STANDARD CHARTERED BANK
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya (SCB) was established in 1911 with the first branch opened in Mombasa, Treasury Square. Today, 112 years later, SCB is one of the leading banks in Kenya, with an excellent franchise and highly trained employees.
The bank serves Corporate, Commercial, Institutional and Retail clients, offering Financial Markets, Transaction Banking, Wealth Creation and Corporate Finance products.
SCB is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). The public shareholding is slightly under 25 percent (remainder held by Standard Chartered PLC) and comprises over 30,000 shareholders. The bank boasts 22 branches and over 1,067 employees across the country.
Sustainability is one of the bank’s four strategic pillars. SCB implements its sustainability agenda through three key focus areas: sustainable economic growth, being a responsible company and investing in its communities.
In 2021, the bank defined three stands, which are embedded in its strategy. These include:
- Achieving Net Zero by 2050: by reducing carbon emissions, without slowing development.
- Lifting Participation: Improving the lives of communities by unleashing the full potential of women and micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs).
- Resetting Globalisation: by giving everyone the chance to participate in the world economy, so growth becomes fairer and more balanced.
The bank has rolled out these stands by working with clients, colleagues and communities. Some of the highlights of its work include:
SCB incorporates sustainability within the two client business segments: Corporate Commercial and Institutional Banking (CCIB), and Consumer, Private and Business Banking (CPBB). This is with the aim of having more than 6 percent of its revenue being generated from sustainable sources by 2024. The bank works closely with its clients to help them transition to net-zero through launching sustainable finance products and providing expertise, advice and capital. For example, in 2021, the bank disbursed over Ksh 18.5 billion towards funding sustainable and resilient infrastructure as well as enhancing access to basic services.
The bank recognises the role that digital banking solutions play in reducing carbon emissions and in broadening financial inclusion. One such product is the SC Shilingi Funds platform launched in February 2022. This is the first “100 percent digital only” platform offering money market funds in Kenya and across the SCB franchise. The solution offers convenience as it is available 24/7 on the SCB Mobile app. It allows clients to invest from as low as Ksh 500 to earn competitive returns (higher than what they would ordinarily get in a Savings account).
Clients want to have a positive impact on environment, social and governance (ESG) protocols, but often lack the time or tools to do so. SCB is helping them bridge this gap by offering them avenues to invest in ESG Offshore mutual funds. The bank currently has a total of 13 sustainable funds on their mutual funds’ platform in Kenya. SCB pursues a sustainable investing approach by investing in environment, water and energy funds, for example, Allianz Global Sustainability Fund, Ninety-One Global Environment fund, among others. In addition to this, SCB plants a tree on behalf of every client who invests in an ESG fund, occasionally inviting its clients to join the tree planting activities. To date, the bank has planted 1,200 trees at the Ngong Forest Sanctuary for its clients.
Futuremakers is the SCB’s flagship global initiative which focuses on three pillars: Education, Employability and Entrepreneurship. This helps the youth learn, earn and grow through Goal, Futuremakers Inclusive Employability Programme and Women in Tech. The bank is working with disadvantaged young people, especially girls and persons with disabilities (PwD), to gain new skills and expertise to improve their chances of getting a job or starting their own business. Futuremakers empowers the next generation by focusing on education, employability and entrepreneurship.
Goal is the Futuremakers flagship education programme that equips adolescent girls with life skills using sports training. All these programmes impacted 7,582 beneficiaries in 2022 bringing the total number of young people impacted since launch in 2019 to 27,388 and total investment to Ksh 143 million.
In 2022, SCB launched a Ksh 97 million Futuremakers Inclusive Employability Programme which aims at supporting young people, particularly girls and PwD to find jobs through work readiness and vocational training. These employability programmes help young people become job-ready by building employment-related knowledge and skills, increasing their confidence, self-esteem and aspirations including training, careers mentoring and job placements. The bank works with various institutions including five universities: Kenyatta University (KU), United States International University-Africa (USIU-A), Multimedia University (MMU), Zetech University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT). To date, this programme has reached 5,157 beneficiaries, 281 of whom are students with disabilities.
The bank has taken leadership in positioning the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon as the only sustainable marathon and the largest single day sporting event in Kenya. In 2022, the marathon made a great comeback after the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to becoming a signature fundraising event, all the marathon’s proceeds go towards the bank’s Futuremakers initiatives.
The marathon has also become an avenue for addressing the devastating impact of climate change. In 2022, through the slogan of ‘A Tree Per Runner’, 21,860 tree seedlings were distributed to all participants in the marathon. 100 percent of the waste generated from the marathon day was recycled. This translated to a total of 2,713 kg of greenhouse gas emissions saved. The SCB marathon has adopted a 3.1 km stretch within Kisumu City to plant and nurture trees. This is in support of Kisumu’s County Initiative which aims to plant 3 million trees in the next 3 years.
SCB also published its first Marathon Sustainability Report in 2022, to measure the environmental, social and economic impact of the event.
Being a responsible company means making the right decisions to minimise the impact of operations. SCB has taken a bold stand towards Accelerating Net Zero, setting two commitments: to achieve net zero emissions from its operations using renewable energy sources by 2025; and to achieve net zero in its financed emissions by 2050. The bank has put measures in place, such as rainwater harvesting for cleaning and watering of plants, and recycling of wastewater. This has resulted in a reduction of 82 percent in water use intensity over the last four years. All of SCB’s branches are certified as single-use plastic free zones.
SCB has a robust waste recycling program for its Chiromo Head Office, Kenyatta Avenue Branch, with plans underway to expand this to all its branches in Kenya. The bank’s leadership measures and tracks key operations indices, such as carbon emissions from direct business activities including diesel usage & waste disposal, and from indirect business activities such as electricity usage.
The bank has entered into a 3-year partnership (2021 -2024) with the Nairobi Arboretum Park to promote urban green spaces through the rehabilitation and beautification of running paths, as well as supporting community education awareness programmes on environmental conservation. SCB targets to restore no less than 6 km of running paths, upgrade 50 signages, label 100 trees and support a Ksh 1 million seedlings nursery.
SCB is supporting the development of a digital application which will be used as an education tool to create awareness on conservation and climate change. The bank’s partnership with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is helping create awareness on the importance of green spaces within cities. This is in addition to hosting pre-marathon events at the Nairobi Arboretum, Karura Forest and Ngong Forest Sanctuary.
In June 2022, SCB launched its inaugural Sustainability Impact Report, a clear demonstration of the bank’s commitment to transparency and accountability regarding its sustainability aspirations.
SCB has received several recognitions for its efforts towards sustainability. These include: Best Case Study in Bank Operations from the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) in 2022 and Overall category winner of Economic Empowerment of Young Girls in the 10th Gender Mainstreaming Awards. In 2023, SCB’s CEO, Kariuki Ngari, was ranked first on a list of the Top 25 Most Influential CEOs Impacting Business, by the Business Monthly EA magazine.
As a corporate citizen, SCB’s sustainability work is inspired by the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” SCB continues to leverage partnerships with various stakeholders to go further and ensure it leaves behind a better planet for future generations.
BAT EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA MARKETS
BAT is on a transformation journey, one aimed at Building A Better Tomorrow for consumers, employees, society and shareholders. Crispin Achola, General Manager for BAT’s BAT East & Southern Africa Markets and his team, paint a succinct picture of the Company’s corporate responsibility and sustainability vision, and progress being made.
“As a leading local and global company, we understand our impact, the importance of high standards of integrity and our evolving societal responsibilities. And while sustainability has always been important to our business for decades, today, we are building on this foundation and placing sustainability at the front and centre of everything we do.
We have made significant progress on our sustainability journey as reflected by various accolades and certifications, such as issuance of our third energy compliance certificate in 2022 by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) – (BAT Kenya was first to receive the certificate and is currently one of only eight organisations in Kenya with the certification), multi-year certification by the global Top Employers Institute as a Top Employer in Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique and Africa, being named the 2022 Accenture Gender Mainstreaming Champion in Africa and receiving the prestigious global Alliance for Water Stewardship certification for our Kenya operation, amongst others.
Yet, our approach needs to constantly evolve. Today, we are accelerating progress across our Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) priorities by creating shared value, ultimately towards building a sustainable future. Anchored on our renewed purpose – to build A Better Tomorrow for our stakeholders – we are accelerating the transformation of our business and industry. Key outcomes include offering a range of viable and responsibly marketed products in nicotine and beyond; reducing the health and environmental impacts of our business and raising standards for everyone across our value chain, creating a purposeful place to work for our employees and delivering superior and sustainable returns for our shareholders. At the same time, we remain committed to ensuring robust corporate governance across the Business.
Our ambition is underpinned by a robust sustainability agenda. This is aligned to applicable UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and outlines clear measurable targets, which we track regularly with oversight at senior management and Board levels. Some of our targets include achieving carbon neutrality for scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030 and scope 3 by 2050, 50/50 gender balance across the organisation and Management by 2025, increasing the representation of people with disabilities to 5% by 2025 (we are a member of the Kenya Business and Disabilities Network), and enabling prosperous livelihoods for our contracted farmers, trade partners, amongst others.
Looking into 2023 and beyond, I remain optimistic about the future of our business and delighted to lead talented individuals with whom we share one vision. I am confident that alongside our business partners including traders and suppliers, our shareholders and other stakeholders, we will deliver A Better Tomorrow”.
In October 2022, NCBA Bank celebrated three years of operation following the successful merger of NIC Group PLC and Commercial Bank of Africa Limited.
Regarded as one of the most tactful and prolific corporate mergers in Kenya’s banking sector history, the deal brought together two banking powerhouses with deep Kenyan roots and a strong regional presence under the NCBA banking brand.
Subsequent to its onset, NCBA Bank has expertly navigated a complex business reorganisation, undertaken a full-scale rebrand and shown impeccable market leadership in customer experience, product innovations and financial performance. The Group has a presence in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ivory Coast.
NCBA is among the top five lenders by financial muscle in a market with more than 40 licensed commercial banks.
Through digital channels such as M-Shwari, operated in collaboration with Safaricom, the Group continues to create a competitive edge for itself, under the able leadership of Isaac Awuondo as Chairman and John Gachora as MD/CEO.
By the end of Q3 2022, NCBA had disbursed a stupendous Sh 521 billion in digital loans, a 23 percent increase year on year in line with its digitisation agenda and its commitment to supporting small businesses and individual customers, excellently settling in with the policy direction set by the current administration on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the focus at the bottom of the pyramid in tandem with Kenya’s current bottom-up economic model.
For the first nine months of 2022, NCBA’s profits rose by 96 per cent to Sh12.8 billion compared to Sh 6.5 billion in the same period of 2021. The lender has turned out as the high performing bank it was envisioned to be when the idea to merge was mooted by the boards of the two legacy banks back in December 2018.
Growth remains firmly on the agenda for NCBA. One initiative that has shaped the bank’s journey is ambitious branch expansion, aimed at complementing the strong and fast-growing digital channels. In total, the Group has opened more than 26 new branches in the region since the merger, with several more scheduled to happen this year.
In line with growth efforts, NCBA is taking strategic steps to maintain an edge in asset finance, where the bank is the undisputed market leader with a long track record of helping individuals and enterprises acquire the assets they need to advance to the next level.
The lender recently rolled out a 15-second pre-conditional approval feature on asset finance through which customers are able to get indicative approvals within 15 seconds of completing an online application, a first in the sector. The program has seen a strong uptake, with more than Sh 2.5 billion having been approved through this channel.
NCBA ended Q3 2022 with a rise in asset base to Sh 595 billion, six per cent up year on year, with customer deposits closing the 2022 Q3 at Sh 462 billion, three per cent up year on year.
The Group has built an enviable and esteemed brand within a very short span of time. In 2022, the bank was honoured as the Best Banking Group and the Best Commercial Bank in Kenya at the prestigious International Banker Awards.
A deliberately customer-obsessed banking institution, NCBA serves a wide spectrum of customers, from corporations to multinationals to MSMEs, offering several innovative propositions. The Group’s retail banking proposition also provides the much needed financial relief for many households through micro-credit solutions offered through digital banking partnerships such as M-Shwari, Fuliza, Mpawa, Mokash and Momokash.
NCBA continues to demonstrate its agility and ability to respond to evolving customer needs. Last year, in conjunction with two leading players in the digital mobile lending sector, the Group committed to reducing fees and giving penalised borrowers reprieve on platforms such as M-Shwari and Fuliza. This move was warmly received by the customers, and is expected to provide timely relief for numerous households facing financial pressures brought about by the current wave of inflation.
NCBA is a firm pacesetter in corporate sustainability, which looks beyond financial performance and puts into consideration the impact businesses can have on the environment and communities in which they operate.
The bank is playing its part to finance green initiatives that help protect the environment. For instance, NCBA recently made history as the first bank to finance electric vehicles by injecting Sh 2 billion in asset finance, a decision that the lender believes will bolster asset quality and support the government’s effort to reduce carbon emissions in the country.
One of the defining features of NCBA is the sense of solidarity with the community. The bank continues to play an active and influential role in charity and philanthropy across the country. NCBA has partnered with the Palmhouse Foundation, Edumed Trust, Mpesa Foundation, Dr. Choksey Albinism Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages Kenya to deliver educational sponsorship programmes to deserving children.
In addition, the Group has partnered with Junior Achievement Kenya, under the job shadow programme, to educate over 40 students and youth on entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential programs.
NCBA’s patronage of golf is also worth mentioning. In 2021, the bank launched the inaugural NCBA Golf Series, attracting over 3,000 golfers to participate in tournaments across 16 golf clubs countrywide. In 2022, the series expanded across the region with 18 tournaments in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
NCBA has positioned itself as a premier employer of choice in the banking sector, in line with the strategic goal of building a high performance culture. The lender had more than 2,300 employees in Kenya in 2021, with an employee retention rate of 90 percent, according to the 2021 Annual Report. Impressively, the bank promoted 219 (close to 10 percent) of its staff in 2021, indicating that NCBA is not only able to attract talent, but also grow and develop it – a top consideration for professionals looking to grow their careers in today’s competitive and agile labour market.
Picking the cue from the global and continental exposure by its MD/CEO John Gachora, the Group has come full circle to assume its position as a leader in the banking industry.
ABSA BANK KENYA PLC
Absa Bank, initially Barclays Bank, has operated in the Kenyan market for 107 years, with its first branch on Nkrumah Road, Mombasa (the branch exists to date).
In March 1986, Absa became the first bank in Kenya to offer its shares to the public on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). Today, the bank has a presence in 38 counties. It has 85 branches, 214 automated teller machines (ATMs) and a robust internet and mobile banking platform. Absa’s purpose is summarised as ‘bringing possibilities to life’.
Absa Bank Kenya has been associated with a number of market firsts, such as the launch of the first ATM in 1990, the launch of Sharia-compliant banking in 2005, as well as the introduction of unsecured lending.
A highly profitable financial institution, Absa Bank Kenya’s capitalisation stood at Ksh 67.9 billion as of January 2023. Its total asset size stood at Ksh 481 billion, and it held eight percent market share as at the end of Q3 2022.
As the financial environment continues to change, and with so many investment choices to make, Absa Bank Kenya is constantly looking for new ways to help its clients diversify, navigate and stay on top of their investment and banking decisions.
For instance, the bank offers a wide selection of Treasury Bonds and Eurobonds, issued by the Government of Kenya, through Absa Asset Management Limited (AAML).
Via the newly launched Offshore Investments Proposition, its clients have access to structured offshore investments, giving them exposure to global investment opportunities. The institution’s dedicated team of International Offshore Investment Advisors offer expert professional guidance, and clients are assured of end-to-end support to make a well-informed investment decision.
A corporation hell-bent on professionalism and customer-obsession, Absa Bank has certified Wealth Management Relationship Managers who offer personalised advice and support to choose the most suitable investment, and give timely and actionable market insights.
The Absa Unit Trust gives clients access to professionally managed funds, allowing investments from as low as Ksh 1,000 or (USD 100). Additionally, the Money Market Fund (available in Ksh or USD) ensures capital protection and enhanced returns through compounded interest. On the other hand, the Bond fund, Equity fund and Balanced fund assure clients long-term capital growth.
Ensuring clients’ peace of mind is a priority for Absa Bank Kenya. Therefore, the bank has tailor-made insurance solutions to offer protection to clients’ families, wealth, businesses and property. Moreover, the clients can access a retrenchment cover, considering the turbulent economic times that are being experienced in the country.
To make banking easier and more efficient, Absa Bank Kenya offers an end-to-end digital onboarding process. Once a client opens an Absa Bank account, they can start to transact within minutes. The financial advisor’s secure and easy-to-use online banking portal and Absa Bank Kenya application enable clients to have access to their account anytime and anywhere, make utility payments, send and receive money through various channels, make credit card payments, and much more.
Absa Bank Kenya strives to be a ‘force for good’ by making a difference in its communities, which beneﬁts both people and the planet. This drives the bank’s growth as a business, ensures profitable returns to shareholders and continued growth and development of the staff. The sustainability journey Absa Bank Kenya has embarked on enables it to remain relevant in society and strengthens its ability to respond to an ever-increasing competitive landscape.
In terms of Sustainable Finance, Absa Bank Kenya is deploying Ksh 6 billion across sustainable investment, financing and operational activities to help accelerate climate change transition and advance inclusive growth by 2025.
In support of women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and general start-ups, Absa Bank Kenya has entered into a partnership with Melanin Kapital, an impact investment platform. The collaboration provides an investor readiness program that will see startups in the social impact space access up to Ksh 3 million in unsecured lending. The program targets 1,000 women-focused startups, providing value-add services such as financial training, investment-readiness, capacity building, structured mentorship, structured networking, and access to finance.
Moreover, in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the bank has initiated the SheTradesKE Programme: A Ksh10 billion fund to advance credit to women-owned MSMEs until 2025.
Absa Bank Kenya, in line with the United Nations 13th and 15th Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG #13, #15), ensures its business helps protect the environment through curbing climate change and reducing its carbon footprint. The financial services firm is committed to financing the green economy, agriculture, green building and working in partnerships to finance green mortgages. In September 2020, Absa became the first bank in Kenya to join the Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS) as a champion for these green initiatives.
In 2022, Absa Bank Kenya announced an ambitious plan to plant 10,000 fruit trees in schools across Kenya, as part of its ‘Birdies for Good’ initiative in partnership with Magical Kenya Open, an annual golf tournament. The project highlights Absa Bank’s commitment to environmental sustainability as a leading institution. “We realise that we cannot succeed without considering the welfare of our customers and the communities in which we operate, and therefore our interest in the financial wellness and continuity for our partners is a fundamental principle to the sustainability of our business,” Jane Waiyaki, the Absa Bank Head of Sustainability and Citizenship, commented.
During its first year of launch, the ‘Birdies for Good’ initiative successfully raised over Ksh 8 million, in collaboration with the European Tour, with the funds going into supporting sustainable community development projects. Among the beneficiaries were a women’s bead-making enterprise and scholarships for girls in Laikipia, tree planting in Isiolo County and provision of sanitary pads to school-going girls in Samburu County.
The bank recognises the challenges facing ordinary Kenyans, and seeks to be responsive in addressing the root causes of the social challenges faced. Its contributions to society and the economy can be defined by the social investment in the youth, women and communities. This is through Absa Bank Kenya’s internal improvement initiatives introduced into its operations, support of suppliers, and by its contribution made to the country’s tax base.
In matters Governance under environment, social and governance (ESG), the bank’s business focuses on creating ongoing value amongst its customer base. This is fostered through the implementation of responsible lending practices, as well as the innovation of products to serve specific customer needs. Additionally, Absa Bank Kenya focuses on the management of its own business processes responsibly. This allows the bank to live out its goals, and in doing so, demonstrates to staff why ESG protocols imposed are good for both the business and the society.
Committed to contributing towards the UN SDGs, business sustainability, as well as remaining a core contributor to Kenya’s economy, Absa Bank is determined to continue working to be a ‘force for good’, hopefully simultaneously inspiring other institutions.
From offering mobile telephony, financial services (M-PESA), consumer electronics, digital loan applications (such as M-Shwari), ecommerce, cloud computing, data, music streaming and fibre optic services, Safaricom has undoubtedly positioned itself as a giant in the technology space, with a user base of up to 43 million. In addition to being a pioneer in profitability, Safaricom holds a leading role in matters Environment, Social and Governance (ESG). In 2022, the technology company released its 11 th Annual Sustainable Business Report themed ‘Partnering for Growth: Transforming Lives’, with a focus on partnership that reflects the Kenyan proverb ‘sticks in a bundle are unbreakable’.
Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) released in 2016, Safaricom is making tremendous strides in the areas of healthcare, diversity & inclusion, education, climate action, renewable energy and the promotion of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). To improve access to affordable and quality healthcare, as of 2022, M-TIBA, a leading health financing technology platform enabled by Safaricom, had 4.8 million active customers, 4,731 approved health facilities and over Sh 1.5 billion paid out to approved health facilities.
In collaboration with Savannah Informatics and Intellisoft Consulting, Safaricom has developed Afya Moja, a medical records health portability platform to help patients achieve continuum of care. In total, these programs impacted 223,934 lives in the fiscal year of 2022 (FY22). Regarding promotion diversity, equity and inclusion, Safaricom has trained over 100 of its employees on sign language to remove communication barriers for the deaf employees and customers, while over 400 line-managers have been trained on leading diverse teams.
Additionally, together with Kenya Union of the Blind and AYUDH Kenya (a non-profit international youth movement), Safaricom has continued to register visually-impaired people, reaching over 13,000 in FY22, and has also distributed more than 2,000 white canes for the visually-impaired across the country in 2022.
On gender, through programs such as Women in Technology, Women in Leadership and Women in Business, the company is taking deliberate steps to grow its female talent and lift women-owned businesses in its supply chain. Safaricom is regularly expanding access to education through mobile e-learning, digitizing education content and promoting digital literacy. For its staff, a program dubbed #1MoreSkill has been created to enable digital upskilling and reskilling across the business, and in 2022, 90% of its employees had completed at least one digital learning course.
In April 2022, Safaricom partnered with Zeraki and launched the Zeraki Learning app to complement Shupavu 291- a mobile web learning product by Eneza Education and powered by Safaricom- thereby impacting an additional 150,000 learners who had downloaded the app by year-end. The M-PESA Foundation jointly with the Christian Blind Mission (CBM) Kenya and CURE Kenya hospital have come together to address factors that limit children with disabilities from access, retention and transition in schools. In total, 39 children with disabilities benefitted from surgeries, while 51 benefitted from rehabilitation and placement in learning institutions in FY22.
Safaricom Foundation’s Accelerated Learning Programme impacted basic literacy and numeracy skills to 25,271 learners in Turkana, Bungoma and Tana River counties as at April 2022. As part of Safaricom’s carbon offset program, 372,000 trees have been planted in FY22. The firm’s commitment is to grow 5 million trees by 2025, which should neutralise 26 percent of its emissions. Moreover, Safaricom has transitioned 310 of its sites to renewable and hybrid energy sources against a target of 4,200 sites by 2025. The firm has partnered with M-Kopa Solar for a pay-as-you-go model for device acquisition, achieving total sales of Sh 427,000, a growth of 145% year on year. The partnership provides access to solar energy to over one million rural households with an impact on 3.7 million lives and over 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2) in avoided emissions.
In collaboration with M-Gas, Safaricom provides low income households in Nairobi with access to clean, reliable and affordable cooking gas. By the end of FY22, there were 10depots serving 185,000 households. 88.1 percent of solid waste collected from Safaricom operations was recycled in 2022. The company has also grossly reduced fuel (diesel and petrol) usage, from 11,652,174 litres to 10,034,899 litres within the last year.
In support of MSMEs, M-PESA mini apps provide a platform for third party service providers to offer their products and services directly on the M-PESA app, therefore easing the customer’s lifestyle. There are currently 36 mini apps with an average of 400,000 monthly users. Safaricom has also developed the M-PESA super app to cater for subscriber digital lifestyles and empower businesses, more so MSMEs, through the mini apps programme. Thus far, there have been 5.3 million consumer app downloads and 462,000 business app downloads.
In a nutshell, the Safaricom Group, under the insightful and futuristic leadership of its CEO Peter Ndegwa, is undeniably and on a massive scale taking part in the global movement surrounding sustainable business and social impact.
The corporate giant has set a grand example for other companies to follow, whilst still living up to its purpose of transforming lives.
East African Breweries PLC (EABL) was founded in 1922 and in the last 100 years has grown to become East Africa’s dominant alcoholic beverage business with a first class selection of over 40 brands ranging from beers, spirits and adult non-alcoholic drinks (ANADs).
First listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in 1954, EABL is renowned for being one of the oldest enterprises in Kenya and the larger East Africa region. By the early 2000s, it was listed on the Ugandan Securities Exchange (USE) and Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE). The group’s largest shareholder is Diageo PLC, an international alcoholic beverage brand, with 50.03 percent ownership.
With a vision to be the most celebrated business in every market in Eastern Africa, EABL has formed an extensive network of breweries, distillers and a distribution system that spans across the core markets of Kenya (Kenya Breweries Limited – KBL), Uganda (Uganda Breweries Limited – UBL), Tanzania (Serengeti Breweries Limited – SBL) and South Sudan (East African Beverages South Sudan Limited – EABSS). Despite operating in these key Eastern African markets, the company’s unique products can be found in more than 10 countries across Africa including Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and beyond.
A customer-obsessed business, EABL takes time to study the market and understand both consumer needs and wants, determining how best to satisfy them. The Kenyan-based holding company constantly invests in innovating and renovating its brands and distribution network, in tandem with dynamic consumer trends.
Ms Jane Karuku, EABL’s Managing Director (MD) since 2021, has proven herself to be a resilient and admirable industry sector thought leader, steering the group to phenomenal annual profits subsequent to her appointment. The firm reported a 130.4 percent year on year surge in profits after tax to Sh 8.74 billion in half year 2022 from Sh 3.79 billion seen in half year 2021. EABL attributes the double digit growth across its markets and categories to an improved operating environment as outlets re-opened, post the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dependent on natural resources for the manufacture and distribution of its wide array of products, EABL engages with over 60,000 farmers across the supply chain, providing them with agricultural skills and resources to support sustainable farming practices. Currently, the firm contributes about 1 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In 2020, Diageo PLC launched a 10-year Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) action plan named ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ to help create a more inclusive and sustainable world. From the point of the plan’s inception, EABL has made commendable progress, surpassing the previous year’s targets each time.
As a result of Sh 5.1 billion renewable energy investments in May 2022 in both the Kenya and Uganda plants, the company is set to reduce 42,000 tonnes in carbon emissions annually (about 95 percent). The biomass plants will replace heavy fuel oils used in EABL’s sites and will be powered by sustainable raw materials such as coffee and rice husks, macadamia shells and sugarcane bagasse.
The company outlined the projections in its EABL 2022 Sustainability Report, launched in November 2022 by the then Principal Secretary (PS), Ministry of Environment and Forestry, (now National Treasury and Planning) Dr Chris Kiptoo. Speaking during the launch, Ms Karuku noted, “The biomass investment demonstrates the strength of our commitment to pioneering ‘Grain to Glass Sustainability’, which is a key pillar of our Sustainability Strategy. It will create hundreds of direct and indirect green jobs throughout our supply chain.”
To promote positive drinking, EABL launched the SMASHED programme aimed to educate the youth, parents and teachers on the dangers of both underage and excessive drinking. By the end of 2022, the program had reached 48,690 people, achieving a success rate of 137 percent, with an initial target reach of 35,500 people.
Along the lines of afforestation and reforestation in the fight against climate change, EABL has in the last decade planted over 1.3 million trees around Kenya, with a success rate of 85 percent. The hope is that that number will have doubled by 2030.
Pursuant to the manufacturer’s goal to preserve water for life, EABL completed 100 percent of its water collective action projects. The company reached a total of 99,317 people with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes, 311 percent above its annual target of 31,885 people.
In the continued effort to champion gender, diversity and inclusion, EABL reached 5,327 people through business and hospitality skills training programmes, a 165 percent achievement of its 3,220 people targeted. In addition, the group increased the number of women represented in its community programmes, from 54 percent in 2021, to 63 percent in 2022. Today, EABL stands at 36 percent representation of women in executive leadership roles.
EABL aims to become Net Zero in its direct operations by 2030. To achieve this, all of the company’s sites run on 96.9 percent renewable electricity for operations, above its target of 95 percent.
The state of the world has pushed multiple corporations to transition to a circular economy model, and EABL has this goal firmly listed on its agenda. The company has maintained zero tonnes of waste to landfill from its direct operations. Moreover, 100 percent of all plastics used at EABL’s sites are widely recyclable, reusable and compostable, which is higher than in 2021, where recyclable plastics stood at 90 percent.
EABL is intentionally driving an agenda of guaranteed thriving for all stakeholders. As the business continues to prosper, EABL’s efforts towards sustainable development will carry on in earnest.
SBM BANK KENYA
A customer interacting with a banking brand knows all too well that the reason they select a bank is not merely its size, but more so about the personal relationship they will build with this brand. They understand this more intimately than the banker because this is the entity that will fund their first car, ensure that their children’s school fees are secured and that they can own a home or keep their business afloat; the relationship is personal and lasts a lifetime if done correctly.
It is for this reason, 50 years ago in 1973, on an island in the South East of the African continent, SBM Bank Group (formerly State Bank of Mauritius) was established with ambitions to create a lifetime of personal relationships with its customers. Its sole aim to date is to give its customers across the globe, access to create a smarter tomorrow.
Since its maiden journey in 1973, the Group set sail across the Indian Ocean to establish a brand that is listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius with operations in Madagascar, India and Kenya. The Group has a stable asset base of over 8 billion dollars and personal relationships with millions of customers across the globe. The Group brand has innovated products in wealth management, non-financial banking services and partnerships with fintech companies. Notably, in India, SBM Bank is the first foreign bank to receive a universal banking licence as a wholly owned subsidiary.
Closer to home, SBM Bank Kenya marks five years since it opened its doors to the Kenyan market. The bank entered the market by way of acquisition and has since developed strong partnerships with niche corporates, High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs), Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and individuals, as part of its ecosystem banking model.
A typical engagement at the bank looks like this: SBM Bank Kenya has provided a loan to a sustainable business to provide access to clean, reliable and affordable energy to nearly half a million people through off-grid solar home systems in Kenya. This transaction strikes all the right chords for people and the planet, and is in line with the 7th United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG #7), Affordable and Clean Energy.
The bank is supported by an intricate ecosystem of MSMEs who are distributors responsible for installing and ensuring the off-grid solar home systems reach all corners of the country. SBM Bank Kenya goes further to equip these distributors with financing tools like invoice discounting
or overdrafts, to ensure that the bank and its products reach the end user. Last but not least, there is a customer at the end of this value chain with access to seamless platforms both online or on their mobile to pay for the solar systems. With the click of a button, the corporate starts the transaction which impacts the MSMEs that serve the business, the employees within its fold and the customers it serves. This ecosystem is the definition of powering a ‘smarter tomorrow’, accurately corresponding to SDG #8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
However, the transaction does not stop at the societal impact only. The employees of this bank have personal dreams and aspirations. Thus, SBM Bank Kenya goes further to provide them with access to loans to invest in their future.
Across the continent in India, SBM Bank India partners with over 40 fintech companies to provide banking as a service. This allows a fintech company the opportunity to provide bank-powered services such as a payment card to its customers across the globe which they can use in any outlet globally. Such digital forward thinking taps into the aspirations of the future where a bank is not a place to go to, but something we do daily. This is the SBM Bank relationship banking model that is powered by technology but has service at the heart of its agenda.
The SBM Brand promise, anchored by its tagline For a Smarter Tomorrow, is backed by a commitment to be change-makers in the markets it serves. As a household name in Mauritius, the bank has led the innovation trail in the financial services sector and is consistently ranked among the Top 1,000 World Banks by The Banker Magazine, a publication of the Financial Times and has improved its position to 42nd in the Top 200 Banks in Africa by The Africa Report 2020.
SBM Group has entrenched its brand as a catalyst for empowering women, in accordance with SDG #5, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. The Group has a program called ‘WeMove’, a play on the words ‘Women’ and ‘Move’ that champions women in all spheres of life. It heralds the successes of women at home, work and in society by giving them access to education, empowerment and protection through advisory services, investment, insurance and wealth management.
The origins of this program started in Kenya through the SBM Bank Kenya Women Market Program, it was later adopted by the global brand to demonstrate the inclusive nature of the brand across markets. In Kenya, the Bank is a UN Women Empowerment Principles (WEPS) signatory (a global set of standards established by the UN Global Compact and UN Women). To date, the bank has trained over 5000 women-owned businesses in collaboration with various partners and has been feted with various awards and recognitions in the women’s markets space.
The bank has espoused the commitment to support sustainable businesses and has placed a strategic focus on financing, supporting and partnering with sustainable businesses for the long term. Last year, SBM Bank Kenya had two notable deals in this space. The first, a Sh 1.6 billion (USD 15 million) mid-term financing facility to support finance and access to affordable solar home systems and a risk-sharing agreement with the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) amounting to USD 10,000,000, to increase its financing of MSMEs. The latter with preferential rates for sustainable ‘Green’ businesses and women-led enterprises to access credit on favourable terms, mitigating the challenges they experience in scaling up their businesses and increasing their contribution to wealth creation and job opportunities. SBM Bank is determined to play a part in transforming this sector by opening up markets for green businesses, accelerating wealth creation and improving the quality of life.
A brand is its people, because they create the experience that is shared between the brand and the customer. The awards that the bank has been feted with all have faces, dreams, aspirations and the devotion of the teams that work tirelessly to deliver on the brand promise – For a Smarter Tomorrow.
The most notable awards received are Best Bank in Women Banking Kenya 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, Best SME Bank in Kenya 2022, and Citibank 2020 Performance Excellence Award, awarded by Citi Treasury & Trade Solutions in 2022. The bank also scooped the Best Gender Equality Index in Diversity and Inclusion Kenya 2022, Best Bank, Sustainability Award 2022.
The future of banking involves innovating ways to make a consumer’s daily life easier. SBM Bank is bridging the innovation gap by leveraging product offerings and services that are successful in other markets locally. The collaborative model between fintechs and banks in India has opened avenues for millions of customers to access financial services. Kenya and the region is the next frontier. The bank is excited about the immense opportunities such collaborations present to Kenyan techpreneurs and the youth.
It is predicted that the industries that will produce the next set of billionaires are renewable energy, artificial intelligence, robotic services, high-speed transportation and disruptive financial services to name a few. In the markets that SBM Bank serves, they are thinking ahead on how to partner with innovative thinkers to build Kenya and as a result the entire continent. As the bank is building a Smarter Tomorrow, the Kenya market is key to unlocking the brand’s potential.
By Ashok Shah, Group CEO
Insurance is all about sustainability and resilience. APA is one such insurer that promotes the ability of its clients to remain sustainable despite calamities, catastrophes, illnesses, accidents or any other fortuitous events.
APA ensures happiness: this is an ambitious motto and an infinite ambition. At APA, we take a eudaimonic approach to defining happiness. We look at wellbeing from the perspective of mental, physical, economic, and social factors.
APA, through the Apollo Foundation, has been a supporter of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) since its inception in 2015.
APA signed the Nairobi Declaration on Sustainable Insurance, which was launched by United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI). We put sustainability at the heart of risk management in pursuit of building a resilient, inclusive and sustainable society. This strategic approach is a concept consistent with the ‘Triple Bottom Line,’ succinctly described as People, Planet and Profit.
APA is a responsible corporate citizen. We have embedded environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in our core processes, products and services, which are material in enhancing long-term corporate value.
The operations of our services touch on all members of the community with the potential to positively impact their quality of life. We also operate from a significant number of branches throughout the country, and have a responsibility to the local community.
APA is a significant employer, having directly created jobs for over 400 staff members and another 1,000 indirectly, as financial advisors.
Our relationship with the local communities we serve is an essential part of the sustainability and growth of our business. In developing our products and services, we take into account the improvement of services both to our clients and the community as a whole.
In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Foundation aims to help end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people have a chance to enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
The company and its Foundation implement the following key SDG’s both directly and indirectly:
- Zero Hunger- SDG #2 and Good Health & Well Being- SDG #3
Due to the unknown nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had several ripple effects, including the sudden closure of businesses and loss of employment. This resulted in a shortage of food. As a company, and indeed through our Foundation, we took a bold decision to pay for all COVID-19 claims under our health cover. This decision was taken having followed the precedent of covering HIV-related claims since the year 2000, when no other insurer was willing to do so. The sustainability of our insureds (both corporate and individuals) depended on their ability to meet the very high hospital bills arising from prolonged treatments and ICU stays.
Then, there was the large section of our clients who lost their income: they needed food to survive. In response to this, we partnered with Care Package and the ‘Stand With Kenya’ campaign to provide over 18,000 families with food, face masks and sanitisation items during these most difficult times.
The APA purpose directs our efforts in delivering health insurance that provides shared value. Through our products and services, we incentivize healthy behaviours that support a healthier society, improved productivity and a reduced healthcare burden.
Through the Foundation, we established the APA Foundation Dental Wing at The Jalaram Medical Centre in Parklands. It is built to assist those who require dental care at an affordable rate. The Foundation donated Ksh 15 million towards this.
Additionally, the Foundation promotes sporting activities by supporting the Runda Youth Sports Association (RYSA) football team. The sponsorship includes the fees for RYSA to participate in various leagues and provides football kits, logistics and team allowances. The RYSA football team participates in the Nairobi County league which is under the Football Kenya Federation (FKF). APA also organises tournaments for the team in order to boost and continue to nurture the soccer talents and positively engage the youth in Mji wa Huruma and Githogoro villages.
- Quality Education SDG #4
APA has a comprehensive learning and development programme in place to drive life-long learning across its workforce, including graduate programmes and targeted leadership training.
Since 2006, APA has adopted Cheleta Primary School in Runda to help improve the school and its facilities, to motivate the students and hence improve their performance. From a low score of below 200, the best students now obtain over 350 out of a possible 500 marks. Cheleta’s students are from the 2 slums neighbouring Runda.
APA sponsors two of the best performing students, a boy and a girl, for their secondary education. Many of these students are then able to join university, of which the company facilitates. During school holidays, APA provides the sponsored students the opportunity to intern at the company, where they are given a stipend. Several students, upon graduating, are employed by the firm.
Besides the Cheleta alumni, APA has an active programme for attachments and internships for university students. Currently, we have 20 students under this programme.
On a wider impact, for parents to afford a good education for their children, APA Life has the Elimu Insurance solution. This provides the opportunity to save for your child’s future education. As a parent, you are equally covered for any unforeseen circumstances.
- Gender Equality- SDG #5
APA has set targets for gender representation across all employment levels as part of its Employment Equity Plan, with a specific focus on the promotion of women to senior management roles. We are proud that the team is composed of an equal number of men and women across all areas of operation.
In addition, in partnership with International Finance Corporation (IFC), we have launched a Women’s Insurance program to tackle gender inequality. This program seeks to provide value added services such as financial literacy programmes and mentorship programmes that will connect policyholders to women leaders in the entrepreneurial space. The program’s mission is to enrich women to thrive. The program’s vision is to ‘partner with women to create meaningful solutions to improve and protect their well-being at every stage of life.’
- Clean Water and Sanitation- SDG #6 and Climate Action- SDG #13
Hundreds of smallholder farmers and herders in Kenya can now access affordable, high-quality insurance to protect their crops and animals. The growing use of technology has offered a potentially efficient solution to impact their lifestyle.
APA Insurance partnered with six other insurance companies to form the Kenya Agriculture Insurance group (KAIG), specifically offering traditional, hybrid and parametric insurance products targeting smallholder farmers and pastoralists.
APA provides crop area yield index insurance (AYII) across 33 counties. Smallholder farmers are dependent on rains and with the effect of climate change, droughts are occurring more frequently. AYII, a multi-peril cover, guarantees a 70 percent yield.
APA provides Index-based Livestock Insurance (IBLI), a satellite-measured innovative approach that provides compensation where adverse weather conditions affect vegetation levels. These are closely linked to losses from the lack of forage for the animal, or reduction in the agricultural production. When the index exceeds a certain threshold, farmers and pastoralists automatically receive compensation.
Since 2006, the Foundation has built 35 sand dams in four counties in Kenya. These initiatives continue, with four more expected to be built in the current year. The dams alleviate the drudgery of the women and children walking long distances to fetch water, providing communities with water for most of the year.
- Reduced Inequalities- SDG #10
APA believes in equal opportunity employment. We do not discriminate based on religion, tribe or physical abilities. This is clearly indicated in our HR policies.
- Responsible Consumption & Production- SDG #12
As part of our organisational strategy, we are moving towards paperless working, therefore reducing the impact on trees as part of our effort towards responsible consumption. The Group has planted over 100,000 trees in the last five years and has sponsored numerous activities, including the Run for Mau.
- Partnerships with Development Organisations- SDG #17
‘Linda Boma’ is a product funded by FSD-Kenya, in a collaborative effort with Emerging Markets and APA to design a solution that fits the needs of the demographic. Through the research, we have found that informal settlement inhabitants are financially affected by hospitalisation, death and the increased frequency of fires.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is one of our many partners with which we endeavour to provide small scale farmers with area yield crop insurance. Farmers get compensated for adverse weather conditions like droughts or floods. APA has insured about 12,000 households in Kitui, Makueni and Taita Taveta.
In 2019, we received the coveted European Microfinance Award in recognition of our innovative approach to insurance dubbed ‘Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change.’ We were the first ever insurance company to receive the award worldwide, since it was established.
APA and its Foundation are determined to be an exceptional employer, excellent partner and a good corporate citizen. We are also deeply committed to nation building and protecting our planet for future generations to come.
Isuzu Motors, commonly referred to as Isuzu, is a leading international automobile manufacturer founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1937. In 2022, the company moved its headquarters from Tokyo to Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Japan. The name Isuzu was inspired by the Isuzu River that flows near to the Ise Grand Shrine, one of Japan’s most sacred and revered shrines.
1st January 2018 saw the multinational officially launch Isuzu East Africa (Isuzu EA) in Kenya, following the ownership and hence name change, from General Motors East Africa (GMEA) to Isuzu EA. Isuzu acquired 57.7 percent shareholding from GMEA in 2017. The primary aim of this investment has been to expand commercial vehicle production and sales in Eastern Africa. Other shareholders include the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) (20 percent), Centum Investments (17.8 percent) and Japan’s Itochu Corporation (4.5 percent).
Established in 1975, GMEA was involved in the import, assembly and sale of Isuzu vehicles, from trucks to buses to passenger cars. Isuzu EA has continued to maintain market leadership in Kenya’s commercial vehicle segment since 2012.
Isuzu EA is the pioneer manufacturing and distribution organisation outside of Japan where Isuzu has a 100 percent ownership. It serves as an important base for Isuzu’s long-term growth trajectory throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Since its inception, the Isuzu brand has lived up to its vision of creating commercial and heavy duty vehicles that truly serve the targeted customers. High quality, reliability and long life characteristics have remained at the core of what Isuzu manufactures and assembles to-date.
Nearer home, Isuzu EA has been the leading local vehicle assembler in the last two decades, with over 95 percent of sales in the light and heavy commercial vehicles segment. Isuzu EA raised its market share to a new record of 44.7 percent in the year ended December 2022, after increasing sales despite an overall slump in the new vehicle industry. According to the Kenya Motor Vehicle Industry Association (KMI), Isuzu sold 5,968 units in the review period, representing a five percent increase from 5,609 units ended December 2021, when its market share stood at 39.4 percent. This success has been driven by the outstanding support of customers and business partners who continue to demonstrate confidence in Isuzu’s enduring legacy.
Isuzu EA’s Assembly Plant on Mombasa Road has a capacity of 14,000 units per year and employs in excess of 5,000 people along the entire Isuzu chain. The Isuzu brand has attained strong leadership in the market, having assembled over 100,000 units since the first Isuzu vehicle rolled out of its Nairobi assembly plant in 1977.
In 2011, Isuzu EA (then GMEA) appointed the extremely capable Ms Rita Kavashe Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD), making it the first multinational company (MNC) in Kenya with a woman at the helm. Ms Kavashe presided over the transition from GMEA to Isuzu EA.
Under Ms Kavashe’s exceptional leadership, Isuzu EA has embraced community support initiatives that respond to different societal needs. Its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program has mainly been impactful in the areas of Environmental Conservation, Education, Sports, Road Safety and Healthcare.
Environmental Conservation, part of the United Nations 15th Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG #15), is a worldwide top priority with a major focus on both afforestation and reforestation which support the earth’s ecosystem. Isuzu EA has adopted 70 of 110 hectares (Ha) of bare land in Muumandu Hill Forest in Machakos County, where the firm launched a tree planting project to rehabilitate the forest within a period of 10 years. This is in collaboration with the Muumandu Kalimanzalu Community Forest Association (CFA) and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). Thus far, the firm has contributed about 3,300 seedlings to the forest, which have been jointly planted by Isuzu EA staff and the community forest associations. More than 1,000 seedlings have also been planted in Mua Hills, Machakos, in response to the need to increase Kenya’s forest cover from the current 7.4 percent to 10 percent by 2030.
In line with SDG #4, the need to provide access to quality education, Isuzu EA has been extensively involved through provision of buses for school transport. In addition, Isuzu EA has partnered with a local education trust, Palmhouse Foundation, to launch a Sh 100 million endowment fund in support of underprivileged students. Over 700 students from all over the country have benefited. Isuzu EA has also provided both internship opportunities and full-time employment to some of the beneficiaries.
In June 2022, Isuzu EA joined Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) in establishing a girls mentorship programme at Embakasi Girls Secondary School, anchored under KCDF’s tertiary education programme. The Isuzu EA female workforce have been setting aside some of their time to mentor 236 girls on topics ranging from self-awareness, sexual reproductive health, drugs and substance abuse, among other key topics young adults are faced with on a day-to-day basis. The main objective is to provide a safe space for the mentees to explore their personal dreams and ambitions.
Similarly, in support of the boy-child, an initiative dubbed MENTENDA aimed at inspiring the society to act on the pressing challenges facing boys in Kenya was instituted. In collaboration with KCDF, Isuzu EA male staff have been mentoring students of Muhuri Muchiri Secondary School to become confident and responsible men, unravelling their potential to become able leaders in various influential spaces.
In support of sports development in Kenya, Isuzu EA took an interest in the national women’s rugby team popularly known as the ‘Kenya Lionesses’, after they won the Africa Women’s Sevens Cup. A CSR project named ‘Lionesses Arise’ sponsored by Isuzu EA and facilitated by KCDF was initiated, to improve the livelihoods of the ladies through economic empowerment and prepare them for life beyond their active sports careers. Since the project began, 29 ladies have undergone training and graduated. Isuzu EA is proud to have been associated with the women’s rugby team that flew the Kenya flag at the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021.
Isuzu EA has a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Transport Safety Agency (NTSA) to develop information and communication video clips from the Highway Code for online dissemination to road users on safety, good behaviour and responsibility when on the roads. The videos are available online and in driving training schools to support positive attitudes on road safety.
To mitigate the impact of unavoidable road accidents, Isuzu EA supported the establishment of a pilot emergency response centre in Naivasha along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway. Working with Nurse in Hand, a donor-supported organisation, the firm funded the construction of the Naivasha Centre as a base for a rapid response paramedics team that can be deployed to a scene of an accident on motorbikes. The primary function of this rescue centre is to get to the accident scene faster and stabilise victims before onward transportation to hospitals via ambulances. The Nurse in Hand team has trained paramedics on standby to help save lives and minimise casualties. Isuzu EA has massively invested towards the project.
On 26th February 2022, an Isuzu EA team of 33 CSR volunteers led by MD Rita Kavashe and divisional directors Wanjohi Kangangi and Fred Wasike, participated in the 2022 Zambezi Hospital Cancer Walk. The purpose of the annual walk is to raise public awareness on the growing cancer rates in the country, and fundraise for free screening camps to aid early detection and hence, treatment. The charity walk attracted over 500 participants drawn from supporting organisations and several schools.
Isuzu EA, under Ms Kavashe’s exemplary and hands-on leadership, has proven itself to be a ‘Trusted Logistics Partner’, proactively engaging the community through diverse initiatives and cementing its position as the number one vehicle assembler in Eastern Africa. The premier MNC transforms lives as it dominates the roads with reliable and fuel-efficient vehicles.
SAROVA HOTELS & RESORTS
In 1974, Kenyan businessmen John Ngata Kariuki, the Late G.S. Vohra and the Late M.S. Vohra established Sarova Hotels. From the Group’s first hotel, the 94-guest bedroom Hotel Ambassador on Tom Mboya Street Nairobi to a portfolio today of eight properties in Kenya totalling over 1,200 guest bedrooms, Sarova remains a key player in Kenya’s tourism and hospitality sector. Each property is harmoniously unique to its own history and environment, strengthened by a vision to impact their local communities and build a sustainable future.
Jimi Kariuki joined the company in 1992 and currently serves as its Managing Director (MD). Since taking up the helm in 2018, Kariuki has led the luxury group to greater heights in the hospitality sector.
In April 2022, Sarova added the iconic Imperial Hotel (now Sarova Imperial Kisumu) in Kisumu City to its portfolio, making it the eighth hotel operating under the Sarova Kenya brand.
Sarova’s market leadership position was recently recognised during the 2022 World Travel Awards held in Nairobi at which Sarova Stanley, Nairobi’s oldest hotel, bagged the award for Kenya’s Leading Hotel 2022.
As the world continuously turns to sustainability in business, leisure and everyday life, Sarova plays a vital role in leading the way on adopting sustainable practices in their business operations and practices. Each Sarova property has Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes that are anchored on key pillars that guide the businesses sustainability practices. These pillars revolve around areas such as working with, supporting and empowering the local communities, wildlife conservation, water and energy conservation and tree planting. The company’s overall objective is to create sustainable development and to build awareness through this.
In accordance with the United Nations Eighth Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG #8), Decent Work and Economic Growth, the success of Sarova is attributed to the employment of locals who not only understand the geography of the locations, but also have a buy-in on the company’s ideas thus making them easy to implement.
Sarova Mara Game Camp in the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve offers an on-site Masai cultural and learning centre, Isokon Mara Cultural Village. The centre is operated by the local community and is Sarova’s way to give-back to the local community, on whose land we are on, by providing them with a venue and facility not only to sell their artisanal merchandise to visitors, but also to share the rich culture of the Maasai community through story-telling and other educational activities. All the proceeds from the centre are retained by the local community.
Sarova sources all of its food ingredients from Kenya. Meat and dairy products, for example, are sourced from local producers with a reputation for consistently practising very high international standards in food hygiene and safety and providing products free of harmful chemicals. Not only does this support local businesses, it is also in tandem with SDG #3, Good Health and Well-being, of the workforce and customers.
Sarova Hotels has embarked on putting in place water bottling plants at all its properties, effectively providing safe drinking water packaged in glass bottles on site. Currently this is in place at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge in Lake Nakuru National Park and the same will be rolled out at all other Sarova Game Lodges and at Sarova Whitesands Mombasa this year.
Sarova is also very involved in monthly beach clean-up programs in Mombasa through their coastal resort Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). This has significantly reduced the accumulation of waste along the pristine coastline.
In line with the government’s target of increasing Kenya’s forest coverage to 20 percent from the current 10 percent by 2030, through both afforestation and reforestation, tree planting is an active engagement for Sarova. In partnership with like-minded organisations such as the Green Line Foundation, an average of 500 tree seedlings are planted and tended to annually. The Group also encourages tourists to plant trees at their various Game Lodges and being afforded the opportunity to have their name allocated to the tree. This encourages guest repeat visits to check on ‘their’ trees.
Corresponding to SDG #12, Responsible Consumption and Production, the farm-to-plate concept is at the heart of Sarova’s culinary experiences. All of the cooking processes are designed to minimise food waste, coupled with first-class food preparation and storage geared to ensure the highest standards in food hygiene, safety and quality as well as to prevent wastage and spoilage. The Sarova Game Lodges have organic kitchen gardens that allow guests to handpick an assortment of fresh vegetables and herbs from the extensive gardens, from which they can create their own meals.
Sarova’s corporate conscience is hinged on quality education (SDG #4) and they have been involved in a myriad of projects. For instance, Sekenani Primary School located within the Masai Mara has been a beneficiary of Sarova community goodwill. A block of classes constructed within the school and the donation of learning materials has ensured continuous learning and development of the children. Selected alumni of the school later receive training and development at Sarova Mara Game Camp, acquiring some hospitality skills. Successful trainees are subsequently hired as staff at the properties.
Sarova has been a vital sponsor in helping youth in Kibera and Mathare slums in Nairobi to produce the award winning ‘Tales from the Slums’ in collaboration with Films without Borders and the Sandy Vohra Foundation. The film production aids in improving young people’s articulation skills, as well as instilling in them the confidence required to face the world.
Built to bring its customers the marvels of Africa, nature’s wonders, exquisite cuisine and undeniably refreshing hospitality, Sarova has set the stage in the glamourous world of luxury, while simultaneously living up to the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) global standards.
Airtel Kenya is a leading telecommunication and mobile money services provider in Kenya. The telco’s voice, data, and mobile money services continuously work to transform consumers’ lives. Its main objective is to provide an intuitive customer experience through streamlined customer journeys. Airtel Kenya has over 16 million customers.
In tandem with the global expectations of subscribing to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), maintaining business sustainability, and conforming to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), Airtel Africa released its 2022 Sustainability Report. The report defines the business’ progress against the goals outlined in Airtel Africa’s sustainability strategy, covering the period from 1st October 2021 to 30th September 2022, prepared per the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This article looks closely at the sustainability report, focusing on Airtel Kenya.
Focusing on SDG #5, Gender Equality, Airtel Kenya remains committed to further developing an inclusive working environment that provides opportunities for all and reflects its values of being alive, inclusive and respectful.
A vital element of the firm’s diversity and inclusion programme is providing its current female employees with the training and mentoring necessary to help them develop to their full potential. For instance, Airtel Africa, Airtel Kenya’s parent company, launched the Women in Technology Programme in September 2022, designed to build its technology talent. The programme runs over 12 months, allowing trainees to pursue business projects carefully tailored to their experience, interests, and areas of focus. The first cohort for this programme comprises 60 women, with the anticipation that all the candidates will graduate from the course and will use their acquired knowledge, skill and confidence to train and mentor other women in technology.
In support of Quality Education (SDG #4), Airtel Kenya has partnered with UNICEF to enable 10,500 Kenyan learners to access digital education. Under the initiative, 30 schools across Kenya have been connected to the internet via Airtel’s high-speed 4G routers. Elimika and Kenya Education Cloud learning platforms have been zero-rated to enable children’s access to digital educational resources.
Furthermore, Airtel Kenya has partnered with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Directorate of Children services to ensure fair access to education for vulnerable children in society. Through the partnership, Airtel is paying fees for 21 students from rehab centres, granting them the right to education and an opportunity to transform their lives.
Airtel Kenya has also partnered with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Allianz Insurance to transform the Kibera Youth Centre (Nairobi, Kenya) into an indispensable hub providing educational and social facilities for the youth of the district. Through the partnership’s investment, Airtel Kenya has transformed the centre’s ground floor into a fully equipped and functioning IT facility with 12 computers of 15 megabyte (MB) high-speed, providing a secure internet connection. Today, the facility hosts popular computer science lessons where young people can learn and socialise. Since its establishment in 2021, Kibera Youth Centre has aided in educating around 150 children; on average, 50 young people use the centre every week.
Airtel Kenya strives to provide its people with a safe and healthy working environment, outlined by SDG #3, Good Health and Wellbeing. The firm has developed wellness programmes for its employees across the business, including an employee assistance programme under which employees enjoy 24/7 access to healthcare advisors. Airtel Kenya’s health and safety engagement with employees revolves around central themes and resources; for example, the ‘Healthy and Happy You’ wellbeing initiative includes webinar talks delivered by healthcare partners focusing on physical and mental health. The ‘MyHour with HR’ programme also focuses on HR sessions where employees can discuss policies, processes and benefits. This programme is essential for the firm to infuse best practices in employee engagement in line with Environmental, Social, and Governance factors (ESG).
Airtel Kenya marked World Environment Day on 6th June 2022. The theme for 2022 was #OnlyOneEarth- Let’s Take Care Of It. In celebration of the day, the firm hosted an electronic waste (e-waste) awareness and collection event, bringing together employees from the group and Kenyan offices. Employees were encouraged to bring unused or broken appliances from their homes for collection, and the telco worked with a certified recycler to collect and recycle the deposited e-waste. Correspondingly, 274.9 Kg of e-waste was collected and recycled on the day.
In 2022, Airtel Africa launched an initiative titled ‘Project Green’ in all 14 markets, and Airtel Kenya is one of them. The project focuses on circular economy initiatives and creating a culture in which the workforce is sensitised to the sustainability of all its activities. Environmental protection is embedded at the heart of its business.
Harmonious with SDG #6, Water and Sanitation, Airtel Kenya consistently supports conservation projects based on local authority requirements, particularly tree planting in water catchment areas. For example, in June 2022, Airtel Kenya partnered with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to plant 3,300 trees in Ngong Forest, one of the country’s essential water catchment areas.
With the revered Ashish Malhotra as Airtel Kenya MD, the company has worked on increasing its footprint across the country and has done so by serving customers and societies, connecting the unconnected, investing in the network and distribution channels, and bridging the digital divide, all whilst operating as a socially responsible corporation.
Established 53 years ago, United States International University- Africa (USIU-Africa) is the oldest private university in the country, accredited by the Commission for Higher Education (CUE) in Kenya and by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in the United States.
Located within a suburban area on the outskirts of Nairobi, USIU-Africa is situated in a beautiful 20-acre green compound, offering both faculty and students a tranquil learning environment.
The USIU-Africa vision is to be the premier institution of academic excellence with a global perspective. The mission is to promote the discovery and application of knowledge, the acquisition of skills and the development of intellect and character in a manner that prepares students to contribute effectively and ethically as citizens of a changing and increasingly technological world.
Guided by the tagline, ‘Education To Take You Places’, USIU-Africa hosts over 70 different nationalities, openly and confidently cementing its position as a leader in diversity and inclusion. This is in accordance with the United Nations 10th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG #10). 85 percent of students and faculty are from Kenya; 15 percent come from different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. What’s more, 65 percent of the student body is female whilst 35 percent is male, smoothly corresponding to the global narrative of gender equality and women empowerment (SDG #5).
The institution offers 30 Undergraduate, Graduate and Doctoral programs provided across six schools: Chandaria School of Business, School of Communication, Cinematic and Creative Arts, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, School of Science and Technology and School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension.
The core values that have driven USIU-Africa throughout its 52 years of exceptional academics are lifelong-learning, integrity, innovativeness, social responsibility and academic freedom.
An institution of higher learning that churns out well-rounded individuals who have perfected both theory and practical knowledge, USIU-Africa is renowned for having a wide range of successful alumni thriving in different careers both in Kenya and abroad.
Professor Margee Ensign was appointed Vice Chancellor (VC) of USIU-Africa in September 2021. Having previously served as President of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, one of the US’ oldest and most distinguished universities, Prof Ensign continues to bring forth innovative programs in global education.
With a commendable faculty to student ratio of 1 to 33, USIU-Africa students are ensured personalised attention from their lecturers, securing their chances of becoming high achievers and future leaders. Another admirable characteristic is that USIU-Africa has the highest percentage of faculty in Kenya with doctoral degrees. The lecturers are continuously refining their teaching skills through workshops, research, scholarly conferences, and publications. Many of them have presented papers at conferences all over the globe; including the UK, USA, Australia, Tanzania, South Africa, India, and France. This helps to boost the quality of education afforded to the students (SDG #4).
USIU-Africa has invested in state-of-the-art infrastructure that confers the students an exciting, futuristic and wholesome learning experience. Some of these facilities include: firstrate classrooms equipped with e-learning technology; an auditorium which holds up to 500 persons, a contemporary Library and Information Center; a cafeteria; the Freida Brown Student Center that incorporates a health centre, counselling centre, recreational centre, training kitchens, two restaurants, student council body offices and a swimming pool. Additionally, the university holds an on-campus student hostel that hosts many of the international students, helping them ‘feel at home’ especially in their first year.
A Unique Selling Proposition (UPS) offered by USIU-Africa is a flexible class schedule which provides hybrid options of both online learning and/or physical classes. This affords students the ability to work part-time jobs, discover and enhance their individual talents and socialise with peers outside of the classroom. This works to improve the students’ general productivity, in preparation for the outside world of work.
With a vibrant student exchange program, USIU-Africa students acquire global exposure, learn international work ethics and experience enriched learning opportunities. Their world-view and multicultural perspectives are broadened.
In 2020, USIU-Africa partnered with the Mastercard Foundation in its Global Scholars Program. The program offers first-time undergraduate, degree-seeking academically talented youth from Africa facing financial, gender, displacement or disability constraints an opportunity to access the university’s top-notch education. This is in line with both SDG #5 and SDG #10. By completion of their studies, scholars are required to lead changes in their communities and contribute to meaningful transformation across the continent, having been equipped with internationally recognized and locally applicable qualifications, promoting global economic development (SDG #8).
To foster environmental consciousness among students, corresponding to SDG #13 and #15, USIU-Africa charges a fine of Ksh 2,000 to anyone who pollutes by way of littering. Additionally, the university sells branded safe multi-use bottles to discourage single-use plastics on the compound.
Within the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension, USIU-Africa offers the Women Economic Empowerment Program. The program serves to coach women to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in the private and public sectors, thus enhancing their economic empowerment and contributing to the overall good of the society. Launched on the 11th of January 2023, the initiative covers important dimensions in developing and managing a successful business, including: building business enterprises, environment and business alignment, implementing effective business processes, managing business productivity and creating powerful networks.
In support of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), young and established entrepreneurs & innovators, and corporate leaders, USIU-Africa has created the Launchpad Masterclass. This is an immersive and transformative one-year evidence-based program designed to incubate ideas through an Outcome-Driven Innovation strategy and process by inspiring confidence, fueling growth ambitions and seizing new opportunities by establishing high-growth enterprises. Participants in the program are trained to become astute entrepreneurs-cum-business model innovators.
Priding itself on being a multinational institute of higher learning, USIU-Africa fosters learners’ minds, affording them exceptional global experiences with the primary aim of producing sustainability-driven, thought leaders for the betterment of the world: a truly socially responsible corporation.
ST. AUSTIN’S ACADEMY
In 1970, Academic Services Limited (ASL) founded St. Austin’s Academy (SAA) as part of a programme to establish centres of academic excellence in Kenya.
SAA, as the school has come to be known, is situated in a serene, green compound in Lavington, Nairobi. It was originally established with the vision to break the then segregated educational system, and offer a genuinely integrated programme across the social strata. Since its inception, the vision has morphed into providing a values-based programme to prepare students for the uncertain and global world of work.
Offering education from pre-primary all the way to upper secondary, SAA remains consistent in providing the highest standards of intellectual growth, development of students’ social and moral values as well as preparing young learners for global education and future careers.
According to the SAA Principal, Simba Song’e, every child is a unique individual who has a special gift to bring to the world. SAA’s role is therefore to nurture every child to realise their full potential. In the rapidly changing global environment, students require life skills to cope with life challenges, and SAA provides precisely this.
With a first-class teaching faculty that offers a stimulating delivery of SAA’s British National Curriculum, the Academy is proud and pleased to report that in the Class of 2022, 50 percent of students scored between A* and B, and 100 percent transitioned to various universities across the globe to pursue different degree programmes.
Before sitting for their final exams, SAA students regularly go on field trips, organised by the school, to various universities around Kenya. This undoubtedly invigorates the students’ minds, helping generate ideas on the kind of higher learning institutions they would prefer to attend, whether local or international, as well as what careers they would want to pursue.
Co-curricular activities, a pioneer ingredient to every student’s development, are also offered at SAA. These activities include competitive swimming, music, a variety of games facilitated by the lush, green playing fields, basketball facilitated by a state-of-the-art recently revamped basketball court, and visual arts such as drawing and painting.
More than 30 nationalities are represented in SAA’s student body, a true ambassador of diversity and inclusion. This encourages students to learn in an atmosphere of both tolerance and awareness of different cultures.
Far from operating as an institution of academic distinction, SAA strives to instill a sense of sustainability to the students in terms of the environment and giving back to the community; deeming the institution a socially responsible citizen.
For instance, in 2021, SAA was chosen as the only school in Kenya to represent the 26th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26). The Academy worked on a team project that was presented to other countries over the Zoom platform. The team was made up of students from Year 9 to 11. There were 12 different schools from various countries participating. The project focused on problems causing food insecurity in Kenya, such as the 2021 locust invasion; high carbon emissions and deforestation, which only further exacerbate climate-induced global warming. Enabling students to research and have international mind-stimulating conversations around climate change serves to grow them as environmentally-conscious future leaders.
SAA affords students the chance to participate in Model United Nations (MUN), an educational simulation and/or academic competition in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. It serves to teach participants speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities. The conference engages students, allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of current global issues.
SAA released its 2022 Sustainability and Sustainable Living Report covering its activities around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The report indicates the Academy’s devotion to at least 7 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In partnership with the World Fair Trade Organisation (WTFO), both students and faculty members had a walk and tree-planting activity held in Karura Forest, chanting the words, “Buy Africa, Build Local.” With branded T-shirts coupled with the chant, the walk drew attention to other walkers, inspiring them to do better.
In June 2022, the school, led by the principal, Simba Song’e, took a team of students and a few teachers to do community service in a school in Kitui, by renovating classrooms. The activity not only led to a restored learning facility, but served to build empathy, thus emotional intelligence, a sense of community, and bridge the social class gap among students.
All of SAA’s food is locally sourced, therefore has a low carbon footprint. The institution is filled with posters on conserving energy, advising both students and staff to switch off lights when not in use. The school also encourages the use of glass containers and/or multi-use bisphenol-A (BPA) free plastics, to reduce single-use plastics.
SAA holds multiple student group discussions on environmental care, using social media as a tool to raise awareness to a larger audience. Additionally, climate change protests are occasionally held around the surrounding neighbourhood.
Recognising that growing up as a teenager is many-a-time mentally draining, with so much influence around, SAA has developed a mentorship school-held program. Students are allowed to talk in small intimate groups with teachers, peer mentors and each other. In fact, according to the students, SAA is a calm, safe and responsive institution. It has built a reputation in the Nairobi Community as the ‘Listening School’. The mentorship program allows the students to ask questions, get advice, or speak their minds about whatever challenges they may be facing, whether in school or outside, in a safe, non-judgmental and confidential environment. In this way, the learners make more informed decisions on things currently going on in their lives, or receive comfort and support from peers and mentors. The program is beneficial to all parties: providing role models for students in a more intimate way, as well as serving as an opportunity for the personal development of peer mentors.
SAA is proudly a familial institution, promoting equality and building future service-first leaders. The school maintains a symbiotic triangle model of effective communication, with each pillar (parents, teachers and students) geared towards supporting each other.
As the esteemed St. Austin’s Academy forges on along the journey of providing quality, all-rounded education, it promises to do so with sustainability in all matters at the forefront. SAA is guided in all this by its motto, ‘With A Passion For Excellence’.
CROWN PAINTS PLC
As the Business Monthly EA team sat down in readiness to interview Crown Paints PLC Group CEO Dr Rakesh Rao, we were delighted to find out that he serves as Board Chairman of The Art of Living, an educational and humanitarian foundation engaged in stress-management and service initiatives.
“The tongue has no bone, but it can break and still build many,” Dr Rao states, as he explains the need to not only connect people, dignifying their work in the process, but also to give ownership by delegation: vital ingredients in the development of a successful leader.
It is with this mentality that Dr Rakesh has been able to grow Crown Paints into the people-first, planet-focused and extremely profitable company it is today, having joined the group in 2005. In charge of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, Dr Rao steers the strategic direction of Crown Paints, including new product optimization and market share growth.
While most CEOs would begin by discussing the financial aspect of their businesses, Dr Rakesh immediately delves into the work he does for the painters- a core driver of Crown Paints’ business. From specialised training, to the provision of smart equipment, to their individual welfare, Dr Rao has created a painters fraternity.
For instance, Crown Paints has invested in an array of smart painting tools that increase efficiency and quality. Instead of the traditional paint brush, devices like the airless spray gun, jet sprayer and automatic paint roller are utilised, on both large and small surfaces. These tools are portable, easy-to-use and result in an even finish. Intensive training programs have been initiated to guide painters on the accurate use of this smart equipment. The tools enable the painters to cover more surface areas than they normally would, leading to meeting deadlines and increasing productivity all-round.
What’s more, Crown Paints has instituted a Painters’ Loyalty Program dubbed ‘Paka Rangi, Pata Pesa’, that operates as a SACCO, to help painters save for both their individual and familial needs. The program includes an online points system, where points are digitally earned and exchanged for foodstuff (in partnership with Naivas Supermarkets) as well as being used to pay towards utility bills such as electricity. The loyalty program is instrumental in motivating the painters as they work, giving them peace of mind and contributing to their personal development.
Crown Paints maintains a conducive and collegial working environment, where all employees are made to feel as equals while being part of a team with structured leadership. Dr Rakesh goes on to mention that during company meetings, everyone’s opinion is taken into consideration, giving a true sense of ownership, including in its successes. “Prosperity of the organisation is dependent on prosperity of the workforce,” he adds.
In favour of gender, diversity and inclusivity, women constitute over 60% of the nearly 1,200 direct employees, including senior management, distributed all over the region.
Through his leadership model of coaching, mentoring and empowering the workforce, Dr Rakesh is fondly referred to as the ‘Father of the Company’. Employees are consulted in the decision-making process, including business development as well as in discussion of issues on their welfare. Dr Rao goes on to explain that the necessary resources are released to the staff, in order to achieve set goals. Additionally, appropriate delegation is accorded to each employee, depending on the levels of their responsibility.
As part of its agenda on customer-obsession and modernisation, Crown Paints has established a new facility located in Parklands, Nairobi. The facility includes a call centre with the objective of handling clients’ requirements, a showroom for new product display, and a state-of-the-art warehouse. The top floor of the facility constitutes a contemporary open-plan office space for stakeholders such as architects and engineers. These working stations are free, demonstrating that Crown Paints takes great care of its stakeholders. The facility is considered the largest paint company corporate office in Eastern Africa.
Crown Paints has embraced a green initiative, both in terms of the company operations as well as the manufacture of products. The entire firm operates on a solar energy system, using only solar-powered LED bulbs for lighting. Water harvesting is a regular practice at the company. Crown Paints produces lead-free, non-volatile organic chemical (non-VOC) paints that have no smell and are friendly to the environment.
A National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)-approved waste system (machinery-run) is utilised to get rid of any unused paints, staying true to the United Nations 15th Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG #15).
Dr Rao describes Crown Paints as a lifestyle product. From different aesthetically-pleasing finishes, such as textile, matte and metallic, to durability, the paints are of top-notch quality and appeal. Established in 1958, Crown Paints has an impressive 65% market share. Today, the paint company is valued at $3.5 billion, with an annual turnover of $90 million. Since taking up the helm in 2005, Dr Rao has increased annual sales revenue from $10 million to $100 million. He has overseen the entry of Crown Paints in Uganda under the name Regal Paints, and as Crown Paints in Tanzania and Rwanda.
Over the last 18 years, Dr Rakesh has amplified Crown Paints production capacity from 5 million litres to 45 million litres. One of the ways he has achieved this is by propelling 17 new products into the market. Technologically, Dr Rao launched the first ever digital platforms for home decor in East Africa, including mobile applications such as the Crown Colour App.
Having started at Mitsubishi, a Japanese company, Dr Rakesh was inspired by the people-centric Japanese culture. “A true leader is measured by how they treat their staff: to encourage, to inspire and in turn, to make them feel honoured,” he states. A fair and humble leader, Dr Rakesh listens to his employees’ concerns and often jointly finds solutions to problems.
He is a hands-on man, constantly going on the ground to review how Crown Paints products are moving: what’s doing well versus what’s not doing so well. “It’s important to do work on the ground, see what’s really happening,” he adds.
Dr Rao is a proud father of two sons, and is passionate about his parenting role. He is a 17 handicap golfer, and enjoys the game as a form of networking and serves as a stress reliever. From the peace of mind Dr Rao derives by being pleasant, coupled with his passion for reciprocity in the workplace, Crown Paints has positioned itself as a top socially responsible corporate and undisputed premium brand.
NATION MEDIA GROUP
The Nation Media Group (NMG) was founded in 1959 by the esteemed Aga Khan on the underpinning of a set of core values whose principal theme was and still is to promote independent voices, diversity and freedom of expression.
Today, NMG is a mover and shaker in matters of media and entertainment. With businesses in television networks, film and TV entertainment, NMG uses its industry-leading operating scale and brands to create, package and deliver high-quality content on a multi-platform basis.
The largest independent media house in East and Central Africa, NMG attracts and serves unique audiences in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
As a revered brand, NMG is committed to generating and creating content that informs, educates and entertains its consumers across the different platforms, keeping in mind the changing needs and trends in the industry. To the media giant, nothing matters more in its journey than the integrity, transparency and balance in journalism that it has publicly committed itself to. NMG journalism aims to positively transform the society it serves, by influencing social, economic and political progress.
Financial expert Stephen Gitagama sits as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Group. He serves as Director of the Group’s subsidiary companies, and is a member of the Strategy & Investments, Nominations & Governance, and Editorial committees. NMG holds a proud digital footprint of over 51 million users, with a presence on social media platforms including Facebook (19.4 million users), Twitter (15.3 million users), Instagram (3.6 million users), Youtube (4.6 million users) and the Group’s website (8.1 million users).
By the end of 2021, NMG posted an impressive turnover of Ksh 7.6 billion and a profit before tax of Ksh 730 million. In line with the global obligation for corporations to align themselves against environmental, social and governance protocols (ESG), NMG is on a journey of examining its impact on society across ESG while partnering with like-minded institutions to drive this agenda.
NMG provides platforms to convene critical discussions and disseminate information to enable businesses in Kenya, the region and the continent to operate with purpose and adopt sustainable business practices. It is this resolve that drove NMG to be a member of the United Nations Global Compact Network (UNGC) Kenya.
NMG is committed to driving sustainable practices within its operations to deal with societal issues while also galvanising support from other corporates by driving awareness and adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) across its print, digital and broadcast platforms.
Towards the achievement of Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG #3), NMG contributes through the circulation of information via its various platforms, with niche products. These products include: Healthy Nation, the company’s weekly newspaper pull out, and Healthy Diary, a weekly television (TV) show aimed at creating awareness around health issues.
The organisation runs periodic campaigns, such as the Fibroids Awareness Campaign that was driven by the Editorial team at Daily Monitor in Uganda. The team at Monitor Publications Limited (MPL) in Kampala, Uganda also conducted a fundraising drive in October 2021, in partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) to raise money for child cancer treatment.
With regard to promoting Quality Education (SDG #4), the Group runs the Newspapers in Education (NiE) program. The core objective of NiE is to grow the reading and retention of content in the digital age, through the provision of English and Kiswahili language newspapers to schools to give students access to diverse daily content. Currently, 183 schools are subscribed to the program, receiving a total of 107,632 copies of the Daily Nation and the Taifa Leo each school week. The allocation of these newspapers in secondary schools has served to develop the languages among the students and drive their average grade from C-plain to B-plain in the last academic year.
In 2021, NMG in partnership with Bata Shoe Company PLC, Ramrod Tanks Limited, Giants of Nairobi Twiga & Shree Vanik contributed over Ksh 10 million worth of items to primary schools and children’s homes in Nairobi, Kwale, Mombasa, Nakuru and Eldoret counties, impacting over 5,800 pupils.
To advance a sense of community, while aiding the fight against hunger (SDG #2, Zero Hunger), the women of Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) in Tanzania celebrated International Women’s Day by visiting the Yoco Orphanage. The ladies donated clothing and food items, as well as spent time with the children at the centre.
During the 2022 International Women’s Day, NMG CEO Stephen Gitagama committed to growing female representation in the workplace to 50 percent from the current 30 percent. The event, officiated by Chief Justice (CJ) Martha Koome and attended by various corporate female leaders, called for efforts to remove barriers that hinder women from socio-economic growth. NTV leads with the number of female employees in NMG at 45 percent, while women constitute 38 percent of the senior management, one percent above the national average. Gitagama’s pledge to improve the gender parity of the organisation is in tune with SDG #5, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.
Over the years, NMG has taken measures to maximise its energy efficiency, with a hybrid of clean energy and traditional sources utilised to drive a sustainable mix of power sources. This has seen a 14.6 percent reduction in energy used, which has in turn resulted in a 7.9 percent decrease in the total electricity bills at the printing plant since 2019. In this regard, the NMG printing plant has put systems in place to monitor newsprint consumption, waste generation and control contaminated press waste such as inks, oils and water, in a bid to reduce the environmental impact from its production processes. This is line with SDG #7, Affordable and Clean Energy, as well as SDG #12, Responsible Consumption and Production.
Corresponding to SDG #6, Clean Water and Sanitation, NMG has entered into a partnership with Aquavita Limited, an East African company that provides eco-friendly, safe and cost-effective drinking water to workplaces through sustainable Point of Use Water Dispensers. This partnership has contributed to the organisation’s journey to reduce its environmental footprint by decreasing its use of plastic by over 90,000 disposable cups in 2021, also in accordance with SDG #15, Life on Land.
The 2021 World Environment Day, marked on 5th June, was themed “Ecosystem Restoration”, sought to engage and drive action by Governments, businesses and citizens to address environmental issues, corresponding to both SDG #13, Climate Action, and SDG #15. To mark the day, NMG hosted key Government officials, partners and members of staff at a ceremony at its Printing Plant, where the organisation planted trees in an effort to play its role in driving the 10 percent forest cover in Kenya. NMG also conducted tree planting activities at Kipkorosyo Primary School and Mafisini Primary School to entrench environmental sustainability among children.
In terms of corporate governance, NMG is in compliance with the provisions of the Capital Markets Act- Code of Corporate Governance Practices for Issuers of Securities to the Public, 2015. Over one third of the Board of Directors are independent and non-executive directors.
Nation Media Group remains steadfast in the conviction of its goal to fundamentally improve the quality of people’s lives and to contribute to a sustainable world through its business, hence positioning itself as the Media of Africa, for Africa.
TAKAFUL INSURANCE OF AFRICA
By Sumayya Hassan, Ceo – Tia
Environmental responsibility is part of Takaful Insurance of Africa’s (TIA’s) strategy in stepping towards a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG)-oriented corporate outlook. TIA has embraced many Go-Green initiatives to lessen our environmental impact, as part of our efforts to contribute to environmental protection and climate resilience. Through these programs, we have implemented and continue to develop and adapt to environmentally responsible company practices and behaviours. We offer climate resilience products to pastoralists in the Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASALs). We are digitising our internal operations in our journey to being a largely paperless operation by the end of 2023. We have adopted a policy for the management of e-waste, and all of our electronic trash is recycled and/or disposed of responsibly.
We have partnered with a virtual telehealth company that provides participants with access to affordable, accessible round-the-clock medical care eliminating the need to travel to hospitals. Virtual telehealth services are a contributor to the global effort to achieve Net Zero emissions, while also benefiting the environment from the decreased use of paper to record prescriptions and other information. We have implemented energy efficient practices such as the use of an automatic switchover to turn off data centre cooling system, which significantly reduces energy consumption, and reliance on electricity.
We are educating staff members about the benefits of environmentally friendly responsible living options, such as promoting the usage of non-disposable packaging and utensils rather than single-use plastic alternatives. This corresponds to SDG #14 (Life Below Water) as well as SDG #15 (Life on Land).
Our company’s tagline, ‘A Bond Beyond Insurance’, is aligned with our social impact strategy. In order to assist the SDG #8 (Decent work and economic growth) and SDG #13 (Climate Action), we chose to give priority to our participants in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) of Kenya: the target users for whom we have been delivering the Index-Based Livestock Takaful (IBLT) product. We have been supporting the local communities in these areas with food, water and livestock feed during a time of extreme hardship brought on by the drought that is still wreaking havoc in these areas today.
Our Social Takaful program contributes to achieving SDG #1 (No Poverty) SDG #4 (Quality Education), SDG #5 (Gender Equality) and SDG #8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). We are committed to strengthening our efforts as we continue to target our next beneficiary groups; the vulnerable in our community such as the widows and orphans, unemployed youth and people with disabilities (PwD) who live within Nairobi’s informal settlements. The emphasis will be on basic education, business education, skill sharing, mentorship and economic empowerment initiatives.
We remain keenly focused on the customer journey and are constantly learning, unlearning and finding ways to improve and do better. How we serve our customers, shareholders, employees and the general public must be a source of confidence in the integrity of our brand, which is the foundation of our solid reputation. This trust is founded on us keeping our word in line with our Shari’ah principles which inform our processes, our values and our goals.
The TIA Code of Conduct encompasses our corporate culture. The Code emphasizes that fairness towards customers and transparent communication about our products and services, including their limitations, maximizes our chances to earn our customers’ trust. This is expressed through our commitment to standardising processes and controls for communication, claims management, monitoring and review, and regularly updating the same to reflect regulatory developments.
The TIA standard for customer protection lays out a set of fundamental principles to guarantee fairness, transparency, information and value to customers. These principles include onboarding documentation, surplus payments, commissions, remuneration, product oversight and governance activities. It also describes the specific sales compliance risks that our business segments face.
There is a greater risk of data leaks and security breaches when manual processes are replaced with digital ones. Data security is extremely important to TIA, and we are constantly taking steps toward reducing the risks associated with data management and security. Our digital infrastructure is powered by robust technologies in order to protect our participant’s data safety, and the same is required from our third party service providers, contractors and partners.
TIA, under my leadership, recognizes that it is a part of the larger Kenyan community. Being a responsible corporate entity means that we are cognizant of our impact on society and the environment and thus we continue to take steps to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive contributions by adhering to the law and promoting ethical standards in our business practices.
MP SHAH HOSPITAL
In 1928, the venerable Meghraj Group established a nursing home in Parklands, Nairobi, with the mission of alleviating human suffering and the vision of creating a haven for the ill to experience quality care, compassionate service and inclusivity. In 1956, MP Shah Hospital was born from the nursing home’s transition to a fully-fledged multi-disciplinary facility covering every segment of healthcare. Considered one of the best private hospitals in Kenya, MP Shah Hospital has cemented its position as a premier healthcare facility, providing specialist-level care and cutting-edge services. Some of these include: kidney transplants, congenital heart surgeries, cochlear implantation and a world-class infectious disease and travel medicine centre. The hospital continues to expand its portfolio both in therapeutic and diagnostic areas, developing centres of excellence in cardiovascular disease, oncology, maternal & neonatal care and ambulatory services.
Operating under the umbrella of the Social Service League (a charitable institution that lives by the motto of ‘Service before Self’) MP Shah Hospital is committed to contributing towards economic and social development. This goes hand-in-hand with improving the surrounding community’s quality of life.
In 2019, by planting a simple tree in the hospital garden, MP Shah Hospital initiated the Green365 strategy in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). In 2020, the hospital was privileged to become a signatory to the UN Global Compact (UNGC). As part of the theme to be green throughout the year, the institution introduced an environmental impact assessment audit, and is now one of the few hospitals in Kenya that is green accredited.
In line with the Green365 strategy, MP Shah Hospital has adopted good practices in water conservation (SDG #6), renewable energy (SDG #7) and waste management (SDG #12). This is with the aim of increasing sustainability of healthcare hubs as well as localising value chains in support of healthcare development. For example, MP Shah Hospital has its own water harvesting plant and two in-house oxygen generating plants.
Additionally, in 2022, MP Shah Hospital partnered with Africa Collect Textiles (ACT), a social impact enterprise that collects used textiles and footwear for reuse and recycling in Africa. The collaboration aims to reduce pollution caused by the dumping and burning of used hospital textiles. After receiving the ACT collection bin, Dr Toseef Din, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the premier facility noted that it is the hospital’s responsibility to fight contamination and unsustainable resources, which exacerbate ill-health among people. “Environmental stewardship is a shared responsibility in protecting the environment and minimising the impact of our daily decisions. The healthcare sector can play a leading role in reducing the carbon footprint and contribute to environmental sustainability,” she added.
This year, the hospital is targeting the attainment of a paperless status with the introduction of an automatic document managing information system.
MP Shah Hospital has developed numerous outreach programs that cut across various medical disciplines. For instance, the hospital regularly conducts blood donation drives as well as free medical camps.
A proud member of the International Health Federation (IHF), MP Shah Hospital continuously creates effective partnerships with key stakeholders in a bid to collectively identify sources of corporate and foundation support. For example, the institution has a standing partnership with the Healing Little Hearts team (HLH), an international charity that treats children with congenital heart diseases. Over nine different missions, the team has screened over 1,000 disadvantaged children who require operations and has performed over 200 interventional and open-heart procedures.
MP Shah Hospital admits that women, in all their diversity, bring fundamental contributions to governance and democratic spaces, however their input is rarely acknowledged. It is with this concern in mind that the hospital’s management takes every opportunity to recognize female staff of all levels, providing them with both encouragement and mentorship. The hospital is happy to report that the staff is 64 percent female, promoting UN SDG #5, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.
Mental health is a human right that must be respected regardless of religion, gender, culture, and socioeconomic status. This notion has been inculcated at MP Shah Hospital, noting that there has been a significant increase in the number of patients with mental health needs in the last two years. The hospital recently launched a mental health policy in collaboration with the hospital employee support group to ensure all the staff members are psychologically supported.
In 2018, MP Shah Hospital opened a satellite facility at the Village Market Mall, dubbed the Village Medical Centre, to allow patients more convenient access to medical services and care, as well as serve a wider array of patients. The facility provides services in Pharmacy, Radiology, Laboratory, Specialty Clinics, Dental and Daycare Theatres. In 2023, the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) clinic at Village Medical Centre was fully equipped with a state-of-the-art Telepak offering comprehensive endoscopy. A Telepak is a portable, intuitive, all-in-one device covering multiple endoscopic treatments as well as integrated recording and playback to illustrate findings and recommendations.
A firm believer in effective partnerships, the Village Medical Centre has partnered with Lions Eye Hospital, to provide a first-class eye facility, convenient for its high-end clientele. Dr Toseef Din, a finance expert, serves as CEO of MP Shah Hospital. She started as Head of Finance, then Chief of Operations before being promoted to her current position in 2019. During a recent interview with the Business Monthly EA team, she remarked, “My journey, I feel, is just getting more and more interesting. I look forward to making a valuable difference in my profession, my family, my community and my mind.” Dr Toseef has a very high degree of God consciousness, with faith being an extremely strong guiding principle of her every action. “I believe that we treat, but healing comes from the Almighty,” she states. Dr Toseef goes on to explain that she is a strong advocate of spirituality and faith being an essential part of patient well-being, as well as for staff, as a foundation of their daily work. “I have learnt that one must delegate and empower others around them. One must encourage those around them to develop themselves. We must work smart, not just hard. Do what you are good at and allow experts in other fields to advise you,” she concludes.
Dr Toseef’s thought leadership is complimented and supported by MP Shah Hospital’s able board, chaired by Dr Manoj Shah: a leading businessman and philanthropist, of global repute and standing. The board ensures that MP Shah Hospital remains committed to its motto: A Legacy of Care.
MP Shah Hospital’s devotion to offering firstrate healthcare services, maintaining sustainability and being socially responsible is clearly portrayed in its day-to-day interactions.
DAVIS & SHIRTLIFF
Looking back at 2022, it is striking how much the world is enduring. 45 million people in 43 nations globally continue to face the risk of starvation. Extreme weather conditions are more common as global temperatures soar, with the Horn of Africa experiencing an unprecedented drought: the worst in over 40 years. What’s more, 1 in 10 people on earth lack access to clean water.
Davis & Shirtliff is heavily invested in developing appropriate technologies with a focus on renewable energy that can provide affordable and enduring solutions to improve sustainable access to clean water. This leader in water and energy solutions has committed to make a substantial contribution to alleviate the drought crisis that is ravaging Africa.
Although some progress on the provision of water has been achieved in Kenya, a staggering 19 million people lack access to at least safe drinking water. Sustainable management of water resources and access to safe water and sanitation, corresponding to the United Nations 6th Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG #6), are essential for unlocking economic growth and productivity, and providing leverage for existing investments in health and education.
Since its inception in 2018, the Davis & Shirtliff Improving Lives initiative has focused primarily on life-changing projects that increase access to water using sustainable renewable energy. The initiative has also undertaken water treatment projects, ensuring that communities not only have access to water, but to clean water that is safe for consumption.
In line with SDG #7, Affordable and Clean Energy, the initiative works with institutions to increase access to renewable energy by installing solar powered lighting systems in public schools, other children’s institutions and extends this to other marginalised populations. Through the initiative, Davis & Shirtliff is focused on providing access to safe water that can transform communities, contributing to improved health (SDG #3) and education (SDG #4), and creating opportunities for revenue generating activities.
Founded in 1946 in Kenya, Davis & Shirtliff is dedicated to protecting the environment and mitigating against any adverse environmental impact from its activities. With a focus on community welfare, the group is devoted to improving the lives of disadvantaged peoples by harnessing resources to deliver a better and sustainable environment; partnering with like-minded organisations, and helping solve some of the most pressing community challenges.
In its 2022 corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, the firm reported that its projects for the year had resulted in a massive carbon footprint reduction, an achievement the company celebrates with pride. Davis & Shirtliff solar installations have been a great success, using its Dayliff solar pumping kits to replace manually operated and inherently unreliable handpumps.
In 2018 through the Improving Lives Programme, 64 projects were completed. This benefited close to 50,000 people, a number that grew in 2019 to 91 projects completed, improving close to 94,000 lives. At the end of 2020, and at the height of COVID-19, the programme ramped up its activities, completing 140 projects, impacting close to 500,000 lives. 2021 and 2022 were equally busy years, with 143 and 107 projects being completed respectively. This brings the total number of completed projects to 545 as at the end of 2022, with over one million lives impacted.
The social effects of these completed projects sponsored by Davis & Shirtliff include: improved school attendance leading to better grades during national examinations, improved health as a result of less water-borne diseases and increased economic productivity as a result of less time spent walking long distances in search of water.
Another example is in Marsabit County where the Improving Lives initiative has increased access to water for Barambate Community in North Horr, a region where drought has devastated communities and livelihoods. The community now has access to running water, purified by a Dayliff reverse osmosis system that runs on solar power, therefore ensuring operational longevity and zero running costs.
Looking ahead to 2023, the initiative is committed to working with the government-led Pamoja Project to rehabilitate boreholes in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) counties of Kenya. The initiative will also ramp up its community irrigation efforts to tackle the rising cases of food insecurity in the region.
All in all, Davis & Shirtliff recognises that if the world is to prevail over the looming global water crisis, it will require great innovation and commitment from the private and public sectors alike, and from both the developing and the developed world. Davis & Shirtliff is rightfully playing its part through the Improving Lives social responsibility initiative.
In conformity with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), specifically SDG #9 focused on Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG #10 concerned with Reduced Inequality, as well as SDG #11 targeting Sustainable Cities and Communities, Technology Service Providers of Kenya’s (TESPOK) scope of work encompasses corporate social responsibility (CSR) as an integral part of its day-to-day operations.
In particular and of note, in a bid to SDG #10, TESPOK launched the inaugural Autism Half-Marathon on the 7th of October 2022. The marathon, a historic CSR milestone themed ‘Be a Hero: Accept, Understand and Love’, is tailored towards fundraising and rallying support for children living with Autism.
While addressing stakeholders during the launch, the company’s visionary CEO, Ms Asonga, noted that the now to be annual marathon is geared to augment Autism research towards determining the statistics on Autism cases across Kenya. “As part of its commitment to this cause, TESPOK will endeavour to spearhead this initiative to reduce the stigma, create more awareness and understanding on Autism across Kenya,” she said.
Fiona further notes that part of TESPOK’s CSR is to become a problem solver to all communities. “We aim to be an organisation that successfully balances the importance of achieving corporate objectives alongside the responsibility of contributing towards the development of communities around us. Therefore, hosting this marathon, it is totally in line with our objective of being a socially responsible entity that transforms the lives and livelihoods of Kenyan communities, besides further strengthening its relationship with its members,” she commented.
What’s more, Nairobi Women Representative, Esther Passaris, has pledged to partner with TESPOK towards the initiative of inclusive education in the county for the Autistic children. This is in line with SDG #4, Quality Education.
The marathon, first of its kind in Africa, was inspired by the troubling statistics presented by the Autism Society of Kenya (ASK), a parent-driven institution established in 2013. The ubiquity of Autism in Kenya is today rated higher than the global average, with one autistic child among every 25 children. However, this data is based on a sample; the actual number of autistic individuals still remains unknown.
TESPOK’s campaign aims at putting in place modalities with affected stakeholders that will support a larger number of autistic children. By focusing on having affected stakeholders, including parents, represented in the organisation of the marathon, TESPOK is keen on ensuring a well-coordinated approach that benefits all affected children. This is intended to strengthen the support systems for autistic children by helping the larger community understand the need to care about the affected persons amongst us.
The race was held on November 27th 2022, at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi County. The marathon’s races included 21 KM men and women, 10 KM men and women, 5 KM and 2 KM for autistic children. The marathon attracted over 1,000 participants and 30 elite runners. The winners of the half marathon race earned Ksh 300,000, while the second and third-placed athletes went home with Ksh 150,000 and Ksh75,000 respectively.
The Athletics Kenya Technical Director, George Kariuki, applauded TESPOK for choosing to take the proceeds to an autistic charity, adding that the issue has for a long time been swept under the carpet. The guest of honour at the marathon, Ferdinand Omanyala, spent time with the autistic children, appreciating and doing some bead work with them. Omanyala expressed interest in championing this cause for a while, so as to see some impact on the lives being touched. He stated, “This has been a learning point to expand my knowledge of autism.”
21 years ago, TESPOK launched Kenya’s first Internet Exchange Point (KIXP), leading to citizens enjoying more efficient internet speeds within the nation. Naturally, with more businesses moving towards the online realm, KIXP has vastly boosted digital economic development. TESPOK, through the services of the KIXP, has significantly contributed towards making Kenya an ICT hub of the East African region.
In 2018, TESPOK partnered with the East Africa Community (EAC) and the African Union Commission (AUC) to help with the expansion of cross-border interconnection regulations. This has been extremely advantageous to operators who serve customers across borders. Furthermore, the expansion has allowed even more operators to be able to serve their customers through the respective internet exchange points across countries, with the recognition of existing licences of their countries of origin.
TESPOK is actively partaking in synchronising the distribution of ICT infrastructure in conjunction with other vital infrastructure such as the Nairobi Expressway. This has heavily contributed in reduction of downtime and preventing destruction of ICT infrastructure during the deployment of other critical utilities such as power.
The Digital Economy Blueprint, developed by a team that TESPOK was a major player in, was launched at the Transform Africa (Rwanda) in 2019. The document serves as a template to help African countries adapt to the digital economy and in turn, discover new economic possibilities created by future industries and markets.
TESPOK participated in setting up the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act in 2016 to 2018. The major objective of the Act is to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems, programs and data. In addition, the Act facilitates the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution and punishment of cyber-criminal activity.
TESPOK is a specialist, non-profit organisation representing the interests of technology service providers in Kenya. Founded in 1999, the strength of the institution is based on its ability to be accurately representative of the Kenyan industry as a whole. Steered by the discerning Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) specialist Ms Fiona Asonga as CEO, TESPOK is geared towards a vision of ICT growth and development in the country, while doing good in the community.
As TESPOK continues to reach out to the global community concerning matters of ICT growth, development and innovation, the organisation remains true to being an ambassador of corporate social responsibility.
KENYA PIPELINE COMPANY
The Economic Survey 2022 curated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that the total volume of petroleum products imported into Kenya rose to 6.4 million tonnes in 2021, a 12 percent jump from 2020. Petroleum demand has been growing robustly as the economy emerges from the pandemic-induced slowdown. The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) is at the heart of this growth.
KPC provides cost effective, efficient and safe transportation of petroleum products nationwide through its pipeline system, which currently consists of a network of 1,792 km of pipelines running from Mombasa through Nairobi to the Western Kenya towns of Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu.
With a rich heritage dating back to 1973, KPC has in the last five decades emerged as one of the most critical players and enablers in the energy sector. The firm operates world class petroleum product storage facilities at its depots located in Nairobi and the major towns of Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu.
The state-owned enterprise (SOE) is a vital contributor to energy security and meets petroleum demand both in Kenya and her neighbouring countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Northern Tanzania.
Through its principal business of transporting and storing refined petroleum products, KPC achieved revenues of Sh 26 billion in the year ended June 30th, 2020. Its profit before tax was Sh 6.1billion for the period while its total asset base stood at Sh 143 billion, making it one of the most financially stable SOEs in Kenya.
In 2016, the company launched the KPC Foundation, constituting the benevolent arm of the SOE. The Foundation has and continues to enable the development and implementation of a powerful Corporate Social Investment (CSI) policy, leading to transformative impacts in various sectors. These include: education, special groups (persons with disabilities (PWD), women & children) health, water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH), sports and environmental conservation.
In terms of education, the KPC Foundation has supported the construction of over 38 buildings including laboratories, classrooms, administration blocks, dormitories and ablution blocks in schools across the country. Overall, KPC has invested over Sh 200 million to improve learning infrastructure for thousands of learners across the country. The company estimates that these interventions within the education sector have positively impacted over 12,000 beneficiaries.
KPC’s impact on the special groups sector is the flagship programme of the Foundation’s CSI strategy. Seven years ago, the KPC Foundation initiated the Inuka Scholarship Programme with the intention to enable students with disabilities access to secondary level education, assisting them to overcome their physical limitations and become fully integrated community members. Since the programme’s formation, KPC has benefited over 470 underprivileged and disabled children from all 47 counties in Kenya. The company sponsors a boy and a girl from each county, with a yearly adoption of 94 students.
Successful projects that the Foundation has undertaken under healthcare comprise of an annual partnership with the Mater Heart Run through a monetary donation of Sh 1 million, gifting of an ICU bed to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) worth Sh 4.5 million and aid towards the construction of a fully equipped maternity wing at Lunga Lunga Health Center in Kwale County to the tune of Sh 20 million. Additionally, the Foundation has sponsored free medical camps in Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa, and Nyeri.
In sum, across all its CSI investments over the past 5 years, KPC has committed close to Sh 600 million in community development initiatives across all Kenyan counties. Along the lines of WASH projects, the KPC Foundation has constructed boreholes at Akithi Girls Secondary School, Okarkar, Kiboko Maasai Ranches, Thange and Enoretet regions. On top of that, it has donated 46 water tanks to Muthurwa market and schools around the area.
Environmentally, KPC is not being left behind in terms of reforestation. The firm has planted over 20,000 seedlings in collaboration with schools and communities. Recently, KPC planted over 100,000 trees in Jomvu Kuu to mark the Customer Service Week 2022. The company has fenced Mt Kenya Forest to mitigate human and animal conflict, bringing the total number of trees planted in 2022 to over 300,000 seedlings covering over 20 hectares.
KPC recognizes that it’s not enough to do good, but it’s also necessary to mitigate risks to communities when accidents occur during oil transportation, as is sometimes the case in the oil and gas sector.
In the event of accidents, the company embarks on restoration of the affected communities to their original status. Some of the emergency cases supported by KPC include Koru in Western Kenya, where two houses were constructed for victims affected by the oil spill, donation of funds through Red Cross for construction of houses for the West Pokot landslide, and donation of foodstuff and water in Thange for victims affected by the oil spill there.
In a bid to reduce its carbon footprint and support sustainability, KPC is diversifying revenue streams. For instance, spearheaded by the Managing Director (MD), Dr Macharia Irungu, the corporation is venturing into providing internet connectivity for households and businesses through the first-rate fibre-optic cable launched in April 2022.
Companies that take corporate citizenship seriously like KPC improve their reputation and operational efficiency, while reducing their risk exposure and encouraging loyalty and innovation. Overall, they are viewed as companies of choice by investors, employees, customers, regulators and partners as a function of entrenched Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) principles; a core of KPC’s ever-maturing corporate repertoire.21
Coca-Cola has a strong legacy in East Africa. The company first established its operations in the region in the 1920s, with the opening of bottling plants in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Since then, Coca-Cola has become a major player in the East African beverage market, with a significant market share in the region’s industry.
Coca-Cola’s East and Central Africa Franchise covers 15 markets, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somaliland, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana and the Comoros & Mayotte islands. In these markets, Coca-Cola has 19 bottling partners. Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) operates in 10 countries and 9 independent bottlers spread across the region. Together with its bottling partners, Coca-Cola serves a community of close to 300 million people in East Africa.
In Ethiopia, one of the top markets for Coca-Cola in the region, the company’s bottling partner, CCBA, commissioned a new USD 100 million bottling plant in 2022. The new plant is set to unlock export opportunities, increase local production and generate over 500 jobs in the country.
Coca-Cola has an extensive portfolio of products in East Africa. It includes popular brands such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Schweppes, Water brands such as Keringet, Dasani, Rwenzori, Juice brands such as Minute Maid, and tea, to cater to the diverse taste preferences of consumers.
In 2021, CCBA Uganda launched Ades Nutri-Bushera – a delicious and nutritious plant-based beverage made from locally sourced millet. The launch is part of Coca-Cola’s larger strategy to grow sustainably by creating shared opportunities on its journey to becoming a Total Beverage Company. Ades is the global brand for Plant-Based Beverages for the Coca-Cola Company. It represents delicious throughout-the-day nutrition. Bushera is a traditional drink made in Ugandan households from millet and sorghum. It is traditionally brewed and consumed at weddings, child naming ceremonies and other local gatherings. In the case of Bushera, the millet is sourced from local farmers in Uganda.
When it comes to expanding business in Africa, one of the key components for success is having a talented workforce in place. Investing in local talent is one of the company’s key goals; from the moment Coca-Cola hires an employee, the company invests in their development to ultimately ensure this talent becomes part of the region’s skilled workforce. By investing in local talent, it not only benefits from having a workforce that understands the nuances of doing business in Africa, but also contributes to the overall economic development of the region. As one of the largest private sector employers in East Africa, Coca-Cola is directly responsible for providing jobs for approximately 10,000 employees. But the impact goes beyond just direct employment – the company’s operations also sustain livelihoods for over a million people working in auxiliary roles throughout the value chain, from distributors and wholesalers to kiosk and street vendors.
Coca-Cola boasts a dynamic and experienced team of professionals, led by Debra Mallowah, the Vice President of the East and Central Africa Franchise. As the leader of Coca-Cola in East Africa, Debra is responsible for the overall success of the business leading a diverse and multicultural team across the region. With a wealth of experience in various industries such as fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology, Debra is a highly accomplished leader with a deep understanding of customers and markets in sub-Saharan Africa. She is passionate about developing African talent and committed to social entrepreneurship and non-profit work in the region.
In 2022, Coca‑Cola and its bottling partners announced the launch of JAMII, our Africa-focused sustainability platform which houses the company’s existing and new sustainability initiatives. Through this signature platform, Coca‑Cola works to attract like-minded partners to help accelerate the on-the-ground impact of its initiatives. Through JAMII, Coca-Cola is committed to making a positive impact in the communities where it operates. Its initiatives focus on three key pillars including packaging waste management, water security and wealth: women and youth economic empowerment.
With regards to packaging waste management, in 2018, Coca-Cola launched World Without Waste (WWW) – a sustainable packaging initiative with the vision to help collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells by 2030. Through JAMII, Coca-Cola commits to driving the efforts of the WWW initiatives by focusing on partnerships with key actors and other relevant stakeholders within the circular economy ecosystem to achieve its targets. Coca-Cola has supported various polyethylene terephthalate (PET) collection and recycling initiatives across the region together with key partners like the PET Recycling Companies (PETCO), bottling partners and other like-minded development partners. Kenya has already seen a tremendous increase in the collection and recycling of PET bottles, from 867 tonnes in 2017 to 1,800 tonnes in 2018. Through PETCO and other implementing partners, Coca-Cola is targeting a collection of over 20,000 tonnes in 2023.
Water is not only the first ingredient in most of Coca-Cola’s beverages, but it’s also central to the long-term success of the business and the health of the communities it serves. Coca-Cola’s water strategy focuses on sustainable water security through local water replenishment, advocacy for smart water policies and responsible water use throughout its operations and among its communities. A good example is the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), a community water program for Africa supported by the global philanthropic arm of Coca-Cola: The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCF).
RAIN had set out to provide at least 6 million people with access to clean water by the year 2020. In Kenya, RAIN has supported the Nature Conservancy’s Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund through a grant worth Ksh 160 million from TCCF. The grant supports upstream water and soil conservation initiatives, which are critical to Nairobi’s water and power supplies. The Upper Tana River basin supplies 95 percent of the water for Nairobi’s 4 million residents, and provides half of Kenya’s hydropower output. This project aims to improve water service delivery and reliability for up to 600,000 individuals in Nairobi and provide skills development training for up to 16,000 people.
Coca-Cola promotes and generates entrepreneurship opportunities through the provision of improved access to soft skills training, networks, finance and markets. Earlier this year, TCCF and the Women in Africa Initiative (WIA) came together to support 20,000 African women entrepreneurs in Kenya, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire over the next three years through the “JAMII Femmes” Initiative. The initiative aims to increase the impact of African women entrepreneurs on the African economy, and support the creation of innovative solutions for sustainable development that will contribute to positive change in Africa by improving the quality of life for tens of thousands of people. In Kenya, JAMII Femmes will benefit 2000 women, 687 of whom are already enrolled and engaging in entrepreneurship training. The second cohort of 1300 women entrepreneurs are set to start their training in quarter 1 of 2023.
Coca-Cola’s century-long presence in East Africa has had a significant impact on the region’s economy and society. The company has established itself as a leading player in the beverage industry and has made a positive impact through its sustainability initiatives and community development projects. With a focus on building a talented workforce and investing in local communities, Coca-Cola is well-positioned for continued growth in the region.
On 23rd February 1905, lawyer Paul Harris called three friends to a meeting in Room 711 of the Unity Building on 127 North Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois (USA). What Paul had in mind was the formation of a club that would ignite fellowship among members of the business community in this large city. It was an idea that grew from his desire to find within Chicago the kind of friendly spirit that he knew in the small town where he had grown up.
The four businessmen didn’t decide then and there to call themselves a Rotary Club, but their get-together was in fact the initial meeting of the world’s first one. As they continued to meet, adding others to the group, they rotated the venue of their meetings among the member’s places of business, hence the name Rotary.
Since 1905, the ideals of Paul Harris and his friends have been accepted by people of practically all nationalities and political and religious beliefs. Today there are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 32,000 clubs, located in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world. Until the 1980s it was an organisation for men only, but since then women have been welcomed, and in Kenya they have entered not only in large numbers but have risen to positions of high leadership.
Rotary has continuously evolved, becoming an organisation that brings together businesspeople and professionals worldwide. They provide humanitarian service, and encourage high ethical standards in all vocations. Today, the prime focus of Rotary is derived from its six pillars: peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water and sanitation. maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development. Increasingly their projects have focused on sustainability, in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Goals, and diversity and inclusivity are also priorities.
Throughout Rotary’s history, basic principles have been developed to guide Rotarians in achieving their ideal of “service above self” while upholding high ethical standards. The Object of Rotary was first formulated in 1910, and adapted through the years as Rotary’s mission expanded. It provides a succinct definition of the organisation’s purpose as well as individual club members’ responsibilities. The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster:
● The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.
● High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.
● The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life.
● The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
Also observed by Rotarians worldwide in their business and professional lives is the Four-Way Test, which was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 in reflection of how he ran his own business. It has since been translated into more than 100 languages. It states that of the things Rotarians think, say or do, they ask:
● Is it the truth?
● Is it fair to all concerned?
● Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
● Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Grounded in the object of Rotary, the Avenues of Service are the foundation on which club activities are based, each with their own committee:
● Club Service: Focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club.
● Vocation Service: Encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practise high ethical standards.
● Community Service: Covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community.
● International Service: Encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the globe, and to promote world understanding and peace.
● Youth Service: Recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs such as Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Rotary Youth Exchange.
Here in Kenya, the Rotary Club of Nairobi (RCN) was established in 1930. The driving force behind it was Rotarian John Innes from Leeds, who had been inspired when Rotary’s Founder Father, Paul Harris, visited his club in England and encouraged him to take advantage of his next business trip to East Africa by initiating a first Rotary Club there. Since then this pioneering club has nurtured the founding of many other Rotary clubs around Kenya and beyond, while engaging in so many life-transforming community projects.
To promote the United Nations 4th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG #4), Basic Education and Literacy, the Rotary Club of Thika Road – one of over 40 Rotary Clubs in Nairobi alone and 143 in Kenya – recently handed over a fully functional computer laboratory at Garden Estate Primary School, which has a student population of 700 pupils serving the residents of the Marurui, Thome and Ruaraka.
Meanwhile the Langata Rotary Club partnered with Computers for Schools Kenya and Semiconductor Technologies Limited to set up a digital lab for pupils at Kamburaini Primary School in Kieni, Nyeri County. The lab, fitted with 19 computers, a printer and WiFi, provides the close to 250 learners from the school the opportunity to acquire digital literacy skills.
Another Club is supporting Njathaini Primary School in Roysambu, Nairobi County, with focus on Disease Prevention and Treatment (SDG #3), Basic Education and Literacy (SDG #4) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (SDG #6) – with an ablution block currently under construction, awaiting the fitting of a specialised bio digester.
October 24th is a day set aside to highlight the global efforts towards a polio-free world and honour the commitments of those on the frontlines in the fight to eradicate polio. On this day last year Ruth Munyi, a member of the Thika Road Rotary Club, interviewed Rotary International President Jennifer Jones on NTV, where among the key points discussed was polio eradication. As the organisation that first envisioned a polio-free world more than three decades ago, Rotary International and its partners (that include the Gates Foundation) have been at the centre of the fight to eradicate polio globally. Today, about 20 million people globally who would otherwise have been paralyzed are walking, and more than 1.5 million people are alive who would not have been.
As Rotary continues along its path, it brings out the best in the human spirit. It teaches people ethics, humanity, cultural awareness, people and leadership skills, and motivates and empowers them to serve: key ingredients of social responsibility.
Novartis is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. With a purpose to reimagine medicine to improve and extend people’s lives, Novartis uses innovative science and technology to address some of society’s most challenging healthcare issues. It discovers and develops breakthrough treatments, and finds new ways to deliver them to as many people as possible.
Novartis has two operating divisions: Innovative Medicines, which specialises in patent-protected medicines, and Sandoz, which sells high-quality generics and biosimilars. These divisions are supported by Novartis’ Research and Development (R&D) teams, Operations organisation and Corporate functions.
According to the Chair’s Letter from the Novartis in Society Integrated Report 2022, last year, Novartis initiated a major transformation of the organisation to further improve its innovation capabilities and align with its growth strategy as a pure-play medicines company. These changes are expected to simplify the business, enhance accountabilities and strengthen the company’s commercial activities by enabling it to better focus on its in-market products and high-value pipeline assets. Overall, Novartis’ efforts are set to support its long-term sales and profit growth, and help create sustainable shareholder value. Part of this transformation includes Novartis’ intention to spin off its Sandoz generics and biosimilars Division in 2023. To support this move, Novartis has merged its Oncology and Pharmaceuticals commercial organisations and created a new Operations organisation that combines manufacturing and services activities. Besides substantial cost savings, Novartis expects these steps to increase its operational agility and strengthen its business in key markets such as the United States (US) and China.
The organisation’s medicines treat major diseases, from cancer and heart disease to rare genetic disorders, and are distributed in approximately 140 countries around the world. Novartis maintained its growth momentum in 2022, supported by increased sales of key products across its core therapeutic areas. The company’s full-year net sales were USD 50.5 billion, up 4% from the prior year when measured in constant currencies (cc), to remove the impact of exchange rate movements.
In 2022, Novartis took part in a pilot project with the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), to assess its activities against social and environmental impact areas. The results show a significant positive association with ‘health and sanitation’ – which connects to the United Nations 3rd Sustainable Development Goal (SDG #3) – through the impact of Novartis’ medicines on human health.
Millions of people around the world live with serious diseases that cause early death and disability, and place an enormous burden on healthcare systems. In 2022, Novartis continued to deliver high value medicines to patients. USD 10 billion was invested in R&D in 2022, versus USD 9.5 billion in 2021. The company received 23 approvals in the US, European Union (EU), China and Japan for new medicines and new indications for existing medicines, versus 21 in 2021. Among the approvals is a novel radioligand therapy for advanced prostate cancer in the US and EU. Also impressive to note is that Novartis advanced its focused pipeline of investigational medicines, with several clinical data readouts paving the way for further launches in 2023 and beyond. In 2022, 54.6 million patients were reached through access programs, predominantly in low and middle income countries (LMICs).
One of the targets to support SDG #3 is to end the epidemics of malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Every year, NTDs trap millions of people in a cycle of poverty and illness. In June 2021, Novartis endorsed the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases and pledged USD 250 million over five years (2021- 2025), to advance new treatments for NTDs and malaria. This commitment includes the development of next-generation antimalarials, including an optimised formulation for infants, as well as further research into Chagas disease, Dengue, Leishmaniasis and Cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic infection that causes life-threatening diarrhoea in malnourished children.
Patient health and safety is fundamental to Novartis’ business. The company’s activities are focused on three areas: manufacturing safe medicines (product quality); ensuring these medicines remain safe and that it identifies possible adverse events to minimise risks to patients (pharmacovigilance); and combating falsified medicines, which can pose a serious threat to human health.
Occupational health and safety is also a top priority for Novartis, built into its Code of Ethics. At all Novartis sites, regular audits to assess compliance with regulations and internal controls are conducted. Novartis carries out risk assessments to determine the necessary frequency of these audits, and has crisis management plans in place to deal with emergency situations. Both the organisation’s employees and outside contractors receive regular health and safety training. Health and safety standards are also incorporated into its supplier contracts and risk assessments. Additionally, 18 of Novartis sites have ISO 45001 certification, covering 35% of employees and third-party personnel working in manufacturing and supply. Safety incident rates returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, consistent with industry benchmarks. The UNEP FI analysis also showed a moderate positive impact on employment and the economy due to wages, benefits and employee development. These factors correspond to SGD #8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Novartis is focused on creating a work environment in which all employees feel they belong and can do their best work. This is in practice not only because it is right, but also because it helps generate new ideas, gives the company access to a wider pool of talent, and brings it closer to the diverse perspectives of customers, patients and other stakeholders. To support this approach, Novartis embeds Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) (which supports SDG #5, Gender Equality) into objectives for managers and in internal policies and controls, including its Code of Ethics. In 2022, women in Novartis’ management increased to 47 percent.
In support of SDG #13, Climate Change, Novartis reduced its Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (indirect) carbon emissions by 23 percent from the prior year, representing a reduction of 49 percent compared with its 2016 baseline. Novartis has been steadily reducing its carbon emissions for several years, mainly through energy efficiency, increased use of renewables and new manufacturing technologies (SDG #7, Clean Energy).
Novartis is committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity across its operations by 2025. In 2022, Novartis had renewable power purchase agreements in place to cover electricity consumption across its operations in Europe and North America. Currently, 20 of Novartis manufacturing sites are certified under ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) or the EU’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme- equivalent to about half of its total production by volume.
In 2022, Novartis continued efforts to reduce waste sent for disposal. The firm has introduced sustainable design guidelines for its products, devices and packaging. Where feasible, it is switching to recycled plastics, cutting back on the use of blister packs and increasing the use of reusable shipping boxes. Since 2016, Novartis has reduced the amount of waste sent for disposal by 59 percent.
The company has also continued to reduce its water consumption by using more recycled water (where local regulations allow) and adopting less water-intensive production techniques. Since 2016, Novartis’ water use has reduced by 42 percent. The company aims to be water neutral at all its locations by 2030. Efficient waste and water management conform to SDG #12, Responsible Consumption and Production. As Novartis looks to the future as a focused medicines company, its dedication to innovation and excellence will drive it forward. A socially responsible corporation that is highly people-focused and environmentally conscious, the international pharmaceutical is set to reimagine medicine for decades to come.
This article has been extracted from novartis in society integrated report 2022.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is a very versatile and sophisticated plastic used to make the most common container in the soft drink market today: the plastic bottle.
Successfully used in the packaging for carbonated soft drinks, bottled water, milk, juice, sports and energy drinks, jars, punnets, tubs and trays for food items, bottles for household, personal care and pharmaceutical products, and film for packaging, PET is the type of plastic labelled with the #1 code on or near the bottom of bottles and containers.
PET is globally recognised as a safe, recyclable packaging material for food and non-food products. PET packaging is selected for a wide variety of applications because it is safe, strong, shatterproof and chemically 100 percent recyclable into the same PET products (fibre and bottles).
Manufacturers use PET to package products because of its strength, thermo-stability and transparency. It is also light which reduces both the costs and carbon emissions relating to transportation.
Retailers use PET because it promotes high product visibility: its light weight facilitates shelf stacking, and its shatterproof quality ensures safety, product integrity and a reduction in breakages. Consumers choose PET because it is portable, lightweight, re-sealable for efficient on-the-go hydration, 100 percent safe and 100 percent recyclable. In Kenya, virgin bottle-grade PET resin is supplied from China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Kenya generates up to 21,000 tonnes of plastic annually, out of which only 30 percent is recycled. Moreover, the growth of PET usage in the country is approximately 8% per annum. To further boost the recycling practice, Kenyans industrialists, through Kenya Association Manufacturers (KAM), came together with retailers in 2018 under Kenya PET Recycling Company (PETCO Kenya) to spearhead PET recycling. Some of the brand owners working with PETCO include Coca Cola, Unilever, Naivas, Kevian Kenya, Bio Foods, Highlands, Mayers Water, Peptang, Mazuri Water, Almasi Beverages, Coastal bottlers and Bidco Africa.
PETCO Kenya was adapted from the successful and renowned South African model which was incorporated in 2004.
Everyone has the right to an environment which is not harmful to their health or well being, and that is protected for the benefit of present and future generations. Once the need for more effective waste management and recycling became a key focus for Kenya, enough stimulus was generated to form PETCO.
PETCO is governed by one simple mantra, ‘plastic bottles are not trash’ and continuously spreads that message as far and wide as it can. The company’s unique model is built on the simple principle of an industry-driven and financed environmental solution for post-consumer PET plastic.
The PET plastics industry acknowledges that the convenience and life-saving qualities of plastics aside, a solution for post-consumer plastic packaging is critical in order to minimise its impact on the environment. This corresponds to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) that talk about Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG #12), Climate Change (SDG #13), protecting Life Below Water (SDG #14) as well as protecting Life On Land (SDG #15).
To achieve this, everyone involved, from the raw material producers, the converters, brand owners, retailers, consumers and recyclers are playing their part in the solution, with PETCO fulfilling the PET industry’s role of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
EPR promotes the integration of environmental costs associated with PET products throughout their life cycles, into the market costs of the products, and shifts responsibility for the used container from government to private industry.
PETCO is financed by a voluntary EPR fee paid by converters and bottlers on PET resin purchased. PETCO also receives grants from brand owners and retailers. Support for PET recycling efforts ensures an ongoing monetary value for post-consumer PET. This sustains collection interest and reduces the volume of post-consumer PET in the waste stream.
By taking responsibility for post-consumer PET recycling, PETCO imposes accountability over the entire life cycle of PET products and packaging. This means that companies that manufacture, import and/or sell PET products and packaging are financially and physically responsible for such products after their useful life.
Much like virgin PET, recycled PET (rPET) can be used to make many new products including polyester staple fibre or filament used for clothing, home textiles (duvets, pillows, carpeting), automotive parts (carpets, sound insulation, boot linings, seat covers), industrial end-use items (geotextiles and roof insulation), and new PET packaging and bottles for both food and non-food products. It is generally blended in a ratio of virgin to recycled, depending on the application required.
Recycled PET products are functional and cost-effective. Tangible examples in Kenya include:
● Manufacture of brush bristles: TeePee Brush Manufacturers, Kenya’s leading household brush manufacturer has been making brush bristles from 100% recycled PET bottles for years. This is the first company in Kenya to do so.
● Microscopes for schools: Digital Blacksmiths, an engineering consultant company based in Nairobi, convert recycled PET bottles and create 3D printer filament. Their goal is to work with materials that are locally and ethically sourced, driving down costs, adding value to the work of waste-collectors, and opening up the market for savvy makers across the continent. They have successfully created a microscope for schools that retails at USD 30, where the conventional microscope retails USD 150.
To help increase the understanding of how important it is to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, PETCO Kenya encourages consumers to participate in kerb-side projects and support community projects and drop-off sites that actively recover their post-consumer PET plastic for recycling.
To make it even easier for citizens to adopt the three Rs mentality, ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, PETCO Kenya has provided drop-off sites located within some shopping malls in Nairobi. These include: Capital Centre, Two Rivers Mall, Shell Petrol Station- Wood Avenue, Ciata Mall and Galleria Mall.
PETCO Kenya additionally actively participates in marketing recycling awareness in the form of print publications, broadcast, digital media, public events, interactive workshops and conferences. The company continues to develop relevant and up-to-date public information and promotional material.
PETCO emerged the best company under the Waste Management Reduction and Recycling Initiatives for the FY 2022 among its peers, at the #CSR100 AWARDS 2022.
PETCO Kenya’s scope of work innately defines it as a socially responsible corporate.
SMART AFRICA GROUP
When the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) of Smart Africa Group (SAG), Edwin Bruno, began his entrepreneurship journey, he was inspired by Salesforce: an American Software Company whose mission, upon establishment, was to transition to a cloud network. In simple terms, moving from hardware to software.
Looking at Tanzania’s technology space and market 15 years ago, Bruno wanted to bridge the existing gap in software-related solutions, from an entrepreneurial mindset. Through his practical training, Bruno showcased value, for example, by creating a company website with the aim of demonstrating to businesses the importance of organisations to have global reach, despite being locally-based.
A second-year Computer Engineering student, Edwin founded Smart Codes, initially targeting technology and communications. There existed a rising need to elevate digital message conveyance considering the decline of traditional forms of communication. By 2010, Smart Codes pivoted to a digital marketing and advertising agency, to cater for the then-fast-growing numbers of internet users on Facebook, Google and other platforms.
Steadily growing from a team of one to a team of 50, Smart Codes expanded into more activities in 2015. Print media was struggling in terms of consumers losing interest, leading to decreased access to news sources such as newspapers. Identifying this need as an opportunity, Smart Codes launched the M-Paper Application to help digitise access to newspapers. Shortly after its launch, M-Paper won the award for Best Innovation App in Africa (2015).
As Smart Codes developed, so did its objectives. The company yearned to be more than just an agency; it envisioned connecting people and organisations as brands in technology, and helping organisations understand their consumers’ needs better. Smart Codes rapidly became known for a wide array of services, yet its subsidiaries and their scopes of work remained unclear.
In redefining the firm, Smart Africa Group (SAG) was born. SAG was formulated as a parent company to the original Smart Codes, as well as new subsidiaries like Smart Studio, Smart Foundry, Smartnology and Smart Lab. Together, they make up an integrated ecosystem offering digital solutions to businesses that want to scale and impact Africa and beyond.
Situated in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, SAG focuses on management & leadership, talent acquisition, partnerships, administration & operations, insights and corporate social responsibility (CSR)-driven initiatives. This leaves the five subsidiaries to focus on and grow their core businesses.
Smart Foundry is a digital product agency that seeks to form strategic partnerships with corporates and investors to build and launch digital products. These products help both organisations and individuals to thrive. This is in line with the United Nations 17th Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG #17), to strengthen implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.
Smart Lab is an innovation platform that links learning institutions with corporate partners and investors to empower groundbreaking solutions that work to impact African communities. Many start-ups and micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) are conceived while still in school. Apart from enabling the youth, Smart Lab’s reach corresponds to both #SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, as well as SDG #9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
Smartnology is a close-knit team of programming professionals and tech brains offering premium end-to-end tech solutions to catalyse clients’ growth and goal attainment through technology. It helps companies build and manage their technology.
Smart Codes includes media services, as well as the previously incorporated marketing and advertising services. Driven by creativity and digital transformation, Smart Codes places brands at the top of the consumer’s mind.
For businesses looking to tell their story with captivating audio-visuals and content through photography, videography and voice artistry, there is Smart Studio. With a focus on crossing market boundaries, Smart Studio attracts customers for its clients.
One of SAG’s most prominent products in Rifaly (previously M-Paper). Rifaly is a paperless alternative to accessing and reading physical publications: a digital newsstand. It serves to connect different African stories to interested readers both within and outside the continent. It also helps keep diasporans ‘in the know’ of the happenings in their home countries. The establishment of Rifaly is a big step in supporting positive climate change by reducing paper use (SDG #13).
SAG is intentional about giving back to the community. The company conducts visits to orphanage centres, where the staff members volunteer their time to cater to the needs of the children.
The entire working sphere of Smart Africa Group is surrounded by social responsibility, further illustrated by its mission: to build integrated platforms that connect people and organisations to unlock infinite possibilities in Africa, and beyond.