Press Release: DigiPlex Supports Sustainable School-Building in Cote d’Ivoire with 1.2 Million NOK Donation to UNICEF
DigiPlex, the Nordic leader for sustainable, scalable, and secure data centers, will make a significant donation of 1,200,000 NOK over three years to UNICEF as part of its commitment to climate action and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. DigiPlex is supporting a pioneering UNICEF scheme that empowers mothers economically by creating an innovative recycling market, transforming plastic waste into building bricks for new school construction.
In its 2019 Sustainability Report, DigiPlex outlined a goal to partner with and provide funding for an organization working for children in support of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in a developing community. After careful consideration, the company has selected the Plastic Brick Project being undertaken by UNICEF in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
In partnership with a Colombian social enterprise, Conceptos Plasticos, UNICEF has created a women-led recycling market in Abidjan that creates livelihoods and income for some of the most disadvantaged people on the planet. The capital city of Abidjan produces 288 tons of plastic waste daily, and the circular Plastic Brick project pays local women to collect this plastic waste – from candy wrappers to car tyres – which is then transformed into safe and durable low-cost plastic building blocks. These plastic blocks are used to build schools for some of the 1.6 million children, mostly girls, currently denied access to education throughout Cote D’Ivoire.
“DigiPlex demonstrate in a good manner how they execute good social governance and responsibility, by supporting the project of turning plastic waste into material for building classrooms. The project covers three main pillars, how to recycle waste, securing health due to bad waste management and the challenges related to lack of education due to insufficient numbers of classrooms. We look forward to the cooperation with DigiPlex in the years to come, and we are proud of having them as our corporate partner. Together we are securing a future for children by beating plastic pollution,” says Director for cooperate partnership Kari Von Krogh.
In addition to the women getting secure employment with benefits and a regular income to cover living expenses such as food, gas for cooking and heating providing stable households for their children, the cleaned beaches mean clean playing grounds and improved health. The health issues from polluted beaches are immense; children often play there, and the Plastic Brick project decreases the risk for the children being infected by diseases such as diarrhea and malaria from polluted beaches or develop pneumonia from polluted air due to plastic burned for cooking or heating.
“We are very proud to sponsor the UNICEF Plastic Brick project,” says Wiljar Nesse, CEO of DigiPlex. “Sustainability is at the core of DigiPlex’s mission, and as a leader in creating sustainable infrastructure for the digital world this important project in Abidjan adds valuable dimensions to our sustainability goals. Working with local youth and women as agents of change, we are hopeful that our support will not only economically empower women but also creating a clean environment for children to learn and play.”
Being the first of its kind, fully operational the plastic bricks factory will have capacity to convert 9.600 tons of plastic/year into construction material. UNICEF has committed to build +500 classrooms for more than 25,000 children, and to make a better living for +3,500 women plastic collectors in the next two years.
DigiPlex identified seven SDGs to target in its 2019 Sustainability Report, and the UNICEF Plastic Brick Project allows DigiPlex to help impact the following five SDGs:
- SDG 1 – No Poverty
- SDG 4 – Quality Education
- SDG 8 – Good Jobs and Economic Growth
- SDG 13 – Climate Action
- SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals
Facts about the Plastic Brick Project
- 40 percent cheaper, 20 percent lighter and more durable than conventional bricks
- It takes 5 tons of plastic to make one classroom
- Any plastic – except PVC – can be used to make these bricks
- Easy to assemble – all you need is a hammer – and takes weeks (vs months) to build a classroom
- Waterproof, fire retardant, well insulated, and designed to resist heavy winds
The agreement with UNICEF was signed by DigiPlex in Norway on 1st March 2021 and will run for an initial term of three-years.