The Role Of E-Commerce In Driving Africa’s Green Future For The Industry
Rising sea levels, acidic oceans, burning forests, dying coral reefs, and extreme weather are among the devastating effects of climate change that increasingly are evident in all corners of the globe.

According to recent projections from the World Health Organisation, without urgent interventions, between 2030 and 2050, climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. The direct damage costs to health are estimated to be between $2–4 billion yearly by 2030. In Africa, climate change is expected to push 39.7 million people into poverty.

Due to these statistics and the dedication of conscientious individuals, global organisations are increasingly implementing strategies designed to save the ecosystem. About 93 percent of the world’s largest companies report on sustainability. Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, is among those that have joined over 250 leading companies to announce its Environmental Social Governance (ESG) plan.

To promote sustainability, Jumia’s green growth initiative is addressing existing and emerging economic challenges without comprising livelihoods and leaving the continent vulnerable to climate change and other environmental risks. In line with the green growth model, Jumia’s Group Chief Sustainability Officer Juliet C. Anammah revealed that the organisation’s sustainability mission “will improve lives, create opportunities, and reinforce positive change for people, communities, and the planet.”

The role of e-commerce in driving Africa’s green future for the industry

Strategies Matched with Action

With Jumia’s ESG strategy announcement, the e-commerce giant has actively engaged in relevant environmentally friendly activities across its African operations, aligning with the United Nations Sustainability Goal for Responsible Consumption and Production.

To reduce waste and environmental pollution, Jumia prioritises electronic records for data storage to eliminate the need for paper usage and disposal. In addition, the company re-uses manufacturers’ packaging and recycles packaging from customers’ returns. The refurbishing strategy extends to the sale of pre-owned and used phones. In 2021, the online marketplace sold 8,472 refurbished phones to promote responsible product consumption.

The company also allows qualifying customers to keep some items they wish to return and still gives them a refund. Through the conceivable initiative in 2020 and 2021, the company effectively avoided the shipment of 16,800 and 28,000 items, which could have led to 5.2 tons and 6.6 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Africa.

The role of e-commerce in driving Africa’s green future for the industry

Friendly Environmental Practices

Scientists have noted that greenhouse gas emissions trap the sun’s heat and contribute to climate change. Transportation is responsible for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from burning fossil fuels in cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes during transit, as the United States Environmental Protection Agency reported.

E-commerce companies will need to take action to keep gas emissions from their logistics operations in check. In line with this, Jumia relocated hubs closer to customer clusters, resulting in a 5.4% reduction in the distance travelled from these hubs. The platform further implemented best practices for clean fuel storage, carburetor cleaning, vehicle servicing, and usage. In addition, the e-commerce company organised hands-on training for its logistics team and third-party logistics partners on processes to ensure vehicles are adequately maintained and serviced.

In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

Measures were put in place to reduce fuel consumption and mitigate or eliminate the use of corrosive energy. For example, the organisation set up 2,916 pick-up stations that allow consumers to receive their orders at stations close to them. With this model, customers simply walk a short distance to retrieve their package or take a less carbon-intensive means of transportation. As a result, in 2021, 21% of packages were picked up by Jumia customers from their respective pick-up locations.

Furthermore, we have seen the company move to eco-friendly transportation to reduce its carbon footprint. Recently, Jumia entered into a partnership with Cargo Bikes Africa, Cycle Drop Company Limited, and Solar Taxi in Ghana for eco-friendly deliveries using e-Bikes. A similar move was made in Kenya with BILITI Electric seeing Jumia add e-Vans (TukTuks) to its delivery fleet to minimize the environmental impact of its operations. Drones delivery in rural areas can also support this objective, Jumia started recently a partnership in Ghana with Zipline. This innovation can definitely help to fight against climate change.

Extensive energy consumption has been linked to climate change, contributing to about two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. Although energy choice is limited in Africa and supply from the grid is not always reliable, e-commerce companies like Jumia apply innovative solutions to reduce energy use where possible. For example, in some of the company’s warehouses, sunlight-transparent panels and energy-efficient exhaust fans are used, reducing the need to power light fixtures and maximising climate control.

In conclusion, organisations in Africa must continuously employ creative and intentional measures to contribute to a healthy environment.


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