Tag: Profitable Sustainability

How ethical business can be big business

How ethical business can be big business

Thoughts on the principles of profitable sustainability

It’s not a secret that the prerogative of an organisation is to maximise profits. It is in our interest that the business can afford to pay wages, continue to produce the products and provide the service that we have become accustomed to love. The issue of public concern is unethical practices to achieve these profits.

Typical examples are the emissions scam of Volkswagen that went on for seven good years, or the slave labour in Bangladesh endorsed by H&M, and if that is not enough, the latest insult of H&M tweeting that white models portrayed a more positive image for the brand in H&M South Africa. At least the company apologised.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as Guiding Tools

The list is endless. I don’t want to use this post as an assault. Instead, the aim is to share insights on how businesses can be socially more responsible and remain profitable by adopting policies in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Aphropean Views UN SDGs

The 17 SDGs were set by the United Nations to combat climate change, protect our oceans and forests, improve overall health and education and to tackle poverty. All members of society are encouraged to work towards these goals by the year 2030. It is a tall order but better than nothing at all.

Governments across the world have developed policies towards SDGs, by dashing tax incentives for dynamic organisations and innovative entrepreneurs, that adopt activities of corporate social responsibility (CSR). You may ask, what is CSR? According to Think Tank Simply-CSR, it is the process of assessing an organisation’s impact on society and evaluating their duties.

Profiting from Corporate Social Responsibility

By incorporating feasible corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities into a strategic action plan, it is possible for a business to boost employee morale, strengthen the brand, increase customer loyalty, improve investment opportunities for supporting communities, reducing the exploitation of the environment and developing countries.

For all of its advantages, CSR is something of a double-edged sword: The initial costs of implementation are high. But, in the long-run, it pays off for all stakeholders, as recognised at the 3rd Frontiers of Dialogue on CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa.

It’s Win-Win

Acting social responsible for business and an individual is a win-win situation for the overall global society. Despite high costs of initial investment, an ethical business can be big business. Just look around you and see all the current efforts made towards sustainable living. Even H&M is trying hard to convert.

Gert Zechner

Gert Zechner

Aphropean Partners is proud to present Gert Zechner, MA, BSc.

Gert Zechner shares his experiences and insights on Making Sense and Profit of Sustainable Agriculture at the 4th Frontiers of Dialogue. In sponsorship of Knowledge City, Aphropean Partners hosts the #FOD17 engagement series to learn and exchange knowledge on profitable sustainability business and initiatives.

In 2009, Gert established the Austrian Aquaponic community. He combines his interest, technical and leadership skills to develop the community and along the way, Gert built Austria’s first Aquaponic System, which runs as a family business.

Currently, Gert Zechner is the President of Aquaponic Austria (NPO) and as Board Member at the Vertical Farm Institute (VFI), he actively advocates to reduce the gap within nutrient cycles and drive integrated application approaches between Aquaponic and vertical food production.

In 2018, Gert will launch his Startup PONGANIC, the first Aquaponic farm located within a residential housing development in Vienna, Austria. In addition, he is the founder of Ponganic GmbH, a fish and greengrocers store supplying sustainably farmed products.

Thomas Kukovec

Thomas Kukovec

Aphropean Partners is proud to present Thomas Kukovec.

Thomas Kukovec shares his experiences and insights on  Making Sense and Profit of Sustainable Agriculture at the 4th Frontiers of Dialogue. In sponsorship of Knowledge City, Aphropean Partners hosts the #FOD17 engagement series to learn and exchange knowledge on profitable sustainability business and initiatives. 

As a biology student, he voluntarily engaged in environmental and conservation campaigns across the globe. This experience deeply forged his personality and insights on the polemics that replaced policy making.

After spending several years as a crop protection- and trial farm manager for an Austrian agri-holding group, Thomas Kukovec recognised the underserved sector of sustainable tropical- and dryland farming. This experience led him to establish a coffee cultivation- and trade business with partners in Uganda, which he later converted into a Conservation Farming & Climate Smart Agriculture Consultancy. However, as he was offered to build up the African market for Technik-plus, an Austrian technical agribusiness, he took up the challenge to finally export Austrian know-how and technology to Africa.

In addition to his role as business development regional manager for the Middle East and Africa, Thomas Kukovec co-initiated the World Organization for Conservation- and wildlife-friendly Family Farming (WOCFF), a global network of creative thinking agronomists, sharing and debating new and old farming methods.

Thomas Kukovec keenly supports the mechanisation of African agriculture with attention to the local conditions, such as tribal traditions, nature, and environment. He advocates the belief that the age of development is over. “We don’t need your patronizing well-meaning pity“, he likes to cite the quote by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Thomas Kukovec believes the approach towards Africa is outdated and argues that it is finally time for an economic cooperation – a partnership based on mutual interests and benefits.

www.technik-plus.eu / www.thomaskukovec.com

Austrians electrifying Uganda

Austrians electrifying Uganda

A case of profitable sustainability in Uganda

In Uganda, over 80% of the population manage without grid electricity. In recent times, entrepreneurs around the world are responding to the off-grid energy demands of rural communities.

When it comes to renewable energy, Austria ranks among the top performing producers in Europe. Considering the rate of innovation and supply, the highest share of renewables is in Sweden, at a whopping rate of 53.9%, Austria has a share of 33.0%, whereas the United Kingdom racked a pathetic share of 8.2%, according to Eurostat.

AphropeanViews Solantis

Among these unsung heroes is Solantis Solar, a young enterprise founded and managed by Dr Lukas Grüner and Ines Schreckeneder; two Austrian professionals, who provide high quality, affordable solar energy systems to East African households.

Both, Dr Lukas Grüner and Ines Schreckeneder commute between their home and host country to position their company Solantis Solar Ltd as a market-leading supplier of fully certified clean energy solutions at best price and performance ratio. The dynamic energy company is on a mission to serve the needs of low and middle-income households around the world with the best value of off-grid solar home systems available with micro-loan options.

Between 2016 and now, Solantis Solar established six stores in Uganda. Further expansions are planned in response to the high demands for Solantis affordable bundled deal of solar home systems and appliances, installation and after sales service. The ambitious ecopreneurs secured a cooperation with two of the largest micro-financial institutes BRAC and Pride to ensure energy supply for all social classes of society.

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By aligning their business practices with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Solar Solantis make an obvious impact on communities in Uganda with a focus of:

  •  creating women-only customer service call centre,
  • distributing affordable, reliable and clean energy products,
  • fostering entrepreneurship for incentivised salespersons,
  • enabling small farmers to process crops more efficiently,
  • reducing the harmful effects of kerosene poisoning and candle accidents.

Environmental Technologies made in Austria are internationally sought after, whether the innovations involve the latest and most sophisticated CleanTech solutions or start-of-the-art renewable energy products.

By providing off-grid energy to Africa and the developing world, a medium-sized enterprise, such as Solantis Solar, is capable of merging sustainability with profits to bring affordable light and power to homes and businesses in need. If they can do it, then you can do it to with the help of Aphropean Partners, courage and resilience.

More about Solantis 

Profitable sustainability is not a cakewalk

Profitable sustainability is not a cakewalk

How to draw a roadmap to sustainable business

Cashflow is the lifeblood of every business. Most companies cannot afford to look beyond profitability in the short run. But sometimes you just gotta to give. Strategic planners with foresight recognise the attractive returns of social responsibility, despite reaping returns more in the long run.

What leads you to sustainable development goals? Which stakeholder plays a crucial role in the value chain? There are four primary value chain components that stand out in a strategic sustainability business model:

The Product

Produce goods and deliver services sustainably and profitably. How? By taking in consideration three sustainable components: 1) working conditions, 2) raw materials and 3) environmental performance.

Take for example Mondi Group, the paper and packaging company. Recently, the international organisation rolled out its sustainability strategy program. This complicated process involves all the company stakeholders and requires thorough due diligence on Mondi’s vast supplier network spread across 30 countries.

Also, Mondi’s sustainability policies and management systems focus on key global trends affecting society and business, including:

  • modern slavery and unsavoury working conditions;
  • ethical sourcing of raw materials;
  • reducing deforestation through forest-friendly policies such as the Growing Responsibly Model.

You may be interested to know how to conduct Due Diligence for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. Learn about the OECD Guidelines.

The Employee

Staff play a fundamental role as CSR-ambassadors. Notably, the Millennial generation (born 1980-2000) tend to adopt socially responsible values. As you already know, engaged employees who relate with the company values tend to perform better and push profits to upper levels.

Large organisations such as Mondi plc take more time and effort to implement and adapt revised changes to business operations. The effort to meet profitable sustainability objectives comes at a high cost – bigger budget allocations to human resource for staff training as well the marketing department. The organisation`s social responsibility marketing strategy weighs heavy on communication and carefully orchestrated campaigns. Company resources are largely funded to promote the means and ends of sustainable profitability measures within internal and external business operations.

The Customer

You cannot ignore the rising demands for sustainable products and services.

Mondi plc recognises this.

Customers in Europe respond more to climate change management and environmental efficiency and are likely to have the means to pay for biodegradable packaging. Whereas the customers in Africa refer to sustainability as a way to save cost for maximum output in Africa.

I wonder how Mondi tackles the dilemma of producing quality environmentally friendly paper and packaging at affordable prices.  Perhaps you can tell me.

There are multiple ways to engage with existing and potential customers. Social Media is a great medium to listen and obtain direct feedback from customers. You need to keep your green enthusiasts happy. Brand loyalty is key, which brings me to the subject of branding.

The Brand

Throughout my childhood, Mama reminded me and my siblings not to boast. I try not to blow my own trumpet excessively and prefer others to do it for me. Funny enough, this applies to companies as well.

Organisations cannot rely only on public relations and advertising to boost their brand cred. There are sneakier methods to increase brand awareness. Carefully embedding sustainability values into the mission statement is one way to develop’CSR programs, collaborate with socially responsible advocates and Aphropean Partners to consult on sustainability marketing campaigns.

Take care of the planet and people for profits

The private sector is in a prime position to make a real impact in the way we live our lives today and in the future. Social entrepreneurs tend to tie sustainability to the mission and value proposition. Larger organisations will more or less be forced to view sustainability in the same light as quality. The recent international standards demand a sustainable approach to its value chain for profits in the long run.

Who says it is easy to create a path of profitable sustainability? Or sustainable profits? The aim to sustain a competitive advantage in the long run while taking care of the people and planet.

Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders

Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders


Frontiers of Dialogue

CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa

Thursday 21 September 2017, 18:00-21:30
Salon Razumovsky, Vienna

Today’s global marketplace increasingly explores opportunities to trade with emerging markets.

Salon-Razumovsky Frontiers of Dialogue location

Aphropean Partners in collaboration with IEEE TEMS (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Technology, and Engineering Management Society) invites you to be part of an inclusive conversation.

At this Frontiers of Dialogue, we’ll discuss the options of bridging the sustainable business divide between Austria and Africa.

We have invited a distinguished panel representing the academia, public and private sector who will be sharing their sustainability initiatives in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. These individuals are incredibly valuable sources of knowledge and even better, can help you and your enterprise avoid the same mistakes they made.

The #FOD17 Panellists

Nwabisa Mayema

Chuks Ojeme, MSc
Griller & Bauer

Arch DI Dr Doris Österreicher
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien

Mag. Hans Stoisser
ECOTEC – Institutionelle Infrastrukturaufbau GmbH

Frontiers of Dialogue pt 3 Panellists

What’s on the agenda?

An engaging dialogue between experts of sustainable business, technology, and Africa in a relaxed setting with an after-work canape.

In order to successfully, expand your market to Africa, you need to understand the business conduct and market demands fully. Those of you who have already attempted trading in Africa: what your business did to be successful in the past might not be ideal in the future. Africa is connected and enlightened today more than ever before.

Together, we’ll learn about the opportunities and challenges of ethics and sustainable business initiatives with focus on the underserved market demands of Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa – particularly in the field of agriculture, education, and training, renewable off-grid energy, finance, consumer goods, manufacturing, and transport.

Frontiers of Dialogue3 Promo

What’s the point?

At this #FOD17 evening, we’ll learn about the opportunities and challenges of ethics and sustainable business initiatives in the developing world.

If you are interested in strengthening your professional Africa-Austria relations, this is a brilliant opportunity to meet intellectual people, exchange views and learn. We may not solve the world’s problems by the end of the evening, but our conversations may be the most inspiring.

The evening will be casual and filled with those sharing a common interest in the sustainable development of Africa to stem migration, create a skilled workforce and reduce the reliance of foreign aid among other matters. We place emphasis on promoting leaders of thought and practice with Africa experience.

About Aphropean Partners2
Sponsors and Partners of Frontiers of Dialogue

Previous topics of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue:

Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology (March 2017)
Driving Environmental Performance with Technology (May 2017)

Upcoming topics of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue:

Making Profit and Sense of Sustainable Agriculture  (November 2017)
Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders (September 2017)

DI. Festus O. Imarhiagbe

DI. Festus O. Imarhiagbe

Festus Imarhiagbe is an Agricultural Consultant and Agribusiness expert. He studied Agricultural Economics, Farm Production and Management at the University of Agriculture, Vienna in Austria.

He is the founder of Fesima Agro Consultancy, an advisor on agronomy as well as farm management and guest lecturer at the College of Agriculture and Sustainable Development at Cuttington University, Suakoko in Liberia.

From 2015 to 2017, Festus went to support as a project team leader in farm management the Cuttington University in Liberia under the sponsorship of USAID,  and subsidy department of agricultural marketing board (AMA) of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

Key qualification in Agricultural economics, farm production and resource management; personal/team leadership management and counselling

He is specialised in plant biology, Aquaculture, Aquaponics, new agricultural-based products and commercialization of new crops (Agribusiness development); Entrepreneurship and Microenterprise, Value Chain Analysis in Commercial Agriculture and in agricultural marketing, quality production and sustainability.

Festus is also involved in animal feeds formulation, preservation and conservation; new applications of plants for food, flavour, fragrances, health and nutrition, dietary supplements, natural plant products and herbs.

He serves in educational institutions and as a co-worker in several farmers supports projects across West Africa¸and is currently involved in steering initiatives which seek to enhance economic opportunities including the establishment of the Agricultural Training Center (ATC) in Bong County, Liberia.

Jesse Ojobor, MSc, BSc

Jesse Ojobor, (M.Sc., B.Sc.) Jesse Ojobor is an International Expert on Industrial Resource Management, Cleaner Production, Optimization and Energy Efficiency. He is currently working within the Environment Branch at the United Nations Industrial Development organization (UNIDO) HQ, Vienna.

He has acquired over ten years professional working experiences in project conceptualization, development, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation with a particular focus on industrial waste management, water management, pollution hotspot analysis, resource efficiency and cleaner production.

He obtained his Master of Science (M.Sc) Degree at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Natural Resources Management and Ecological Engineering and a Bachelor of Social Science (B.Sc) Degree in Geography and Regional Planning at University of Benin, Nigeria.

He has a solid track record in the delivery of technical cooperation projects, with specific expertise in the Sub-Sahara Africa region while acquiring knowledge and competencies within the Middle East, Arab Africa (MENA) and Asia Pacific regions.

Jesse has also developed programmes on Agribusiness and Rural Entrepreneurship Development; Poverty Reduction Human Security and Post-Crisis Rehabilitation; Women and Youth in Productive Activities which have been implemented in seventeen countries across the globe.

At the forefront of Profitable Sustainability

At the forefront of Profitable Sustainability

What is profitable sustainability?

The business of sustainability includes all players from the social entrepreneur providing innovation to the government providing a framework and incentive capital.

Also known as corporate sustainable profitability, CSP revolves around the idea that companies who take responsibility from an economical, environmental and social perspective can become more profitable (Wikipedia).

Committed to promoting sustainable business and commerce.

Aphropean Partners celebrate initiatives of enterprises and entrepreneurs, who successfully combine financial, social and environmental objectives to make an impact.

Together with strategic partners, Rita Isiba sources enterprises and organisations based in the DACH region with a mission to

1) meet social objectives: Businesses adopting social responsibilities extended to employees, the community at home and beyond borders. For example skills development and job creation;

2) meet environmental objectives: Businesses aiming to drive environmental performance, through management systems and technology, such as the prevention or reduction of pollution, noise reduction, etc.;

3) meet financial objectives: Profit and growth maximisation is crucial for businesses to trade and access emerging technology and unique resources in their favour.

Challenge is nothing more than the seed of opportunity

Social entrepreneurs and CSR-driven corporations make money out of solving problems. There appears to be no shortage of social problems, and so the opportunities are almost limitless. Problem-solving is a team sport and requires collaboration from all sectors including private, public and civil societies.

  • Governments and municipalities have the financial means and power to improve ease of business and set the right legal and fiscal framework to allow for impact.
  • Intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations provide capacity building programs and market analysis.
  • Multinational corporations have the resources (human, intelligent, capital, structure) and data to meet development goals.
  • Small-medium enterprises and entrepreneurs tend to be exposed to customers and networks on a grass root level. This enables them to fabricate innovative solution in terms of a disruptive business model, sustainable product or service.

So the principle of profitable sustainability is the collaborative and engaging partnership with all major stakeholders to positively impact profits, people, and the planet for this generation and beyond.

Aphropean Partners acts as an agent for enterprises to promote and help foster collaborations between Africa and Europe for skills development programs, research project cooperation, CSR program opportunities to address Africa’s environmental issues, which are strongly related to social and economic issues. 

Sharing is Caring

Business networks are often more effective than organisations, and so we host the four-part event series #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue for entrepreneurs, executives and professionals in Europe exploring sustainable business opportunities in Africa’s emerging markets. A panel of leaders of thought and practice with Africa experience exchange views on matters concerning business, technology and current affairs in the context of profitable sustainability.

Frontiers of Dialogue helps to expand the understanding of the African consumer, their needs and trends. Participants interact and build relations to actively engage on the internationalisation of their business to the top economies of Sub-Saharan Africa.

In complement of the events is Aphropean Views, a weekly newsletter for all subscribers to Aphropean partners. What better way to learn and share the latest trends, ideas, insights and news through #AphropeanViews?


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