Kathmandu, Oct.29: The Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s venture capital arm ADB Ventures has provided the Good Bricks System, a non-fired brickmaking solution in Nepal, a $125,000 (equivalent to Rs 14.7 million) grant to reduce the industry’s harmful impact on the environment and health.
The grant gives ADB Ventures the option to make a future equity investment in the Good Bricks System.
South Asia is home to nearly a quarter of total global brick production.
Demand for bricks is being fueled by rapid urbanization and the need to construct housing and transport infrastructure.
In Nepal, traditional brickmaking requires approximately 1,600 kilns to burn nearly 1 million tons of coal every year. It causes around 600 annual deaths, adding $46 million every year to public health costs, the ADB said.
The Good Bricks System, a product of InnoCSR Co. Ltd., uses materials technology from the Republic of Korea to make high-quality bricks with soil, soil stabilizer, and cement. It is cost-competitive and reduces production time by six-fold.
It also cuts greenhouse gas emissions and improves working conditions for employees, many of whom are women.
“The Good Bricks System is an opportunity to disrupt an industry that has not changed for many years, but which has a huge impact on the environment and human health,” said ADB Principal Investment Specialist Dominic Mellor.
“ADB’s extensive operations in transport and urban infrastructure across South Asia can be leveraged to support technology solutions like the Good Bricks System.”
“ADB Ventures’ support is a vote of confidence in our technology’s potential to transform a dirty industry, and in our business model’s potential to scale commercially,” said InnoCSR Group Chief Executive Officer Sam Yoonsuk Lee.
ADB Ventures supports and invests in early-stage technology companies solving big development problems in emerging Asia and the Pacific.
Its investors include Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Government of the Republic of Korea, the Clean Technology Fund, and the Nordic Development Fund.