INTEGRATED REPORT 2020
A new irrigation system was installed at Gros Cailloux for sugarcane and vegetable cultivation. The new system ensures a more uniform water distribution for proper plant growth by supplying an optimum water flow rate at the desired pressure. This, in turn, allows for better pest and disease control. Moreover, our overall irrigation efficiency was improved in terms of labour and electricity consumption. Irrigation per hectare (Ha) is now less labour intensive and less time consuming. Our energy consumption per hectare has decreased by 30% thanks to the new system in place.
At UBP, settling ponds on our rocksand washing plants has allowed us to operate with a closed loop circuit, thus reducing our freshwater consumption. The resulting settled sludge consisting of water and fines is used to refill holes created by our de-rocking operations in fields.
Since the start of the year, Espace Maison has been stepping up green actions on all fronts. Le Geste Vert d’Espace Maison was launched in order to promote recycling.
Its offices are equipped with an eco-press (to compress plastic bottles) and sorting bins for plastic and paper. Its shops are also equipped with bins for plastic bottles, used light bulbs and batteries, available to employees as well as customers. In January 2020, Espace Maison launched its e-ticketing offer for Club Espace Maison customers, who now receive their sales receipts by email, thus avoiding paper waste. Although only 1% of our loyal customers have used this service so far, we are encouraging them to go paperless.
We are also promoting the elimination of waste through resource recovery practices, namely in terms of: waste paper, used car batteries and tyres from our workshop, as well as used cooking oil generated by our canteens, which are all sent to recyclers for valorisation.
Espace Maison has been committed to improving the sustainability of its offerings. We have introduced organic and bio fertilizers with the aim of phasing out all chemical fertilisers by the end of 2020.
Similarly, we are looking to introduce organic and bio pest control products to eliminate less environmental friendly products from our shelves within two years.
Our ecological stance has also led us to offer Berling paints, which are ecolabelled certified. These products use less pigments, whilst ensuring adequate coverage. The pigments are produced in accordance with strict ecological criteria and are free from heavy metals.
“These initiatives have been welcomed by our customers and employees alike. There is an increasing awareness that we need to minimise environmental impacts associated with the consumption of a product or service”
Rajnee Bhurosah, Marketing and Communication Manager.
Staying faithful to our approach, we have taken steps to promote local natural products such as sea salt from Les Salines de Yemen, local craftsmanship by women, as well as natural soaps from our subsidiary, La Savonnerie Créole Ltée.
In June 2020 and after years of research, La Savonnerie Créole finally launched its range of solid shampoo products. The product comes in bar form that can either be securely wrapped in recyclable paper or not wrapped at all, thus eliminating waste (especially composite plastic bottles). Through the “Ban the bottle” tagline, La Savonnerie Créole aims to highlight its package-free products, thus responding to market demand.
The raw materials used in the product formula are themselves sourced in a responsible, sustainable way. They either come from natural sources (Ayurvedic products and vegans) or respect principles of green chemistry.
“Our raw material suppliers are AB Organic Farming Certified in order to preserve the quality of the soil, air and water, as well as the health of the producers. We are also committed to the One Voice Association against animal testing. La Savonnerie Créole is working in this direction and does everything possible to offer simple, natural products that are respectful of people and their habitat” says Lise Maujean, Manager of La Savonnerie Créole.
La Savonnerie Créole is also “Made in Moris”certified.
“For us, it is a way to promote local craftsmanship with a stronger identity, whether on the Mauritian market or on the tourism market. Mauritians are capable of doing beautiful things and together we can go further”
Lise Maujean, Manager of La Savonnerie Créole.
PLANTING GREEN SPACES
Flacq Associated Stone Masters Limited (FAST) Oasis: The Group owns 8.5% shares in FAST. The company is managed by UBP and shares the same corporate culture and values as the Group. Following an initiative of its Plant Manager, Mr Preetam Ramluggun, FAST has been involved in the creation of green spaces. He began by bringing plants from his home and planting them himself in the site’s yard. The effect was such that the employees followed his lead and grew a variety of plants, including fruit trees and aromatic herbs, around the site.
Following last year’s carbon emission calculations and climate risk report, UBP has also decided to get a green thumb. It is currently looking into the possibility of working in collaboration with Gros Cailloux to plant trees and shrubs on its sites across the country. Different trees have varying capacities to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but according to a study published in the Journal Nature African, tropical forests sequester 0.66 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year.
In addition, trees have the capacity to reduce temperatures on outdoor working spaces and on buildings, reducing the need for air conditioning. Lower temperatures also decrease the risk of harmful pollutants like ground level ozone that commonly spike on hot days in urban areas. And most important of all for a company like UBP is that trees are particularly effective at removing particulate matter (PM) from the air.
Another avenue we intend to explore for our future climate change adaptation strategy is the planting of mangroves near one of our subsidiaries, or alternatively in another site located close to the sea, potentially at risk in the event of rising sea levels.
Mauritius is listed in the top 15 countries at risk of Sea Level Rise. We are in touch with the local authorities to explore potential improvements we could make to contribute to the reforestation and protection of mangroves and wetlands, which are the natural protectors of our coastal systems.