Reducing Benin’s carbon footprint? Here is an innovative solution!

14 June 2023
Interview with Youssoufou Daouda Labot, Association Professionnelle Accompagnements Valeurs Expertises Conseils

On 27 June each year, the world celebrates small businesses.


To mark this occasion, Trade Forum talked with the two Small Business Champion winners of 2022 to find out more about their innovative winning projects related to climate change, while supporting small businesses.


Here, Youssoufou Daouda Labot of the Association Professionnelle Accompagnements Valeurs Expertises Conseils (or shortly AVEC), explains how their winning project intends to reduce the carbon impact and optimize the energy of small businesses in Benin.

Q: Please tell us more about your project.

The Professional Association AVEC focuses on building the capacities of small businesses in the agrifood sector by teaching them good industrial decarbonization practices.

Our project has three main components:

  1. We look at improving the knowledge of 600 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises on aspects such as energy efficiency, electrifying industrial processes, using renewable energies, creating carbon sequestration systems and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. The project will develop a decarbonization strategy for agrifood industries in close collaboration with the project’s beneficiaries.
  3. The project offers support to small agrifood industries through coaching and performance evaluation workshops. This will allow us to monitor the implementation of the decarbonization strategy.
Benin Small business champion
Benin Small Business champion

The main activities of the project include an analysis of the initial situation of the small businesses in terms of carbon impact reduction initiatives, energy efficiency and energy saving measures.

Currently, we are in the “raising awareness” stage, and are developing the tools needed for the decarbonization strategies training as well as creating regional clubs to support the ecological transition of the small businesses.

Small Business Champion Benin
Cotonou port in Benin
© Shutterstock

Q: What motivated you to start this project?

The Professional Association AVEC had several reasons for coming up with this project idea. First, there is a growing awareness in Benin of the importance of reducing the carbon impact of businesses and promoting decarbonization practices, including for small businesses.

They are the main drivers of our economy, but they often face constraints and lack the resources to implement environmentally friendly practices. Additionally, there is growing awareness of the environmental and climate challenges the world is facing, including the urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote a transition to sustainable production and consumption patterns.

And the project intends to respond to these challenges by providing small agrifood industries with information, tools and support to develop and implement their decarbonization strategy.

The idea also came from our desire to create a regional dynamic and to promote the ownership of decarbonization issues by local stakeholders. Hence our goal to create regional clubs that can support the ecological transition of small businesses and exchanges and monitor their activities.

Small Business Champion Benin
Solar panel in a rural garden in Benin, supplying energy for a pumping system.
© Shutterstock

Q: How important is international trade for succeeding in your project?

By engaging in international trade, small businesses benefit from opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against global climate change.

It promotes the transfer of knowledge and technology, which allows small businesses to access innovations and good practices.

It opens new markets for environmentally friendly products while they meet the growing demands of international consumers related to sustainability.

It encourages international collaboration and partnerships, which can lead to joint projects.

Finally, it stimulates their willingness to adopt to international standards and regulations for sustainability, so they remain competitive.

Q: What do you need to proceed with your activities?

As we are right now in our development and awareness-raising phase, we need financial and human resources to be able to proceed.

This includes funding for implementing our project activities, developing communication tools to reach media, as well as creating and supervising the regional clubs we intend to create.

By mobilizing these resources, our Association can provide small businesses with the knowledge, technical support and guidance they need to deal with the consequences of climate change and implement more sustainable practices.

Small Business Champion Benin
Youssoufou Daouda Labot of AVEC on the right

The Association Professionnelle Accompagnements Valeurs Expertises Conseils, Benin was one of the two winners of the 2022 Small Business Champion competition.

The competition focused on the transition of small businesses to a sustainable economy. The innovative projects brought forth by the winners do not only raise awareness of the difficulties small businesses are facing when trading in the context of climate change but also promote best practices in transitioning to sustainable and green trade.

The competition is a joint annual event led by the World Trade Organization’s Informal Working Group on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).