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East Africa – a sustainability journey on course

1st March 2024

     

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This article has been supplied by the author and has not been written or solicited by Creamer Media. It may be available only for a limited time on this website.

By Carol Koech, Strategy Director, Sustainability & Thought Leadership – Schneider Electric International Operations

In the first part of my East African sustainability journey blog series, I will be focusing on some of the tremendous strides the region has made in becoming a sustainability benchmark for others on the continent to follow.  

East Africa is rich in renewable energy sources which include solar, wind, and geothermal energy, all playing a vital role in steering countries towards a firm sustainability posture. I’m proud to say our strengthening role in the global renewable energy landscape has undoubtedly been driven by region’s commitment to harnessing our natural resources.

Kenya, in particular, has taken significant steps in championing sustainability.  The Kenyan chapter of the UN Global Compact offers a strong platform for private sector engagement, with various industries now actively implementing sustainability initiatives tailored to their business models.  

These include exploring and forming partnerships with a range of stakeholders to scale up initiatives in support of sustainable development as well provide provides advice, guidance and trainings on corporate social and environmental sustainability and integration.

Furthermore, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting and sustainability reports are also increasing, with large companies leading the way. Banks are also offering support to ESG initiatives, with a recent loan of KES20 billion (US$137 million), the first ever undertaken in East Africa, provided to Safaricom to strengthen its (ESG) agenda.

Similarly, CEOs and captains of industry and government entities are driving the agenda for climate sensitive practices that allow them to meet their decarbonisation goals. This commitment is undoubtedly creating important momentum in the industry and reemphasising that both public and private sectors have a role to play in addressing environmental challenges.

In Kenya, sustainability is driven by various industries such as: 

  • Telecommunications Industry – Safaricom's Initiatives: Safaricom, a leading telco in Kenya, is making substantial strides in sustainability. Initiatives include the collection and recycling of 1626 tons of e-waste, with 310 (cumulative total) sites powered by clean and renewable energy, marking a 19% increase in sites operated by the company compared to the previous year.
  • Furthermore, Safaricom continues to demonstrate its commitment to diversity with a 50% women workforce and 35% representation in top leadership. The deliberate measures to assess carbon footprint (66,562 tCO2e) and water consumption (58,340 cubic meters) underscore the company’s dedication to holistic sustainability.
  • Food and Beverage (F&B) industry – Bio Foods' Initiatives: In the F&B sector, Bio Foods  Bio Foods is setting an exemplary standard for sustainability. The company has successfully recycled 96.8% of the 26,280 kgs of waste produced. Bio Foods has implemented a closed-loop water system for their UHT autoclave machine, allowing them to recycle up to 60,000 litres of water daily. Despite increased production, the company has reduced its carbon footprint by an impressive 22%. 

East Africa is undoubtedly leading the way when it comes to implementing proactive initiatives across industry, bringing together both government and the private sector to fight climate change.

In my next blog post I will take a closer look at how the region is navigating our sustainability journey.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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