Novozymes pioneers food–energy venture in Africa

Novozymes and environmental venture group CleanStar Ventures are to jointly establish an integrated food–energy business in Mozambique that will replace thousands of charcoal-burning cookstoves with cleaner ethanol stoves.

21. September 2011
 
In addition to safeguarding lives from dangerous charcoal smoke, the business is intended to increase farmers’ incomes by up to 500%, save thousands of acres of forest every year, and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is in advanced discussions to join the venture.
 
Today, Novozymes announced its investment in CleanStar Mozambique at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. CleanStar Mozambique, a company founded by Novozymes and CleanStar Ventures, will work with smallholder farmers to implement sustainable farming practices, create a food and ethanol cooking fuel production facility, and lay the groundwork for economically and ecologically sustainable communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The business will address a range of problems, including land degradation, poor health, and energy poverty.
 
Agriculture in the developing world holds an enormous potential that can be realized with the assistance of biotechnology,” says Novozymes Executive Vice President Thomas Nagy. “Through this partnership, local communities in Africa will be able to produce more food and energy while at the same time improving their health, restoring forests, cleaning the air, and growing the economy.”
 
Cut charcoal smoke and deforestation
Under CleanStar Mozambique’s innovative business model, thousands of farmers in Mozambique will have the opportunity to transition from charcoal production and slash-and-burn agriculture to cultivating a diverse range of crops and trees, which will significantly improve their income and nutrition levels while rehabilitating degraded soils and enhancing biodiversity. Whatever the families do not consume themselves, they will sell to CleanStar Mozambique. The company will produce a range of food products as well as an ethanol-based cooking fuel made from cassava, which will be sold into urban markets.
 
Throughout Africa, more than 80% of urban families buy charcoal to cook their food. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) there is evidence to suggest that indoor air pollution from solid fuel use – including charcoal – may be damaging to a person’s health. Charcoal usage is also a major driver in the mass deforestation across Africa, where every year hundreds of millions of trees are cleared to produce charcoal. It is intended that by 2014, CleanStar Mozambique will supply 20% of local households in Mozambique’s capital Maputo with a clean and competitive alternative to charcoal, which is intended to improve family health and protect 9,000 acres of indigenous forest per year.
 
This business model can be replicated and scaled throughout the developing world,” says Thomas Nagy. “With CleanStar Mozambique, we hope to show how biotechnology can catalyze the development of agriculture, food, and ethanol industries in developing countries, and create new bio-based markets that benefit local communities and the environment.”
 
CleanStar Ventures and Novozymes have partnered with a number of other companies in the business. Most notably, the process design and construction company ICM, Inc. is providing the food and ethanol cooking fuel production facility. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is in advanced discussions with Novozymes and CleanStar Ventures about serving as Carbon Finance Associate in order to help maximize the monetary value of the project's carbon emission reductions.
 
FAO: Integrated food and energy systems reduce poverty
Since President Bill Clinton established CGI in 2005, the organization has convened global leaders in government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Each CGI member makes a commitment – a concrete proposal to address a major global challenge – and collaborates with other members to translate that plan into meaningful, measurable results. This is Novozymes’ first CGI commitment.
 
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), producing food and energy side-by-side may offer one of the best formulas for boosting countries' food and energy security while simultaneously reducing poverty.
 
About CleanStar Ventures
CleanStar Ventures is a venture development partnership that leverages innovation to drive social development and environmental restoration. CleanStar Ventures combines risk capital, technology, and expertise to create sustainable long-term value for the customers, partners, and shareholders in its ventures. Read more at www.cleanstarventures.com
 
About ICM, Inc.
Established in 1995 and headquartered in Colwich, Kansas, ICM, Inc. provides innovative technologies, solutions, and services to sustain agriculture and advance renewable energy, including food and feed technologies that will increase the supply of world protein. By providing proprietary process technology to 102 facilities with a combined production capacity of approximately 6.7 billion gallons of annual ethanol production, ICM has become a world leader in biorefining technology. The full-service provider also offers a comprehensive line of more than 100 products and services tailored to make biofuels production more efficient and more profitable. ICM is further upholding its responsibility as an industry leader by heavily investing in the continued advancement of renewable energy technologies. In an effort to speed that advance, ICM has been conducting research and testing at its two state-of-the-art research facilities in Colwich, KS, and St. Joseph, MO, in conjunction with a growing list of strategic partners spanning multiple industries. For more information, please visit icminc.com.
 
About Bank of America
Understanding the important role it plays in helping clients and communities address climate change, Bank of America Merrill Lynch continues to establish itself as an environmental leader in the financial services sector. In 2007, Bank of America Merrill Lynch embarked on a 10-year, $20 billion business initiative to address climate change through lending, investments, capital markets activity, philanthropy, and its own operations. Delivering more than $13 billion in four years to hundreds of clients in the United States, Canada and markets across Asia, Europe and Latin America, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is focused on reducing its environmental footprint while aligning its global financial products and services to help advance energy efficiency and low-carbon energy markets, including wind, solar, biomass, nuclear and other emerging technologies.
 
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 58 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,700 retail banking offices and approximately 17,800 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
 
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the marketing name for the global banking and global markets businesses of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives, and other commercial banking activities are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., member FDIC. Securities, strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, which is a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, a locally registered entity. Investment products offered by Investment Banking Affiliates:  Are Not FDIC Insured * May Lose Value * Are Not Bank Guaranteed.
 
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective
nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these comm
itments will be valued in excess of USD 63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20–22 in New York City.
 
This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making.