Early last week, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) partnered with Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) to engage bloggers in a very insightful conversation on sustainability, energy efficiency, and green growth. In the two-hour-long session, bloggers got to understand how to communicate issues to do with green growth, sustainability, and how they can be more energy efficient in their daily lives. Here are some of the things that really stood out for me during the session.
One of the panelist Dr. Ayub Macharia said, “We need to focus more on the re-use than recycling. In that case, product designers will then develop products with a longer life span.” This statement got me thinking, for a product to be recycled, it takes time and money but for it to be reused it actually saves money. Remember when we were younger and our moms had about 50 tins of Blue band just for storage and you would hate to give it its first wash? Well, that is when you first learned how to reuse. And on products that can’t be reused, one of the panelists emphasized the need for the waste to have a functional value to the society.
Quick fact; About 60% of Kenya’s waste is recyclable but about 5% can’t be recycled.
So, what is green growth? Green growth is growing businesses and economies in a very sustainable way. Ms Wakiaga, KAM CEO said, “Green growth will be driven by partnerships and awareness to make the consumer conscious of their role”
KAM is championing a shift to a circular economy so as encourage green growth. A circular economy is basically designing systems and products for recycling and up-cycling to reduce the amount of waste and discarded material generated. The circular economy is said to be cheaper as it reduces importation costs and also creates jobs for the local population. KAM is working on the expansion of the Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (CEEC) to Centre for Green Growth and Climate Change (CGGCC). It is already piloting a circular economy in Ruraka for SMEs and already has about 30 SMEs on board.
During these corona times, you want to save every cent but buying cheap and low-quality products will not help you save money in the long run. It’s pretty cold in Kenya right now and if you don’t have a carpet you are probably thinking of buying one. But remember cheap and low-quality carpets and equipment will not generally serve you well and are harmful to the environment. They use more energy, material, and are not sustainable in the long run.
Technology keeps on advancing and for manufacturers getting the right type of technology for their plants is crucially important. One of the panelists Akshay Shay advised manufacturers not to invest in technology unless the technology can be relevant in the next 10 years. And I found that advice to be very relevant not only to manufactures but to ideally everyone in business. Technology is expensive and getting the right fit will ensure 100% efficiency for a longer period of time.
Apart from courses and programs for learners to learn the necessary skills in actualizing green manufacturing, KAM also partners and works with financial service providers to ensure that their members have access to finance to facilitate their shift to green manufacturing.
I hope you learned something new and you will strive to be more energy efficient. You can find the conversation on this #MovingToBetter Hashtag.