KEPSA Urges Private Sector To Transition To Circular Economy

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has called for renewed commitment from the private sector to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advance sustainable development for all.

KEPSA Chief Executive Officer Ms. Carole Kariuki said the implementation of SDGs aligns with the United Nations Environment Assembly sixth (UNEA-6) on multilateralism as a solution to tackle the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste.

The CEO was speaking during sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly Sixth (UNEA-6) at the United Nations Environment Programme Headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi, an event which KEPSA was a co-convening partner in the UN Science-Policy Business Forum on the environment special session.

She also stressed on the urgency to transition to a circular economy in order to achieve a sustainable future amid rising economic and environmental challenges.

‘KEPSA recognizes the circular economy conc
ept as a strategy for promoting sustainable production and consumption, reducing pollution and waste through designs that maximize material utility, extend lifespan, and use regenerative approaches, enabling system transformation for sustainable development,’ she said.

She however, stated that environmental equity can only be achieved when justice exists, and emphasized that the transition to circularity must be supported by genuine collaboration between developing and advanced economies.

‘This can be achieved if advanced economies are honoring their climate change mitigation and adaptation pledges,’ Ms. Kariuki emphasized.

A tracking of the achievement progress for the SDGs in 2023 by the United Nations paints a dire picture, with progress on over 50 percent of targets rated as weak and insufficient, while 30 percent are considered stalled or reversed an indication that an increased private sector’s investment in innovative solutions will go a long way in spearheading environmental equity and Justice.

2022, more than 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions originated from activities such as mineral and fossil fuel extraction and biomass farming and their transformation into various products like fuels, materials, and food.

Emissions resulting from changes in land use, surpasses 60 percent, this trend underscores a concerning reality that despite the commitments made in the 2015 Paris Agreement, efforts to mitigate climate change have fallen short of adequately addressing the environmental impacts of resource utilization.

Ms. Kariuki further stated that the Global Resources Outlook from the International Resource Panel highlights the potential for significant CO2 emission cuts of more than 80 percent by 2060 through circular economy practices, sustainable consumption, and enhanced resource efficiency.

‘Such strides are attainable and promise to bolster planetary health and foster economic growth,’ said the CEO.

Speaking at the session, the ICEA Lion Insurance Company Kenya CEO Phillip Lopokoiyit n
oted a lack of balance in the private sector’s investments towards climate mitigation and adaptation projects.

‘A total of 95 percent of financing is geared towards climate mitigation, and only 5 percent is channeled to adaptation. Banks can finance adaptation by investing in resilient projects, thus minimizing the risks.

He added that insurance companies can share the risks by working with governments to insure vulnerable communities to enhance adaptation as a way of balancing investments and dealing with climate change in an efficient, inclusive, and resilient manner.

In 2018, Kenya’s SDG index was positioned 125 out of 162 countries with a slightly improved dashboard score of 57.3 percent from 54.9 percent in 2017. The highest SDG score was SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production, with a score of 93.1 percent from 80.3 percent in 2017, followed by climate action at 84.8 percent. The lowest score was on SDG 10 on reducing inequalities, with a score of 36.3 percent.

The private sector in Kenya h
as demonstrated a significant commitment to advancing SDGs through various initiatives. These efforts encompass adopting innovative solutions to ensure sustainable production and reducing vulnerability to economic, social, and environmental shocks.

The Executive Vice President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Mr Dominic Waughray in his remarks said businesses are important engines of innovation, as the mobilizers of investment, and as builders of capacity.

‘From SMEs and youth startups that drive local economies to the diversity of global businesses, we are delivering progressive, equitable, green, and sustainable jobs,’ said Waughray.

The 6th Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly commenced on 26th February, 2024 and will end on 1st March, 2024.

The event themed ‘Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity, loss and pollution’, that will be attended by Heads of States and government, Ministers of Environment and ot
her high ranking dignitaries and UN official and multinationals will negotiate on plastic agreement, marine climate and other climate agreements.

UNEA is the world’s highest level decision making body for matters related to environment. It sets the global environment agenda, provides overarching policy guidance and defines policy responses to address emerging environmental challenges.

Source: Kenya News Agency