An island of 80,000 tonnes of waste floats sluggishly through the waters of the Pacific Ocean — that’s the weight equivalent of 500 jumbo jets. To put it in perspective, it covers a surface area three times the size of France.
It’s an ugly stain on civilization. But there’s hope — innovations like waste-to-energy technology (WTE) would arguably make short work of it.
WTE converts non-recyclable waste into heat, which generates steam that propels turbogenerators into creating electricity.
Seeing as we’re living in a time of energy scarcity and impending climate catastrophe, why not kill two birds with one stone and use WTE technology?
Daniel was driven by a similar idea 5 years ago when he discovered its potential. He is the Director of Innovative Catalytic Systems Hong Kong Limited, a company that imports daring new technology to the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
Not just waste-to-energy technology. Batteries. Photovoltaic technology. Heat pumps.
The products are transported with worldwide shipping firms on mega-ships to ports like Koper, Hamburg and Bremen, destined for the more traditional markets of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
He started 25 years ago and the company grew slowly, step by step. But with the current energy fallout from traditional supplies of energy, he has been presented with a lucrative opportunity. The company is growing fast. By next year, his company’s annual turnover is estimated to grow from 15 million dollars a year up to 100 million.
Since going into business, he’s had to work with traditional banks — an inescapable fact for the vast majority of global SMEs involved in international trade. Traditional banks can turbocharge your expansion overseas through solutions like trade finance. But it comes at a cost — businesses become indebted to banks.
Daniel knows a thing or two about banking — after all, he worked in one many years ago. He provided an example. Let’s say you want your business to make $400,000. The bank agrees to finance the production and transportation of the goods, provided that they receive $130,000 of the profit.
For Daniel, that price tag was too high.
The problem didn’t stop there. Banks are there for the good times — not for the bad.
Perhaps the only tangible benefit of traditional banks was their exchange rates. Daniel deals in lots of different currencies — be they Eastern European or East Asian — owing to the widespread supply chains of Innovative Catalytic Systems.
“It would be nonsense to have a bank account in each country to make the exchanges,” said Daniel. “Silverbird is a good solution.”
He was surprised by the cost-effective exchange rate offered by Silverbird.
Daniel had felt increasingly alienated from the banks he worked with. Traditional banks like HSBC — institutions with over 40,000 employees — were too sprawling and faceless to establish a working relationship with. “It was very hard to see an officer,” he said.
Silverbird did business with a human touch.
"The officer responsible for my business is in direct contact with me and my bank. I know the person responsible for me — I know who I’m working with."