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Environmental Case Study

18 December 2019

Demonstrating water stewardship excellence in Zambia

Demonstrating water stewardship excellence in Zambia

Zambia Sugar Plc, the country’s leading sugar producer was this month awarded second place in the Zambia Water Stewardship Awards hosted by the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) and Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI).

The competition, first launched in 2018 as one of its kind in the country, aims to promote, incentivise and recognise good corporate water stewardship amongst companies in Zambia as well as to promote the sustainable use of water resources in line with international best-practice.

Zambia Sugar is located in the south-western region alongside the Kafue River, which is approximately 1,600 kilometres long and acts as a source of food, energy and water for many communities and businesses along its banks; not least Zambia Sugar.

Active water stewards

To support the cultivation of sugar cane for the sugar manufacturing process, water is withdrawn from the river for irrigation, factory heating, cooling and cleaning; and is used sustainability and in line with its Integrated Sugar Cane Processing Model. This ensures all captured water is recycled using one of the six water treatment plants on the Nakambala Sugar Estate.

In addition, the company also supplies raw water to the nearby town of Mazabuka and potable water and sanitation to over 16,000 residents of the sugar estate. Potable water is water that has been treated and is safe to drink, without risk of disease or harmful substances; it is often referred to as drinking water referring to one of its uses.

Adhering to environmental license and permit conditions as regulated by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), as well as undertaking its own environmental pollution monitoring; the company clearly demonstrates its long-term commitment to water stewardship. It aims to follow international best practices and is currently implementing a water management strategy focusing on six key areas to reduce its water footprint. These areas are: water stewardship, efficiency, quality, supply chain, community and profitability. Complimentary tools such as water risk profiling provides financial and environmental scenario planning to manage water usage and utilisation across the estate.

In addition to its own requirements, the business helps to channel the resource to its farmers as well as the local municipality through the Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWASCO). As a result, the company is very active in water resource management best practice through major investments to its systems and infrastructure; including irrigation. Part of this is its involvement as one of three private sector members who actively participate in the Kafue Flats Joint Action Group (KFJAG); taking its role as one of the many users of the Kafue River seriously.

Following the awards, Rebecca Katowa, Managing Director for Zambia Sugar plc comments on what the company hopes to achieve: “Through a collaborative stakeholder approach, Zambia Sugar will continue to build on its past achievements and stewardship role in water conservation initiatives. We will endeavour to make great strides in addressing future challenges in agriculture and natural resources conservation.”

Notes to editors:

Zambia Sugar Plc is the country’s largest sugar producer with its production and management operations based at Mazabuka, Southern Province. The company is listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange with 75% of the shares held by Illovo Sugar Africa (Pty) Ltd (a subsidiary of Associated British Foods Plc) and the balance by institutional and private shareholders in Zambia.

Competition judging criteria:

  • The clear demonstration of a company’s official commitment to water stewardship
  • Compliance with water-related legal and regulatory requirements and its respect pf water rights
  • Positive participation to catchment governance
  • Provision of water and sanitation services (WASH) to workers on site

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