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SDGs INTEGRATION INTO PRIVATE SECTOR STRATEGY – A CHANGE DRIVER
Published On: 2022-12-01
During the Fifth Annual National Multi-Stakeholders Conference in Mombasa on 1st December 2022, the private sector representatives shared their experiences on approaches and the value of integrating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the private sector. In a panel session moderated by Ms Faith Ngige of KEPSA, panellists deliberated on the implementation of SDGs in health, manufacturing and security sectors; telecommunications sector and SDGs integration; and sustainable science and partnerships for scaling up SDGs integration.
The panel session included Dr Elizabeth Wala – Vice-Chair of the Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) and KEPSA Director in charge of Health and Social Services; Ms Georgina Wachuka - Regulatory and Compliance Executive, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM); Mr Michael Koech - Environment and Social Lead at Airtel Africa; Mr Timothy Musumba of Senaca East Africa; and Mr Juma Nasoro of HERI Foundation in Diani.
Health Sector and SDGs Implementation
Dr Elizabeth Wala highlighted the role of the private healthcare sector in advancing SDG 3 on Health and interrelated SDGs. She said the role of healthcare was important during the Covid-19 pandemic and associated health-related response measures. She added that KHF worked under the KEPSA-led coordination team to complement government efforts to manage and mitigate the pandemic's effects on Kenyans' health and economy.
"There is a need for support to the health sector players to document the direct and indirect activities and contributions around SDGs, given that the health sector cuts across almost all the SDGs," said Dr Wala, adding that the health sector is committed to realizing the achievement of SDG 3 together with Government and other partners.
Manufacturing Sector and SDGs implementation
Ms Georgina Wachuka shared approaches and initiatives KAM is taking to promote sustainable businesses through sustainable solutions through specific SDG-oriented strategies. They include the promotion of energy management through energy audits that advise on options for conservation and renewable energy aligned with SDG 7. On water and wastewater management, enhance water use efficiency and recyclability aligned to SDG 12—waste Management by the circular economy, industrial symbiosis to minimize wastage.
"We have a TVET program to enhance skills and address education by training and skills matching aligned to SDG 4. Our women in manufacturing focus on providing platforms for capacity building, mentoring, and business operation enhancement, among other things," said Ms Wachuka while adding that there is a centre on green growth & climate change in the KAM academy and consulting unit.
Ms Wachuka went on to say the Manufactures' SMEs Hub natures small industries to grow under various programs on business plans, compliance, finance access, and B2B opportunities. She said KAM work closely with key partners to protect life underwater by educating on clean waterfronts, as expounded by SDG 14. KAM has also deliberated initiatives on tree-growing to rehabilitate forests and grow new ones addressing sustainable forests and protecting biodiversity aligned with SDG 13 on Climate Action. On SDG 17, Ms Wachuka said the industry is developing partnerships for an efficient, practical approach to sustainable solutions.
Security Sector and SDGs Implementation
Mr Timothy Musumba outlined recent developments on SDGs adoption in the private security sector. The Security sector is highly labour-intensive; nonetheless, security companies are adopting SDGs in their businesses and strategy to improve working conditions. Mr Musumba said that Senaca East Africa has adopted several SDGs, including SDG 5, and has introduced maternity wear for the female security officers to improve their working conditions; the introduction of lactation rooms for breastfeeding women to reduce inequality and promote healthy living as aligned to SDG 3 and SDG 10. He said the most recent integration is that of mental health issues of security, which has been dealt with sensitization and awareness at local and international levels.
The security sector has tracked progress regarding SDGs implementation through the support of the membership to the UN Global Compact and other stakeholders, annual audits and sustainability reports which have helped organizations assess and rate themselves.
Telecommunications Sector and SDG Integration
Mr Michael Koech spoke on importance of aligning business and sustainability strategy to the SDGs and using it as a lens to deliver shared value to customers, employees and society. Airtel Africa has developed a sustainability strategy with four key pillars of our business, people, community, and environment. Each pillar has specific deliverable goals that address 6 out of the 17 SDGs. The organization's sustainability reporting covers progress realized on each of the pillars and the overall contributions it has made towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
"Many stakeholders, including the customers, shareholders, community, and employees, would want to see the organization's bottom line and how it has been achieved. Therefore, the private sector must embed SDGs into the business strategy and set specific and measurable targets to report on to show progress and remain accountable. This creates value and is the right thing to do," noted Mr Koech.
Sustainable Science and Partnerships for Scaling up SDGs integration
Mr Juma Nasoro shared the approach of building sustainable science for informed interventions on health and the environment. In line with SDG 17, partnerships with local partners such as Discover Brands have supported enhanced synergy within local players and optimized resource and skill utility towards sustainable outcomes. The collaborations and programs focus on the community's capacity - skills transfer to enable the community to manage local challenges more effectively. "HERI, in partnership with Discover Brand, implementers of Partnership for New Plastics Economy, and other partners, is launching an environmental hub and recycling centre to facilitate access to capacity building, constructive collaboration, and linkage to opportunities." Remarked Mr Nasoro.
Competitive Advantage of Integrating SDGs in Private Sector Strategy
The panel discussion concluded that businesses adopting the SDGs into their strategies, models and plans align with the global conversation, creating the potential for commercial and investment expansion across international boundaries. The ability to build relationships with expectations that are aligned is another benefit of implementing the SDGs. Improving positive impact and connections between stakeholders, customers, the human workforce, and the environment provides an opportunity to enhance intergenerational equity and sustainability.