It’s time to up Kenya’s green credentials
Economics used to count the environment and social impact as issues without commercial value or cost: nice to consider, but irrelevant to expenses, revenues or profits. How times have changed, with companies now demonstrating in ever greater numbers that environmental and social costs drive through as a straight line to higher business costs, reduced profitability, and suboptimal sales growth. For, in this EDGE, we visit the state of the ‘Green Corporate’ nation to find that companies are now dividing into those who are going green and reporting sharp and instant material gains, and those that have not yet appreciated green as key to efficiency and success. Right from the corporate office space - where building designs that often costs little or no extra at the start can deliver years of savings in electricity and water bills - green has emerged as the new smart. Companies are reporting dramatic savings on getting staff to walk to meetings less than 2km away, carpooling, shifting to more fuel-efficient cars, electronic payments, e-conferences, and e-commerce. The paperless office truly has begun to arrive, with paper consumption falling in yet one more saved cost, and recyclers now issuing calls for more efficient collections of apparently dwindling supplies. And a new green service industry has been born, offering carpooling Apps, green building designs, electricity auditors, and resource saving gadgets that run from movement-activated lighting to hand-sensored water taps that turn on only for hands before them. Moreover, as Kenyan corporates now move up the productivity and efficiency ladder driven by more measured resource use, Kenya, itself, has begun a march to a considerably greener future. This year’s plastic bags ban has thrown one small sector into shock, but alternatives are swiftly emerging, and cleaner streets beckon. Recent years have also seen Kenya emerge as one of the world’s leaders in green energy, far outrunning even the greenest of the industrialised nations, with their older infrastructure, in its deployment of renewable energy onto the national grid. Kenya is no longer talking green, it’s walking green, and, sometimes, greener than most of the rest of the world.