KEPSA is the private sector apex and umbrella body set up in 2003, to bring together business community in a single voice to engage and influence public policy for an enabling business environment. over 500,000 direct and indirect members..
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KEPSA, led by the CEO Ms Carole Kariuki, joined other stakeholders in the inaugural Kenya Loop Festival organized by one of KEPSA members, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) in partnership with the Government of Kenya, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Netherlands Embassy and Confederation of Danish Industry, on 20th Febreuary 2023 at Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi. Themed ‘Accelerating the Circular Transition - Waste to Resources & Cleaner Production’, the forum brought together public and private companies, development partners and learning/research institutions involved in the circular economy with the aim of showcasing concrete solutions to drive actions towards sustainably creating wealth from waste.
The forum was attended by Hon. Soipan Tuya, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry; Amb. Ole Thonke, Ambassador of Denmark; Amb. Maarten Brouwer, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Mr Mucai Kunyiha, Director at the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM); Mr Julius Kirima, Director of Industries, Chemical & Mineral Industries Directorate, State Department for Industrialization, Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry among other stakeholders and exhibitors.
Speaking during the opening session, Hon. Tuya noted that the government is developing an intergovernmental framework for coordination and engagement between my Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Council of Governors, where some of the discussions will be on the need to mainstream the area of taxes and levies to support waste collectors and avoid double taxation. “The ministry has also prioritized a circular economy strategy that will inform how we make industry restorative and regenerative. The Kenya Circular Economy strategy should be complete in the next few months and we are also working to operationalize the waste management council, which is the apex body to actualise circular economy.” Said Hon Tuya.
The KEPSA CEO highlighted the importance, challenges and some of the opportunities around the circular economy. Ms Kariuki outlined some of the private sector initiatives to promote a circular economy including the launch of Kenya’s Private Sector Strategy on climate change solutions (2022-2030) to promote a coordinated and inclusive implementation of business climate change solutions; implementation of Sustainable Inclusive Business Project to sensitize businesses and championing for sustainability and inclusiveness; New Plastics Economy Project partnership that drives the adoption of a circular model for management of PET waste bottles, creating green jobs and linking the PET value chain actors.
Ms Kariuki stated that the involvement in the circular economy sector is still low, adding that taxation and regulations are unpredictable, making large investments risky. She also noted that the private sector in engineering should develop climate-friendly solutions including green and climate-resilient homes and other forms of buildings, adding that such buildings use fewer resources, and discourage the unsustainable use of natural resources. “There is a need to adopt innovative approaches for increasing the uptake of circular models for sustainable waste management,” she said.
Mr Mucai who is also a KEPSA Director applauded stakeholders for being proactive about the circular economy with owners and manufacturers coming together to find solutions. He added that the model of reducing waste is very important to the manufacturing industry because it improves efficiency and increases profitability. He said that KAM has initiatives that help manufacturers find ways to increase their sustainability by doing things like market benchmarking and measuring their carbon emissions.
Amb. Brouwer on his part noted that a circular economy can be a solution to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution while at the same time spurring innovation and creating new jobs, and generating income. His sentiments were shared by Amb. Thonke who noted that providing a clear regulatory framework will enable businesses to plan better and invest in the necessary infrastructure and technology to transition to a circular economy.
Mr Julius Kirima said, “We need to work together in sensitizing key stakeholders of our programs to ensure that we see things the same way. We need to welcome business models that can be easily adopted and we needed to facilitate and enhance dialogue among stakeholders.”
The forum featured exhibitions, pitching sessions and panel discussions on Business Opportunities in Circular Economy and Circular Economy policies, regulations and opportunities to incentivize investments in circular businesses.
Some of the key takeaways from the forum included;
Circular economy is crucial as part of the solution to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the related SDGs
The private sector is at the front and centre in advocating for sustainable manufacturing practices through initiatives that support green growth and a circular economy
There is a need to focus on three principles to attain a circular economy; eliminating waste and pollution, circulating products and materials, and regenerating nature.
Circular economy is an opportunity for job creation as well as greening thus combating climate change
There is a need to strengthen government and other regulatory institutions like NEMA and KEBS for the attainment of circular economy
Partnerships and collaborations among stakeholders are important in the transition from linear to circular economy. Many players are working in silos
There is a need to create a forum to share examples and share success stories with a view to demystifying waste management.
There is need for the government to implement and operationalise policies to help accelerate circular economy.