Manufacturers pledge support for climate change initiatives
Manufacturers and members of the private sector have pledged their support for organizations advocating for climate change justice and awareness in Africa.
Speaking while giving his presentation at the Regional Post COP22 Consultative Workshop that was held in Kampala, Uganda on Thursday and organized by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Kenya Association of Manufacturers’ Suresh Patel said the private sector in Kenya has been participating in the COPs since 2006.
“We have observed that the government is shouldering the burden of climate change management. The pressure comes back to the private sector through additional excise duties and taxes. That is why we decided to become active in this space,” he said.
The Kenyan manufacturer, however, expressed that for climate resilience efforts to work there needs to be a business sense.
“We just started engaging with the civil society regarding climate change. If we need to go for climate resilience then there has to be a business case,” he said.
He gave an example of introducing a policy that ensures construction companies use only recycled water, ensuring that there is a market for recycled water and therefore water is conserved.
He added that promoting the cultivation of cassava, a plant that is drought resistant, would ensure food security and cut down carbon emissions by minimizing the importation of starch.
“Kenya imports 20,000 tonnes of starch while you can have cassava all year round. There is a big impact on cooperation with climate change,” he noted.
“Africa is an import economy. When we have products from outside coming in we have a larger carbon footprint,” he said, adding that governments should encourage local production through initiatives such as the buy Kenya build Kenya campaign.
Mr Suresh, who is also a member of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, urged leaders and the political class to invest in industrial infrastructure and SME infrastructure to enable small and medium enterprises to engage in green production.
“Green investments have a lower rate of return. Green business in Africa is expensive… we also need more skills in green growth,” he added.
He further noted that political will for the implementation of green initiatives is needed, adding that although there are funds allocated towards climate change initiatives, it was not enough.
He urged the government to avoid introducing interventions that immediately disrupt the current economic activities, advising that such interventions should be introduced slowly to allow the market to adapt.
“Policy stability is important. If you keep on changing policy every few months is not good for the private center. We need a predictable long-term regime especially on climate change,” he noted.
He pledged the private sector’s support for communities, adding that they would form partnerships with NGOs, academia and regional governments to ensure the success of climate change initiatives.