Private sector's role in combating global warming

The private sector’s participation in the fight against global warming is not just a moral imperative; it is an economic and environmental necessity. [istockphoto]

The urgency of addressing global warming, climate change and environmental degradation cannot be overstated. The Paris Agreement states that keeping global average temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius is critical to avoiding future climate crises.

Unfortunately, we are approaching the limit, and exceeding it will have global consequences. Already, East Africa is experiencing its worst drought in decades, and many parts of the world are experiencing adverse weather events. It is prudent to take necessary steps now to mitigate global warming before the effects become irreversible.

For a start, trees play an extremely fundamental role in mitigating global warming. Beyond their aesthetic value and ecological value as habitats for a diverse range of species, they serve as nature’s lungs, purifying the air by absorbing carbon dioxide.

They also protect against soil erosion and support ecosystems. In light of these multifaceted benefits, Kenya’s noble target of increasing tree cover by an additional 5.1 million hectares by 2032, which is equivalent to 15 billion trees, is not only an ecological ambition but also a compelling necessity.

To achieve this, it is imperative we rally collective efforts from all sectors of society. This challenge cannot be met by the government alone; it requires active engagement and partnership from the private sector.

Businesses, with their substantial resources, influential reach, and innovative potential, are well-positioned to play a pivotal role in this endeavour. They can mobilise employees and allocate resources to make a significant impact on tree-planting initiatives.

Kibo Africa, for example, has committed to planting 100,000 trees by 2025 to help with restoring forest cover. We should also take care of them and ensure they reach maturity. This dedication to long-term sustainability shows recognition of the importance of mature trees in carbon sequestration and ecological stability.

The daunting scale of the climate crisis demands nothing short of immediate action. The private sector possesses the financial muscle and innovation prowess to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy. Regardless of their size or industry, businesses can find ways to reduce their carbon footprint in addition to contributing to carbon sequestration through tree planting.

At Kibo, we have embarked on the journey of sourcing production materials for our motorcycles locally. This strategic move not only bolsters our contribution to the Kenyan economy through the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” approach but also significantly reduces the carbon footprint associated with our product lifecycles by minimising emissions within our supply chain.

Furthermore, to prove that sustainability can be good business, we are reducing lead times for our customers when they want parts for their bikes, making it faster for repairs to be done. Whether driven by altruistic purposes or self-interest, businesses stand to benefit from investing time and effort into mitigating global warming and climate change.

In summation, Kenya is at a critical juncture in its history. The decisions made by everyone today are likely to have a transformative and lasting effect on the country. The private sector’s participation in the fight against global warming is not just a moral imperative; it is an economic and environmental necessity.

-The writer is CEO of Kibo Africa

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