SAN023 ImageClick image to enlargeSituated in the mountains of north-western Tanzania, the rural district of Karagwe was once an influential kingdom. While agriculture remains one of Karagwe’s key sources of income, the area also faces a major water shortage.

Here, Johan Kerstell, Executive Vice President and Head of Human Resources at Sandvik Group, explains how bringing people together can help overcome such challenges.

Established in 2015, the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals address global challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate change and justice. Number six of the 17 goals is to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

Out of a population of 57 million people, just 57 per cent of Tanzania has access to an improved source of safe water, leaving many to spend a significant amount of time travelling long distances to collect water. To help improve everyday life for children in the area, Sandvik and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) have been working in cooperation with locals to construct sustainable toilet facilities in schools.

Engineering sustainability

The first goal of the Karagwe sanitation project was to build a prototype toilet that could go on to be used in the district’s public primary schools. Due to the water shortage, engineers needed to come up with a water-free flushing system that could improve hygiene levels while not increasing water dependency. An ecological sanitation solution that converts waste into compostable matter offers an alternative to conventional sanitation in challenging environments, helping to solve the issue without further developing another.

Ecological sanitation, or ecosan, is an approach to sanitation that aims to safely reuse human waste. When properly designed and operated, an ecosan system provides a hygienically safe method of converting waste into nutrients that can be returned to soil. To lower the pH and limit the amount of fluids left over from the waste, ashes and sawdust are spread on the collected material.

This method of treating waste offers numerous benefits that help to improve the health and value of both people and their surrounding environment. For example, ecosan systems minimise the introduction of pathogens from human waste into the water cycle, which are typically introduced via ground water if waste is not managed effectively.

Dry toilet systems also help lower water consumption, while the conversion of resources into compost reduces the reliance on non-renewable resources for fertilizer and energy consumption during its production. In fact, urea is a major component in urine, yet we product vast quantities of urea by using fossil fuels. Properly managing the natural production of these components can further boost sustainability in developing areas.

Adding value

In addition to the sanitation and sustainability benefits that the project brings to Karagwe, improved facilities also bring a great deal of social value. Johanna Burström, who studies Water and Environmental Engineering at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, is one of the two engineering students that worked in Karagwe to execute the prototype project. She performed a survey at the girls’ secondary school to receive input on how the design of the toilet system could make life easier for them.

“We know that menstruation is connected with taboos, which is a challenge for many girls, especially in mixed schools,” Burström explains. Providing facilities dedicated to female hygiene, with safe disposal and water access, will help make pupils feel more comfortable during their time at school.

Delivering social value is something that many employees want to participate in, and people want to work for responsible companies. Back in 2016, a report by Cone Communications found that 64 per cent of millennials — who are currently estimated to make up 50 per cent of the working population — would not accept a job if the company didn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values.

More recently, CSR took centre stage during the 2020 edition of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos gathering, with ‘Better Business’ being one of the conference’s main themes and several sessions devoted to seeking ways that businesses can improve the environment and people’s well-being.

Time-honoured relationships

Sandvik AB has a longstanding relationship with EWB Sweden. Sandvik AB contributes its technical know-how, project management skills and international experience to EWB’s activities in Sweden and in developing countries. Projects such as the Karagwe school project and the collaboration with EWB play a major role in Sandvik’s community involvement and correspond to the company’s goal to create social value through engineering and innovation.

Engineering goes far beyond designing machine tools and developing manufacturing methods. In fact, engineering and innovation play a vital role in making society a better place for everyone, improving the lives of those facing challenges.

Understanding the role that we can play in the community is a vital part of what we do, and recognising that engineering is just as much about people as it is about products is key to making our planet a safer, cleaner and happier place.

https://www.home.sandvik/en/

Crunching the Numbers: Automating job estimation

by Andrew Brooks

Automating job estimation makes the process faster and more accurate – and keeps costs on a tight leash

Bugatti builds high performance components using AM

High performance vehicle maker Bugatti is employing advanced metal additive manufacturing technology to build automotive components.

Linamar cites supply chain pinch in Q2 update

Supply chain issues continue to hamper the manufacturing sector, with the latest report from Linamar Corp. confirming the impact on its key target markets, Access, Agriculture and Automotive markets.

Union welcomes Chrysler $2 B investment in Windsor

Chrysler's announcement that it's investing $2 billion in its Windsor, ON, minivan plant was welcome news by workers in the automotive industry.

Ford creates EV battery centre of excellence

Ford Motor Co. has announced the launch of a new global battery centre of excellence called Ford Ion Park to accelerate research and development of battery and battery cell technology, including battery manufacturing.

Economic optimism on the rise: KPMG

The CEOs of some of Canada’s biggest publicly traded companies are far more confident in economic growth prospects than they were six months ago, according to KPMG's recent Global CEO Outlook pulse survey.

Bossard steps down at Salvagnini America

Bill Bossard will retire as president of Salvagnini America this year.

Mike Whitehead new president at Lincoln Electric Canada

Mike Whitehead has been appointed president of Lincoln Electric Canada effective January 1, 2015. He succeeds Joseph G. Doria, who has retired as president and CEO of the company.

Canada commits to 8-year $800 M shipbuilding investment

The Government of Canada has committed to supporting the country's shipbuilding industry with an eight-year, $800 million contract for Thales Canada Inc. and Thales Australia Ltd. that will help support the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and Joint Support Ships. The investment means shipbuilding companies such as Irving Shipbuilding and Seaspan's Vancover Shipyards will be building ships in Canada to support the commitment.

Job growth rebounds, housing starts slip in January: RBC

Canadian employment growth rebounded in January after slowing over the first half of 2018.

July manufacturing PMI hits four month high

The IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) signalled another fall in production levels for the month of July, but the decline was the softest since the current downturn began in April.

Economy to sink 6% this year, bounce back in 2021, says BMO report

The Canadian and global economies have begun the initial stages of recovery, according to a newly-released report from BMO. 

Machine tool distributor celebrates new facility

Machine Tool Systems celebrated the opening of a new facility -- and a new chapter in its history -- with an open house for customers and industry colleagues. The machine tool distributor recently announced it had become the exclusive Canadian distributor for GF Machining Solutions.

Companies poorly prepared for new energy economy, research finds

New research from Schneider Electric indicates that while most organizations feel ready for a decentralized, decarbonized and digitized future, many aren’t taking the necessary steps to integrate and advance their energy and sustainability programs.

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and CEO, Schneider Electric

Metal products exports help narrow Canada’s trade deficit to $1.9 B in April

Canada's merchandise trade deficit was cut in half in April as exports rose to a record and imports moved lower, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn