SA’s CMO Group developing international trading platform for Namibian charcoal
A South African company specialising in the forestry industry including the marketing of forestry products, CMO Group, has formed an alliance with Namibian charcoal producers to build an international supply chain for Namibian charcoal into the lucrative European and North American markets.
The group recently obtained funding from an investment company, E4E Africa to build a trading platform, IcePik, for charcoal producers from southern Africa whose products are certified according to standards set by the international Forest Stewardship Council®. Namibia will serve as the pilot project to develop the trading portal and ensure its operability.
The CMO Group has opened an office in Otjiwarongo under the leadership of the group’s Namibian Managing Director, Corris van den Berg.
The CMO Group will use the E4E Africa funding to expand its existing software to build a trading platform that provides participating charcoal producers direct access to international markets and the markets to the producers. The trading platform is based on an app that producers and buyers can download on their computers and mobile phones.
According to the group, certification from the Forest Stewardship Council is a key component to ensure market access for African producers. This is done by using CMO’s PerForm software which enables digital management and auditing of charcoal producers. This is to the advantage of smaller producers that can join the CMO Group Scheme certificate (FSC-C140298 ) to reduce the cost of certification, since the certification process is based on an environmental, social and economic audit which is both cumbersome and expensive.
Van den Berg said CMO Group has been innovating and researching this field for many years, and the funding from E4E Africa constitutes a great moment in securing critical market access for certified ‘green’ forest products and a means to introduce small producers to international markets.
“The CMO trading platform, IcePik has the full support of the FSC’s international centre in Bonn,” he said adding that the trading platform will be launched in Namibia and South Africa in the last quarter of this year, focussing on sales of FSC certified charcoal.