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Let us join hands to build a better world that’s free of waste

OPINION
By Jacques Vermeulen | April 19th 2021

Kenya is progressively putting in place frameworks for spurring a circular economy for waste management. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Along with its devastating human and economic costs, the Covid-19 pandemic has put renewed focus on sustainability. The experience of mass human vulnerability to the accidents of nature has reminded us of the need to live in harmony with the natural environment if we are to survive.

The question, against the backdrop of severe economic damage caused by the pandemic, is how social partners can work together to build a better future. We have a chance to think anew about how to advance the prosperity of Africa by growing our economies inclusively while reducing the impact of packaging waste on the environment. A big part of the answer is to build a circular green economy that enables recycling and draws in the public and private sectors, communities, and other stakeholders in a collaborative effort.

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa has made its ambitious recycling targets a top business priority, alongside key performance metrics for growth and profitability. We measure our business success not only according to growth and profits, but also by doing business the right way - following our values and working toward solutions that benefit not only us all but also future generations. 

Our commitment is to invest in our planet and our packaging, to help make the world’s packaging problem a thing of the past. The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners are leading the industry with a bold, ambitious goal: To help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030. We want to support local governments’ waste management objectives by making recycling more accessible and to achieve 100 per cent collection and recycling by 2030.

Holistic solutions to challenges like packaging waste require partnerships, and it is important that we work together to ensure transformation, inclusion and sustainability of the circular economy across the continent. For their part, governments can contribute by creating an enabling regulatory environment to help stimulate sustainable practices. We believe that the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility is the most efficient means to support the circular economy. 

Kenya is progressively putting in place frameworks for spurring a circular economy for waste management that prioritises recycling as a sustainable approach. We continue to engage with the Ministry of Environment towards the development of Extended Producer Responsibility regulations. The regulations will compel all producers and users of any materials, including all types of packaging, to take responsibility for the post-consumer cycle of their products. A more sustainable, more inclusive Africa, free of waste, is possible if we work together in collaboration for the common good of our continent.  

-Mr Vermeulen is the CEO, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa

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