Man kneels in front of a solar cell

FOCUS TOPIC: Environmental protection and climate actionUsing natural resources sustainably

Protecting the natural environment is one of the most important global tasks in the decades ahead. For companies, this means having to align their business activities in a short space of time with sustainability principles such as zero emissions and the circular economy. At the same time, there is great potential in the sustainable transformation of the economy – not just for companies pioneering the way forward in this field, but also for people in developing and emerging market countries who are often severely impacted by environmental damage and climate change. 

Through its funding programme develoPPP, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports business initiatives that make a measurable contribution to the greening of cultivation and production processes, to reducing (climate) damaging emissions or to conserving the natural environment. 

project countries
project volume – some 46 per cent of which is publicly funded
Basis: develoPPP projects with environmental and climate components between January 2019 and October 2021

Cultivation, production, trade and consumption negatively impact our natural environment in many different ways. There are various points companies can target in order to improve the ecological footprint of their economic activities in developing countries and emerging markets. 

  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency 
    Scaling back climate-damaging emissions is a key component of sustainable business operations. And it can be achieved in two ways: through more efficient use of energy in general and through greater use of renewable energy in particular. develoPPP-backed projects aim to do both, for example by sensitising managers and workers in production companies, piloting sustainable technologies or supporting new mobility solutions in metropolitan areas. 
  • Resource protection and biodiversity  
    Inadequate waste management and recycling capacity, a lack of knowledge about resource-friendly cropping methods, and the uncontrolled expansion of farmland in the face of low yields all constitute a massive threat to the ecosystem in developing and emerging markets countries – and indeed worldwide. Through training, instruction and technology transfers, develoPPP projects help put the use of natural resources on a more sustainable footing and reduce the negative impacts of economic activities on the environment. 
Farmer kneels in a field and inspects the irrigation system (Mexico)

MEXICO: Long-term conservation of groundwater supplies

In many regions of Mexico, intensive usage and the impacts of climate change are putting natural water resources under pressure. Innovative financing mechanisms rolled out through a project by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the drinks manufacturer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and its Mexican subsidiary Grupo Modelo are now enabling 700 farmers in two federal states to introduce sustainable cropping methods and more efficient irrigation systems. Through these efforts and other measures, their water consumption is to be reduced by 30 per cent. At the same time, another 700,000 people stand to benefit from more reliable supplies.

E-bike stands on a dirt road (Uganda)

UGANDA: E-bikes for the climate-friendly transport of people and goods

Population growth in Uganda is driving a heavy increase in urban traffic, whereby motorbikes in particular are negatively impacting the quality of air and life. A project by DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and Hero Cycles Limited aims to promote the use of e-bikes in Uganda and to create jobs in the transport sector, in assembly and in sales. Flexible rental periods, a range of up to 40 km, a maximum load bearing capacity of 120 kg and mobile payment options are intended to make the e-bike fleet accessible and appealing to a wide group of users.

Three workers bend over an e-motorcycle in a workshop (Rwanda)

RWANDA: E-mobility training

A provider of e-mobility solutions, Safi Universal Link Ltd. is one of three Rwandan operators of a sharing system for electrically powered motorcycles. To meet the high demand for skilled workers for its lending and service networks, the company has cooperated with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to set up a free training service for various occupational groups in the e-mobility sector. Opening up a wide range of employment opportunities for graduates, this programme constitutes a valuable contribution to sustainable transportation and climate-friendly jobs in Rwanda.

Power Group SAS building (Colombia)

COLOMBIA: Water and electricity for off-grid areas

Almost two thirds of Colombia is off grid, meaning people have no or only limited access to water and electricity. Against this backdrop, DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and Power Group S.A.S. have put together a project that uses photovoltaic-powered container units to supply water and electric power. These containers are distributed – initially free of charge – to young entrepreneurs in the target regions in a bid to boost their career prospects. At the end of the two-year project term, a monthly rental fee will be charged should they decide to keep their business going.

Forested island in the sea (Tanzania)

TANZANIA: (Re-) building eco-tourism

The coronavirus pandemic caused Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago to lose out on income from tourism. The privately run nature reserve Chumbe Island Coral Park used this time to work with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to map out a Green Recovery Plan for the tourism industry in conjunction with other local companies, community groups and government authorities. Amongst other things, this plan provides for training measures for 300 people in an effort to secure their employability beyond the pandemic.

Woman working at a loom

develoPPP Classic

develoPPP Classic is aimed at medium-sized and large companies that want to invest sustainably in a developing or emerging country and expand their operational activities locally. Suitable projects receive technical and financial support of up to two million euros in public funding.

Young empoyees in a discussion during a business meeting

develoPPP Ventures

develoPPP Ventures is aimed at young companies that are already active with an innovative business model in a developing or emerging country and are ready to take the next step. Within the framework of a matching funds model, a public growth investment of up to 100,000 euros is possible.

Carolin Welzel
Carolin Welzel Senior Consultant Agency for Business & Economic Development
Hans-Joachim Hebgen
Hans-Joachim Hebgen Senior Consultant Agency for Business & Economic Development
Daniel Thomann
Daniel Thomann Head of Programme DEG Impulse gGmbH
Kathinka Kurz
Kathinka Kurz Head of Programme Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH