The Kenyan Government has lauded the private sector players’ contribution to strengthening the country’s sustainability position. The sector’s bold and unprecedented efforts and investments set Kenya apart as a country determined to become a global reference point and case study in sustainable waste management with an ultimate national goal of zero waste.

In a statement during the Annual Circular Economy Conference held on Thursday, the 9th of November, in Nairobi, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Hon. Soipan Tuya, noted that the ministry is developing a circular economy strategy to guide the nation’s transition to circularity. The conference was organized by Sustainable Inclusive Business Kenya, the knowledge centre under the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).

“Circular Economy is a key priority for the ministry not just because of its centrality in the fight against climate change by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions through waste management, but also because of its immense potential to transform the social, economic well-being of communities through income generating activities,” said Hon. Tuya in a statement read by Ms Linda Kosgei, Head of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry.

Speakers at the event highlighted the importance of collaborations, proper systems and structures, and technological innovations as the key factors that would leapfrog the transition to circularity.

In her remarks, KEPSA CEO Ms. Carole Kariuki highlighted the role of businesses in promoting economic growth while ensuring environmental responsibility and strongly urged collaboration in implementing the existing laws, adding that forced compliance and crackdowns don’t yield much. She singled out awareness creation to foster a culture of sustainability and to drive demand for eco-friendly products as one of the areas to be explored.

“A sustainable, circular economy is not just a vision; it’s necessary for our survival and the well-being of the planet and future generations. As the private sector, we have the opportunity and the obligation to lead this transformative journey.” Noted the KEPSA CEO.

The Director of Sustainable Inclusive Business, Ms. Karin Boomsma, showcased innovative approaches to harnessing used materials for sustainable practices while underscoring the pivotal role of a circular economy in fostering prosperity. She further urged for a change in mindset, terming it as the key to circularity, which was traditionally a part of the African culture. “I am very excited to see more and more resource use, not from a perspective of what we can do with waste but where nothing goes to waste,” she added.

Other speakers at the event included National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Director Dr. Ayub Macharia, Coastal Kenya Programme Manager at WWF Kenya Dr. Asma Awadh, Chief of Party of USAID Strategic Partnership and Founding Executive Dean of Strathmore University Business School Dr George Njenga, Head of Corporate and Public Affairs, Grand Middle East & Africa at TetraPak Ms Shereen Shaheen, USAID’s Lead Ocean Plastics and Urban Advisor Ms Clare Romanik among others.

The conference convened over 300 participants, including leaders, experts, and stakeholders across various sectors, to explore opportunities and strategies for catalyzing the transition towards a circular economy. The forum also provided a platform for in-depth discussions, keynote speeches, panel dialogues, enlightening masterclasses, and a circular innovation expo that yielded insights, connections, and concrete solutions for advancing sustainability.