Lake Naivasha in Kenya is a freshwater paradise for hippos and flamingos. It sits at the northern edge of the Hell’s Gate National Park and has provided inspiration for the majestic settings of The Lion King. Here, amid nature and wildlife as beautiful and brutal as you can possibly imagine, you will find The Oserian Two Lakes Flower Farm.
The Oserian Flower Farm has the ambition to remain Africa’s most sustainable flower farm in all possible meanings of the phrase while expanding their activities at the site. The company provides housing for its employees on site and its Estate is home to over 11,500 people. Oserian has erected schools and hospitals for them to use and child birth mortality rates are at zero per cent, something unheard of in the rest of Kenya.
Oserian does not only offer great facilities for its employees, it also provides them with renewable, green energy from a large geotherm plant and a 1 MW solar park. The Company’s sustainability efforts have been recognized with several sustainability awards.
And it is really not difficult to see, why Oserian goes out of its way to treat the area and its inhabitants with respect: a large part of its 18,000 acres being used to create the Oserengoni Wildlife Sanctuary, which with its stunningly diverse wildlife including over 50 different species of mammals and 400 types of birds, is the number one driving force for Oserian to remain committed to their sustainable agenda.
Creating a sustainable special zone
However, it is neither easy nor particularly cheap to remain sustainable, and that is why Oserian Flower Farm is working with NIRAS, SYSTEMIQ and the other partners of the P4G supported partnership, SSEZ Africa. The partnership is helping the flower farm through a sustainable transformation into an industrial park, by developing a masterplan that will create a Sustainable Special Economic Zone (SSEZ). The SSEZ is a vision of a vibrant industrial hub, with sustainable and low-carbon businesses as tenants, that coexists with nature and society instead of destroying it.
This ambition is supported by the local government which is in the process of awarding the area the status of a special economic zone which will provide companies with favourable tax and trading conditions.
Understanding both business and sustainability
Before a Sustainable Investment Cluster can come into being at Oserian Two Lakes, the site needs to be prepared for potential new tenants, so they can see opportunities instead of limitations in settling in such lush surroundings, where wild Leopards and Buffaloes are never far away. Crucial to this is a deep understanding of the possible needs of these companies, so that the infrastructure and services of the site are tailored to meet their needs, in both an economic and sustainable manner.
NIRAS and partners therefore help Oserian Two Lakes to determine what drivers are in range of areas e.g. space and utility demands, clustering the different sectors and the needs individual companies have. A large textile company for example needs state of the art waste water solutions, if it is to open a facility at Two Lakes. This is not currently developed at the location, so part of the project is to conceptualize a waste water system that can treat and recirculate water from one cluster, for example the sustainable apparel cluster, and utilise it, for example at the flower farm where the treated waste water can be used for irrigation. Similar dilemmas, as well as potential sustainable solutions, are found across the many different sectors and individual companies, looking to move into the future industrial park.
This is an exciting task, where NIRAS activates all its expertise in all the involved sectors, such as knowledge about waste water treatment, circular economy, renewable energy and sustainable construction. NIRAS also includes UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to decide on the focal points for the master plan to ensure feasible, sustainable and innovative solutions that work in the local context. Because it would be a tragedy if the wildlife and community at Oserian Two Lakes is not preserved.