Orange Sierra Leone, the country’s leading telecoms company is among those that received the 2022 National Climate Ambassador Award.
Orange Sierra Leone is a worthy awardee for its role in protecting the environment against devastating consequences of global climate change.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sekou Amadou Bah, received the prestigious award from the Minister of Environment, Professor Foday Jaward.
It is on record that the company made significant gains in accelerating its solar projects in Africa and the Middle East with the avowed objective of reducing its carbon footprint to zero by 2040 an effort that is evident in Orange’s rapid deployment of solar panels across the country.
The company came to the realisation that there is need to make use of solar systems in the entire region that many of its sites were not connected to the electricity grid and so therefore was compelled to rely on an alternative source to back up the quality of the grid.
Instead of utilising electricity generators to meet the compnay’s energy needs, solar panels are used to prevent CO2 (Carbon dioxide) emission to protect the environment.
Orange has put several mechanisms in place to ensure the deployment of innovative solar solutions with the latest generation batteries to avoid the use of fuel.
Putting it into perspective, Orange Group has also positioned itself in its operational countries to reduce its environmental footprint and is the largest deployer of solar panels, with a renewable energy use rate already at over 65% for Orange Sierra Leone, 50% for Orange Guinea, and 41% for Orange Madagascar.
“These solar panel solutions have also been deployed in other African and Middle Eastern countries where Orange is present, like Liberia, for instance, where 75% of Orange’s telecom sites are equipped with solar panels.
In total, Orange has installed solar panels at 5,400 at its telecom sites (some 100% solar, others hybrid) saving 55 million liters of fuel each year,” an Orange SL official stated.
With other affiliates, Orange-SL has made environmental targets a core business concern and a major priority for its corporate social responsibility in meeting the company’s net zero-carbon initiative.
The company is also on record to have launched, in 2021, the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Committee to roll out and monitor all programmes, and make recommendations to the Management on issues of EHS for necessary action.
It is also commendable that the telecoms company expedited its green energy projects by migrating 334 out of its 505 sites to solar (+65% sites with solar) and increasing its target for renewable energy ration from 33% to 41% by the end of 2022.
So far, Orange-SL is committed to making its Bo Data Centre completely solar powered by 2023 to provide an on-grid solar solution for the Freetown Data Center in order to reduce the load.
the expansion of site footprint to install more solar panels, swapping of existing solar panels with high power panels, the provision of Li-on batteries instead of OPZ to all new sites, and the training of over 150 employees on EHS programmess as well as rolling out seven community engagements and disseminating over 500 EHS awareness messages and tips.
“Our goal is to create as much awareness on EHS programmes and increase the share of our renewable energy mix in Sierra Leone. For us, putting EHS issues into practice means implementing actions in the field through training, awareness, and engagements,” an official of the company intimated this press.
In 2019, Orange-SL received the Environmental Care Award presented by Shout Climate Change Africa on 23rd November 2019 at Miatta Conference Centre in a well-attended ceremony.
Orange SL has participated extensively in environmental and corporate social investment since it arrival in the country.
Obtaining an Environmental Impact Assessment License (EIA) from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in accordance with the EPA Act 2008 was one of key steps.
The company remains the first company to secure an EIA license from EPA in 2018 upon the successful completion of an Environmental and Social Impact assessment study with its consultant, CEMMAT. The License is renewed annually.