For the 10 years Aitmamat Nazarov worked in the beverage industry of his home country, the Kyrgyz Republic, all he always dreamed of was leading his own beer company.
Today, Nazarov is the CEO of Bear Beer. Thanks to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and EBRD investment, it became the only Kyrgyz company with new, state of the art, greener glass bottling capacity in the Central Asian country.
Nazarov’s career breakthrough came in 2009 when Artezian, a leading national beverage producer, decided to expand its facilities.
The big Kyrgyz beverage producer acquired a new factory with excellent transport links and access to a crystal clear water source. But the building was dilapidated and lacked equipment. Turning it into a modern production facility would require a huge effort.
“We set ourselves the task of building a European-standard factory. But we ran into tough problems when reconstructing the factory, including a lack of finance. So we turned to the EBRD,” said Nazarov.
With an EBRD financing worth about US$7.6 million and supported by the GEF, Bear Beer was rebuilt from the ground up, using highly insulating materials to decrease energy consumption, especially during the harsh winters. After renovation, the factory was fitted with energy efficient production equipment, such as steam boilers, CO2 capturing technology, and advanced energy management systems.
The EBRD financial support came from its Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change (FINTECC) Programme.
FINTECC, funded by the GEF, helps companies deploy innovative climate technology. The Programme offers technical assistance, incentive grants, and funds that business owners need for cutting-edge climate-resilient solutions.
“They helped us with energy efficient equipment […] and finance, and trained our personnel. Bear Beer is very proud to have received an official certification of compliance with international standards,” Nazarov added.
In just a few years, Aitmamat’s investment in energy efficient equipment turned his company into one of the domestic market leaders for soft drinks and beer. He did so in a climate-friendly way.
The Role of GEF-Supported Technology Transfer
Technology transfer plays a critical role in climate change. Because it is a source of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, technology needs to become increasingly cleaner and more climate-resilient to help reduce GHGs.
Upon a request from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the GEF developed the Poznan Strategic and Long-term Program on Technology Transfer. It has also provided US$53 million to support Climate Technology Centers and Network (CTCN) and four regional Climate Technology and Finance Centers to scale up investments in technology transfer and help countries meet their needs for environmentally sound technology.
These projects will help reduce GHGs by 22 million tons, with 0.5 million through FINTECC alone.
An early supporter, the GEF is now boosting efforts to promote innovation and enabling policy frameworks in technology transfer. The GEF also backs private sector development with about US$220 million invested in technology transfer projects in more than 30 developing countries in FY 2015. These GEF-funded projects span sectors such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transport. Collectively, the sectors will lower lifetime GHGs emissions by 120 million tons.
For Bear Beer, outfitting its facilities with energy efficient technology was key in increasing profitability while protecting the environment.
Looking ahead, Aitmamat hopes to offer new greener products, both locally and beyond his home country.