.
It is also carrying out land conservation/restoration using bamboo plantations and tree planting exercises in surrounding communities as well as conservation of water using drip irrigation rather than furrow.
Illovo is also involved in biodiversity by conservation of animals and vegetation at Nyala Park and Katandula said the company “remains committed to working on ways that ensure it continuously improves its practices as well as support national initiatives where possible on the same”.
“Sustainability is key for the business to achieve its goals in preservation. Businesses cannot survive if the environment around them is failing.
“Therefore, we will relook at our sustainability practices and deliberately work on ensuring that we continuously improve in these areas,” Katandula said.
Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange with 76% of the issued share capital held by the Illovo Group and the balance by public and other institutional investors.
Its corporate office is based at Limbe with two operations at Nchalo in the Southern Region and Dwangwa in the Centre — producing sugar cane and raw and refined sugar, together with specialty sugars at Nchalo.
Illovo Malawi is the country’s sole sugar producer with more than 60% of total sugar sales sold to domestic consumer and industrial markets, and the balance exported to preferential markets in the EU and the USA, and the surrounding region.