Lasting sustainable impact with a trusted partner

community

It’s been 13 years since u-blox and ADES began their longstanding partnership. u-blox remains inspired by the outstanding, sustainable impact that the relatively small but powerful ADES teams in both Madagascar and Switzerland are having on the island and our planet. From a shipping container filled with 500 kits to build cookers in 1998, ADES has grown into an award-winning NGO with over 250 people and 16 locations, producing over 80,000 life-changing cookers per year, planting hundreds of thousands of trees, providing environmental education to thousands of Malagasy children, and in cooperation with myclimate, have pledged to reduce more than 3 million tons of CO2 jointly.

How it all started

u-blox had just established its sustainability program when Herbert Blaser, then Head of Business Marketing, inspired by the work of Regula Ochsner and the ADES team in Madagascar, introduced ADES to u-blox.  Beginning with small joint projects, it soon became clear ADES was a perfect match for many of the sustainability challenges u-blox wanted to address.

We believe in building sustainable communities

The u-blox Communities Strategy is delivered through four key channels that we combine wherever appropriate to create maximum benefit: 1) we donate our technology, 2) make financial contributions, 3) encourage and incentivize our employees to offer their expertise through volunteering (uGIVE) and 4) we work with educational organizations to support learning primarily in Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

 

Here are some highlights our long and fruitful cooperation with ADES has achieved over the years:

 

Life-changing energy-efficient cookers

The flagship ADES program – producing and selling energy efficient cookers – enables Malagasy households to make substantial financial savings, improve their health by eliminating smoke emissions, and counteract the progressive loss of forests in Madagascar. The ADES team have sold energy efficient cookers to over 1,500 households of 8,250 individuals - collectively saving 4,500 tons of wood and CO2 emissions.

 

Together we’ve cut CO2 emissions by 67,000 tons 

Our partnership with ADES has also made a lasting impact by directly contributing to over 4,000 energy efficient cookers currently in use, saving each household 500 hours gathering firewood annually. Our donations have cut the country’s CO2 emissions by 67,000 tons.  In a country where 92% of the population lives on less than two US dollars per day and 85% has no access to electricity, the contributions of ADES make a big difference.

The summer of 2018

Our people’s expertise and our technologies’ capabilities mean we can make a meaningful difference to communities. An example was in the summer of 2018 when u-blox sponsored three months of the ADES mobile sales platform’s activity.

The ADES truck was traveling from Moramanga to Ambatondrazaka to Tamatave with the objective to raise the awareness of 4,000 people about the importance of environmental protection, the risks of inhaling smoke from wood stoves, energy efficient cooking, and a healthy diet.

During our long partnership, we have funded a number of these trips and made product donations in the form of location-aware vehicle trackers to help ADES manage its resources.

 

Location-aware vehicle trackers

In a country with around 60% of its population living in rural and often very remote areas, getting the cookers to the villages, and finding an opportunity to present how and why they make such a difference can be quite challenging.

Today, ADES operates a fleet of vehicles, often on the road for weeks. Optimizing logistics and transportation capacity was becoming increasingly complex, with no real-time visibility of each vehicle's location or route. To help ADES headquarters track their vehicles, u-blox donated vehicle trackers, which featured u-blox cellular and positioning products.

 

Changing the deforestation trajectory and creating jobs

Madagascar has lost 90% of its forests and continues to lose 50,000 hectares of forests per year with the associated loss of biodiversity, climate change, and food scarcity. Most of the massive forest loss is due to poor agricultural practices, and 90% of the population cooks on open wood or charcoal fires. ADES effectively reduces harmful CO2 emissions and has created 250 jobs in one of the world’s poorest regions.

In 2019, a u-blox donation funded the planting of 2,500 trees and their survival was guaranteed for three years. Reforestation remains at the heart of the ADES mission, with 10% of the budget going into tree planting and over 192,000 trees planted in 2022 and another 260,000 in 2023.

 

“When a family in Madagascar buys an ADES energy efficient cooker, their fuel consumption and energy costs are reduced by 50 to 70%. They save at least 7.5 kg of wood or 2.5 kg of charcoal daily and over 500 hours per year to gather it,” explains Herbert Blaser, President of ADES. “The savings in fuel consumption lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 3 tons per year.”

 

Reducing inequality and poverty and increasing gender equality

Women make up 80% of ADES cooker resellers, so a gender plan was established in 2021 and rolled out over 2022. In addition to training women on how to use the cookers, they are mentored to build a business plan to generate income by selling them.

Inspiration

Herbert Blaser still works for u-blox in Switzerland and has been volunteering for the last 13 years with ADES. Twenty years after founding ADES, Regula Ochsner decided to pass on the NGO presidency to Herbert Blaser at the general meeting in May 2021.