The objective of this IIC operation is to provide Comtech with the necessary funding to build a sales office, administrative offices, and warehouses to improve service to the company’s institutional and wholesale clients and partially fund working capital needs for the company’s growth.
Comtech is a Nicaraguan importer, distributor, marketer, and vendor of computer and communications equipment. The company also offers advisory and equipment maintenance services to 986 small and medium-sized enterprises in Nicaragua, as well as other wholesale and retail clients.
Environmental and Labor Issues: This is a category B project according to the IIC’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy because it could produce certain effects that may be avoided or mitigated by following generally recognized performance standards, guidelines, or design criteria. The main environmental and labor considerations related to the project involve efficient resource use and pollution prevention, labor and working conditions, and community health and safety.
Water Supply and Effluent Management: Water supply and wastewater treatment services for the company are provided by the Nicaraguan water and sewerage utility (Empresa Nicaragüense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados – ENACAL). The effluent is treated at an ENACAL water treatment plant. Rainwater is also channeled to ENACAL’s plant through a separate network. Comtech operations do not generate any hazardous liquid waste.
Air Emissions: Comtech’s sole source of air emissions is a 20 kVA diesel-fired standby generator. Inasmuch as this generator is used only in the event of a power outage, its emissions are insignificant.
Solid Waste Management: The main sources of solid waste generated by the company are the packaging materials for the equipment and supplies that the company sells. However, this waste is not considered hazardous. Any waste that can be recycled (e.g., wood, cardboard, and paper) is turned over to recycling companies. Domestic waste is collected and removed by the municipal government. Disposal of any hazardous waste generated in the context of computer repair activities (e.g., used batteries and toner cartridges) is governed by municipal regulations (Managua municipal government). This same procedure applies to any construction waste.
Personal Safety and Emergency Response: The design of the new Comtech office building meets the seismic-resistance zoning regulations of the city of Managua. The building project complies with Nicaragua’s construction code and ASTM seismic risk construction standards. The building’s structure is made of reinforced concrete, and construction materials are fire-resistant. The requisite fire certificates for the existing buildings have been secured. The buildings are equipped with different types of extinguishers depending on their locations. Comtech is considering installing a network of smoke detectors. Company employees receive instruction from firefighters on fire prevention and control and first aid. Comtech has a contingency and emergency control plan in place in the event of fires, earthquakes, or bomb threats. The contingency plan designates an employee to take charge of the evacuation of each area of the building, and also assigns the responsibilities of emergency brigade members.
Labor Practices: Comtech complies with Nicaraguan labor laws. Mandatory core labor standards include legally mandated benefits, freedom of association to form labor unions, prohibition of forced labor and child labor, and nondiscrimination in the workplace. Comtech employees do not belong to a labor union. The company has a joint employer-employee occupational health and safety committee. Workers and their dependents receive medical and workplace accident coverage through the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS).
The company has internal occupational health and safety rules that have been approved by the Ministry of Labor. These rules stipulate, inter alia, company and worker obligations and standards for occupational health and safety and workplace conditions.
Social and Community Issues: Comtech sponsors a variety of community services through support to organizations such as Teletón, schools, and Fundación Zamora Terán (“Una Computadora por Niño/a computer for every child” initiative). In addition, the company offers payment plans to help students purchase computers (“regresa a clases/get back to class” program), gives student discounts on preventive computer maintenance, participates in business conferences and technology fairs, etc.
Monitoring and Reporting: Comtech shall prepare an environmental and social action plan (ESAP) satisfactory to the IIC to ensure compliance with Nicaraguan regulations and the IIC’s environmental and workplace safety and health guidelines. Activities under the ESAP will include implementation of a solid waste management plan, a plan to upgrade fire detection systems, and an environmental monitoring plan. As part of the ESAP, the company will prepare annual reports with updates on the implementation of these plans at its different facilities.