Blog Post

13 Jun
By: root 0

SUSTAINABLE INCLUSIVE BUSINESS CALLS FOR INNOVATIONS AND BUSINESS MODELS THAT DESIGN OUT WASTE

According to the Sustainable Inclusive Business (SIB-K) in their Sustainability Magazine 2021, a shift to a circular economy will keep materials in use, and protect and restore the environment.

On 8th June 2022, the Sustainable Inclusive Business (SIB-K), the Knowledge Center under KEPSA Foundation, has published the first edition of the Sustainable Inclusive Business Magazine. Dubbed, “Transitioning to a Circular Economy in Kenya” this 2021 edition highlights Kenya’s efforts in transitioning from the linear economy model. It further uses private-sector case studies to showcase innovative solutions for dealing with electronic waste, the threat of single-use plastics, the road toward achieving a blue economy in Kenya, and businesses as a force for good in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Business innovation and growth decisions need B2B partnerships and multi-stakeholder relationships to increase capacity, efficiency, and ease of implementation. In this regard, SIB-K has been a major enabler of Public-Private Partnerships within KEPSA, providing critical opportunities to draw linkages among various stakeholders in the public and private sectors to speed up the transition to a sustainable economy.

“Our Sustainability Pillar has guided us in championing the adoption of green and blue economy principles. SIB-K contributes to the transition to a circular economy, Kenya’s vision 2030, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Through initiatives such as Creating Opportunities and Alleviating Poverty Through Sustainable Trade (COAST Project), we are not only creating awareness on waste management but are also increasing the capacity of participants to develop business cases through mentorship sessions,” noted KEPSA Deputy CEO Foundation, Martha Cheruto.

Sustainable Inclusive Business is also harnessing local entrepreneurs’ skills; enhancing their access to financing and creating sustainable infrastructure to help them start micro and small businesses. These efforts are aimed at creating a sustainable income even in the informal sectors for inclusive growth. Ms. Cheruto emphasized the “need for political goodwill for the success of adopting a circular economy and the stability of businesses post-election. Through SIB-K, we will continue to contribute to advancing SDGs that empower people, protect the planet, foster prosperity for all, and develop sustainable quality infrastructure. This will, in turn, promote trade and investments in a circular economy”.

Gracing the launch, Dr. Ayub Macharia, the Director of Environmental Education Awareness at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry said, “We’re refocusing on the waste management approach, giving more priority on reducing, reusing, and recycling as the last option. For industries, it means rethinking product designs that are reusable and recyclable. The private sector has done a commendable job spearheading this transition, and the government has been there to ensure a level playing field for all.”

“It has been exciting witnessing the message on circular economy go out strongly and being received positively by the business community. The Embassy of the Netherlands will continue supporting Sustainable Inclusive Business under KEPSA, in implementing initiatives that improve Kenya’s ease of doing business sustainably, ranking in line with our commitment to make trade the linchpin of our engagement going forward.” H.E. Maarten Brouwer, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Kenya was quoted in the Magazine.

According to the organization’s Program Manager, Ebenezer Amadi, “As the circular economy in Kenya continues to gain interest among stakeholders, we expect more best practices among businesses and the public in 2022. We believe that continuous awareness creation and an enabling environment is key in gradually transitioning to a more sustainable circular economy.”

One of the gravest impacts of the linear economy has been the irresponsible disposal of plastics, especially single-use, on the environment. Unsightly landfills and litter in parks and even beaches continuously choke our environment. 79% of plastic waste ever produced globally now sits in landfills, dumps, or the environment, while 12% has been incinerated and only 9% has been recycled globally. Today, published data shows that only 8% of plastic is recycled in Kenya.

On her remarks, the Deputy head- Policy Research and Advocacy, Manufacturing Sectors and Legal lead at the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Miriam Bomett, “KAM in its role in the manufacturing sector has prioritized environmental issues including the adoption of circular practices by most of our members, and the launch of the Kenya Plastics Action Plan, aimed at ensuring the environmentally sustainable use and recycling of plastics by applying the principles of a circular economy in Kenya. There has been a significant shift in the past five years, and the more players are involved, the faster the achievement of a circular economy will be.”

SIB-K also launched the Kenya Plastics Pact in October 2021, an ambitious, collaborative initiative that aims to ensure that plastics never become waste by eliminating the plastics we don’t need, innovating to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable or recyclable, and circulating all the plastic packaging items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.

The Pact focuses on addressing the barriers to circularity in the plastic packaging sector through public-private collaborations and uniting the sector behind an ambitious set of targets adapted to the local reality. These targets are set for 2030:

  1. Eliminate unnecessary or problematic single-use plastic packaging items through redesign, innovation, and reuse delivery models.
  2. 100% of plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable
  3. 40 % of plastic packaging is effectively recycled
  4. 15% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

“Sensitization of circular economy practices should also be increasingly brought to the forefront in the health sector. With Covid-19, we saw a high uptake of single-use plastic products, including PPEs, which if not properly disposed of, will cause an environmental challenge now and in the future. As a country, we need to inculcate behavior change, and am happy to see Sustainable Inclusive Business leading the way in documenting good practices that are key in influencing others to also adopt similar sustainable practices.” Dr. Elizabeth Wala Amakove, Board Director, KEPSA Health Sector Board.

The establishment of such key initiatives and the Extended Producer Responsibility, will particularly go a long way to create a system that accelerates the adoption of circular economy practices and positions Kenya to be a thought and conversational leader in the circular economy space. This will be achieved through stimulating industry-led innovation, dialogue, and collaboration to create new business models, generate job opportunities, and unlock barriers to move towards the circular economy, with improved economic, environmental, and societal outcomes overall.

The successful development of the Sustainable Inclusive Magazine has been made possible by the contribution of various businesses and organizations. Those present at the launch had this to say.

Nancy Ngao- Government Affairs Policy and Advocacy, “Sanergy is an industry leader in the manufacturing of regenerative agricultural inputs for organic waste, which pose an environmental and public health threat in emerging economies. Our company has pioneered a circular model that gives cities like Nairobi to contribute to sustainability by improving resources, and efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, minimizing environmental risks and enhancing ecosystems. We’re thankful to SIB-K for the opportunity to tell of our impact through the Magazine.”

Derick Vikiru, Membership, Marketing and Communication Coordinator, Kenya Association of Travel Agents, “KATA has played a key role in supporting members in the travel and aviation sector in ensuring that the packaged tourist deals are eco-friendly. We empower travel agencies to entrench good practices in their businesses and adopt circular economy models; accelerate climate change action, and economic resilience, and empower communities. Through SIB-K, we are driving conversations at corporate levels to ensure sustainable travels with fewer emissions.”

Gurpreet Kenth, CEO, Trash Thread Textile- T3, “Human beings are the major contributors of plastic waste. Plastic is good but the problem is the disposal that is not sustainable. We must change the narrative and create a circular economy for plastic in which it never becomes waste.”

Dr. Oscar Aghan, Chief Executive Officer of Green Pavers, “The recycling sector has transformed lives. Youths have been trained and provided with job opportunities. We work closely with Community-based organizations and the informal groups, and at Green Pavers, we have been able to train and provide direct and indirect employment to over 600 young people. Thanks to Sustainable Inclusive Business, we have been able to document our case studies, and join the Kenya Plastics Pact, where we’re creating sustainable solutions to the plastics challenge.”

Simone Anderson, Chief Commercial Officer at WEEE CENTRE, “A large part of Kenya’s population is without access to proper and safe ewaste management. WEEE Center is facilitating the collection and safe disposal of e-waste, as one of the fastest-growing streams. We all have a role to play, and design for recyclability is key. I commend the work done by the Sustainable Inclusive Business, and congratulations on the launch of this first edition of the Magazine.” 

Michael Odongo, Director, Close-The-Gap, “We advocate for reduce, reuse and recycle. Circular economy should be the new norm for sustainability for the future generation.”

Juliani, Hiphop artist and Sustainability Champion, “Through our partnership with SIB-K, we’re using art to advocate for the adoption of Circular Economy practices at the community level. Building trust is key to bridging the gap in circularity, and music as a form of art has this power.”

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