(Nairobi, Kenya – July 2019) Silafrica, a leading packaging supplier to East Africa and surrounding regions continues to solidify its position as a leader in environmentally-responsible manufacturing solutions across the continent. The company produces rigid packaging for food, beverage and chemicals packaging as well as consumer products for the middle income and base of pyramid populations in Africa for home, sanitation and schools. Evidence of the company’s commitment to creating a sustainable future can be found in the recently completed installation of a 300 kba on-grid solar system at Silafrica’s Kenya manufacturing facility.
The project was made possible with the help of a Sustainability Innovation Grant from Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA). Funded by private and institutional donors, the mission of this Canada-based international economic development organization is to create business solutions that seek to eliminate poverty around the world.
“Being a responsible corporate citizen and preserving the environment has always been at the top of our priorities list at Silafrica,” commented Akshay Shah, Group Managing Director of Silafrica. “We are grateful in having MEDA as a valued partner in fulfilling our commitment to the people, families and communities throughout our region.”
Installation of the 300 kba on-grid system was provided by Greenlink Solar Ltd. The Netherlands-based company specializes in developing solar solutions for Africa’s frequently harsh climate conditions. The project took six months to complete and is forecast to result in energy saving and associated benefits from the low-maintenance array for the next twenty-five years. With the solar generation yield improvements from the solar panels, the company anticipates increasing the power coming from this alternative sustainable source by a factor of four within five years.
While Silafrica will benefit directly from the lower cost of manufacturing, other beneficiaries of this lower cost advantage include the company’s customer base, especially low-income consumers throughout the region for whom Silafrica has a strategic mandate to make aspirational and affordable plastic products to help improve the quality of their day-to-day life.
The solar power program itself is among a growing number of sustainability related initiatives that Silafrica is integrating into its operations. The company recently introduced a new manufacturing process for beverage closures, which cuts energy consumption by more than 31% when compared to their previous injection molding process. Future plans call for further expansion of the on-grid solar footprint and the addition of wind power that would directly feed the Kenya facility’s power supply, further reducing outside energy dependency.
“Energy costs from the power-grid utility company keeps increasing due to currency fluctuations and inflation adjustments,” Shah concludes. “This latest solar project represents a significant cost savings to the company enabling us to be much more competitive on a global scale.”