What could be sweeter than getting more chocolate, and using fewer kilowatts? This is exactly what happened with a chocolate manufacturer in Armenia.
Investments in energy efficiency in particular were already making headway in the Armenia, especially in the small and medium enterprise sector, as GGF expanded its scope to the European Eastern Neighbourhood Region in 2012. Araratbank, which signed with the GGF in 2012, had already begun addressing this sector with a GGF credit line. As many of its customers were in manufacturing, the bank utilized the GGF credit line to develop energy efficiency investments primarily within this sector. At the same time, Araratbank started broadening its focus to address new customer segments. The GGF’s Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) supported the bank with value-added energy auditing services.
Arkolad CJSC, a local chocolate manufacturer established in 2005, was one of the beneficiaries. It was also just one of the successes that demonstrates the broad impact of GGF funding. Arkolad prides itself on using Belgian techniques in the chocolate manufacturing process and sourcing raw materials from Switzerland. It is prouder still to use only fruits and nuts from local suppliers, which not only makes the chocolate unique, but also benefits the local agricultural sector. Through a credit line from Araratbank, GGF funding enabled the company to purchase chocolate making equipment from Belgium to automate part of the production line. This investment alone increased the output six-fold. Before, it took a day to make 80 kg of chocolate. With the new equipment, it took just 80 minutes. Energy consumption was reduced as well. Each kilogram of chocolate could be produced with 80 % less energy and 80 % fewer emissions. With cost per unit down and production up, not only did the revenues increase, but also profit margins. Arkolad started reinvesting the surplus into the business to broaden its product range and also began exporting its fine chocolates.
Arkolad’s story highlights the impact that investing in energy efficiency can have on a business, not only in terms of environmental performance, but also – and especially – in terms of securing growth and profitability. Although the GGF primarily tracks environmental impact, this case story underscores the GGF’s broader perspective of the overall economic development of the target regions. Rarely has the taste of success been sweeter.