New Caledonian success story shows Pacific drive

Entrepreneurial spirit in the Pacific Islands is strongly evident in agriculture, fishing, retail, and commerce. In smaller, more isolated nations the drive to self-create opportunities is vital.

However, one of the main barriers to growing from a micro or small enterprise into one that is capable of exporting internationally can be access to markets.

It is not insurmountable, with business capability programmes like Path to Market being created and delivered by Pacific Trade Invest NZ to help SMEs break into the New Zealand market.

Coming fom a small island nation can, in fact, be very beneficial, because geographical isolation and small land mass and populations can produce innovative approaches to issues.

Such is the case with SOCADIS, who, since 2002, has been an industry leader in the handling of hazardous waste for the Blue Pacific.

The Kea Trader– a grounded trade ship that was in distress of the Durand Reef (2017 – 2018)

Correct disposal of hazardous waste is highly specialised and prior to 2002 there were no properly equipped companies who were also able to understand the needs and requirements of the region to provide successful service.

SOCADIS is a pioneer in hazardous and industrial waste management. They specialise in working with countries that have limited availability of environmentally suitable land for the construction of waste management infrastructure.

Aude Douyere, PTI NZ’s Trade Manager says SOCADIS provide an invaluable service in the Blue Pacific.

“There are many situations where you might need dangerous materials to be disposed of, so having specialists handling it takes a lot of the worry away.

“SOCADIS provide cost-effective services in the handling of everything from asbestos to solvents to providing certified containers for the packaging of dangerous waste. The company also began in New Caledonia, which means they really do understand the complexity involved in the process of hazardous waste management in the Pacific region.

Managing Director Thomas Klein, who is based in the company’s Auckland office in Aotearoa New Zealand comments that SOCADIS helps companies effectively manage dangerous waste, from asbestos to solvents.

SOCADIS Managing Director – Thomas Klein

“We’ve been market leaders for more than 17 years. We only deal with hazardous materials all day, every day, and since we started the company, we have been vigilant about staying on top of the latest innovations and best practices in this area.

“We work with a variety of different companies and have adapted our process to incorporate the geographic isolation and high costs of servicing small and largely dispersed populations. We can create a tailor-made solution for any company.”

Even COVID-19 has barely slowed SOCADIS down. Waste management was classified as “essential service” and so, SOCADIS kept on moving waste for recycling and treatment purposes.

Thomas says that while they witnessed no impact during lockdown (waste still needed to be removed), the inevitable economic fallout and potential global recession will still affect the industry.

Production and consumption will slow, companies will look to store more in the short term, for waste treatment farther down the track. This is to stem out flow costs, however the risk is that removal may cost more later due to inflation.

“It is a good thing that nowadays, strict regulations are in place and we have extremely limited chances to see some waste “disappear” to not say dump in the wild… potentially polluting soil, water, wildlife, the air and eventually, mankind,’’ says Klein.

“SOCADIS follows New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (NZ) and Environmental Protection Authority regulations for importing waste for treatment in New-Zealand. We also ensure we are in line with international conventions such as the Basel, Waigani and Noumea convention on transboundary movement and management of hazardous wastes.

“We’re aware that each country has different specifications. To avoid any additional cost, or tensions with local government we always ensure a supervisor is in-country to support our clients”.

Currently SOCADIS, like many international businesses, is in a holding pattern with their business development. However, they expect improvements in September when international programs and agencies reform and redefine priorities.

It cannot be disputed that SOCADIS is a success story of a company created in the Pacific, who saw a need they could fulfil in the region and the market and seized that opportunity.

For more information about how SOCADIS can help your organisation dispose of hazardous materials contact PTI NZ Trade Development Manager – Aude Douyere Aude.D@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz.

man in hazard suit and red trash bag looking at camera
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