Emissions predicted to increase with EV boom

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UNDER PRESSURE It is essential for companies to consider the post-use of components in their products, especially regarding the life cycle of electric vehicles, for sustainability strategies to be effective

25th August 2023

By: Bridget Lepere

Creamer Media Reporter


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As electric vehicles (EVs) gain traction, the strain on electricity supply, especially national power grids, will be more, with an increase in the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with fossil-fuel electricity generation, says sustainability consultancy startup firm Impulse International founder Lefika Otisitswe.

The Botswana-born entrepreneur notes that while the shift towards the adoption of EVs seems to be the best solution to reducing CO2 emissions, another problem is created, shifting the problem from one side of the spectrum to the other, without tangible results.

In an African context, Otisitswe points out that most African countries have fossil fuel power grids, from which most EV users still source their energy.

EVs will also have a direct impact on lithium consumption, which is a key ingredient in many battery technologies. However, the mining of some critical minerals, which includes lithium, in Africa is worrisome, owing to the prevalent use of child labour, cheap labour and conflict financing through illegitimate mines.

“We can no longer speak about blood diamonds alone, but [about] blood lithium as well. There are various problems that people don't really look at; they only look at a specific area and think that is what being sustainable is,” Otisitswe adds.

He believes it is also essential for companies to consider what happens to a product post-use, especially regarding the life cycle of EVs.

When Otisitswe established Impulse International in the Netherlands in 2019 he had hopes of changing people’s perspective about being sustainable, noting that while living in Botswana and South Africa he experienced water shortages and power cuts and he wanted to be instrumental in bringing about solutions.

He has hopes to return to Africa in five years’ time to apply the knowledge he gains in Europe, as well as introduce the company’s offerings to the African mining market.

In this way, he plans to help companies quantify their CO2 emissions to reduce them and assist with mitigation measures.

Impulse International’s “weten meten” philosophy – meaning “measuring is knowing” in Dutch – strongly focuses on measuring CO2 emissions to ensure that sustainability is successfully achieved through accurate calculations.

Otisitswe says in creating Impulse International’s framework, the firm is able to identify carbon-intensive hot spots and help customers reduce CO2 emissions by analysing every regulation and providing compliance advice.

There are hotspots with companies and they can be identified along various points in the supply chain


Through customised life-cycle analysis (LCA), Impulse International conducts research on regulations and compiles interactive reports that enable employees and customers to better understand the level of their CO2 emissions.

Big companies cannot ignore sustainability anymore, as the negative impacts of not embracing sustainability measures are becoming more evident, says Otisitswe.


Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer



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