June 2015 – Wilderness Safaris is thrilled to announce that it has won the National Energy Globe Award for Botswana for its innovative solar conservation programme.
“We are extremely proud to receive such recognition for our efforts to reduce use of fossil fuels and the associated carbon emissions. As Africa’s leading ecotourism company, it is essential that we continue to pioneer the way in terms of best practice, not only because it makes commercial sense, but because we believe in creating sustainable conservation economies. Our ongoing investments in renewable energy play a key role in achieving this”, says Derek de la Harpe, Chief Sustainability Officer.
In 2010, Wilderness Safaris embarked on an initiative to convert the diesel-powered generators at its safari camps to solar power as the primary energy source. Currently, there are nine 100% solar-powered camps, and four with solar-hybrid systems which use a combination of solar and generators for energy. A further 12 camps operate off smaller solar systems that power each guest unit independently, leaving the generator to power only the main area. An additional 22 camps make use of inverter-battery systems, reducing generator running times from 24 hours to just nine hours per day. A total of 72% of Wilderness Safaris’ camps use solar geysers.
“We have made excellent progress in terms of reducing our carbon footprint and, as a result, in the 2015 financial year, our energy consumption decreased by 12% compared to 2012, while carbon emissions from our camp operations have decreased by 17%”, says de la Harpe.
The Energy Globe Award was founded by Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and is now considered one of the world’s leading environmental awards. The programme is under the patronage of UNESCO and is conducted in cooperation with UNEP. This year, more than 1 500 entries were received from over 170 countries, each of which was evaluated by high-profile experts from the Energy Globe evaluation committee.
To see the full list of National Energy Globe winners, click here.