Green-prenuers barter waste for products
Durban - Unilever SA is teaming up with the Wildlands Conservation trust to provide ‘green-preneurs’ with access to nutrition and hygiene packs.
The initiative forms part of the broader Unilever Sustainable Living plan, with specific and measurable targets for 2020. The company is committed to double its business, whilst halving environmental impact and increasing positive social impact. Pamela Stander, Unilever Sustainability Lead for Africa stated that “Through these collaborative initiatives, closely linked to our Unilever Sustainable Living plan, that we deliver a brighter future for South African communities”
The Wildlands Conservation Trust is a non-profit organisation that promotes ‘green-preneurship’ by enabling disadvantaged communities to collect recyclable waste and grow trees, which they then barter for livelihood support items such as groceries, bicycles, Jojo tanks, building materials and school fees.
As part of the initiative, Unilever provides Wildlands with access to health and hygiene packs, which green-preneurs barter for collected waste. The packs contain some of Unilever’s most popular products, such as Sunlight Laundry Bar, Knorrox, Lifebuoy Soap, Domestos, Rama, Pedsodent and Vaseline. One pack can be bartered for 70 kg’s of recyclable plastic, or between 20 to 40 indigenous trees grown (size dependant).
“Wildlands do not ‘hand out’ livelihood support items,” said Wildland’s CEO Dr Andrew Venter, “we promote entrepreneurship with our barter - reward model based on national greening activities. When partners like Unilever come forward with items that can add value to the lives of our hard working green-preneurs, we are extremely appreciative and grateful.”
The first handover of packs took place on Friday 16th May in the Haniville community in KwaZulu Natal. Over 60 community members turned out for the day, many of whom who were previously unemployed, but are now able to support themselves and their families through the waste collection program.
A local Tree-preneur, Thembisile Shange, expressed her excitement after receiving 3 hampers to the value of R649.25 - "I feel so blessed to receive these hampers, thanks to Wildlands and Unilever for making it possible. I really hope that this project does not end but continues to change the lives of people like me."
At the handover, members of the Unilever Future Leaders Program (the company’s graduate development program) provided training on how to use the products contained in the health and hygiene packs more effectively, such as the 5 key occasions of when to use Lifebuoy Hygiene Soap, how to plant Rajah Real Gardening Seed Strips and the nutritional benefits of Rama margarine.
UFLP project member, Andrzej Ogonowski stated that “the project is a win-win for Unilever, as it not only helps us achieve our USLP ambition of improving livelihoods, but also provides a new way to get our product into the hands of consumers who haven’t had access to these products before. The unique bartering mechanic of the waste-collection and tree growing programs enables this.”
In terms of the future of the project, Ogonowski highlighted the importance of aligning Unilever’s business and sustainability objectives, saying that “when a project helps not only from a sustainability standpoint, but also provides a growth opportunity, there is inevitably going to be more interest and support. This is going to help us in our objectives of growing the project to 5000 packs this year, and ultimately making it a sustainable project that can continue to run for years to come”
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