The United Nations Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as an economy that focuses on the wellbeing of human beings and the reduction of environmental risks and scarcities. The green economy is seen more as a better alternative to the current one that propels inequality, resource scarcity, and a threat to the environment and to human health. The UN launched the Green Economy Initiative ten years ago in 2008 and it was supposed to spearhead the adoption of environmental investments by different countries globally.
Green Economy Implementation in Kenya
The Kenyan government launched the strategic plan for the green economy in July 2017. The plan aims at reduction of pressure on natural resources as well as promote sustainable development goals agenda of 2030. The project launched in Kenya has three components.
- A Green Economy Assessment – provides recommendations on how greening the agriculture, energy and forestry sectors can catalyze a transition to a green economy.
- A Green Economy Fiscal Policy Study – focuses on the revenue component of the government’s budget, selecting the options with the most potential to improve environmental quality and to create the preconditions for green economy investment.
- A Green Economy Action Plan – aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises take advantage of the opportunities offered by the transition to a green economy.
What the Green Economy Means for Kenyan Businesses
A report by the Sustainable Development Goals indicates that businesses will have to adopt several measures with regards to the green economy:-
- Integrate climate adaptation to business planning processes and capture it in their company mission and vision. This will serve to ensure the achievement of both the business goals and the conservation goals.
- Partner with both internal and external decision makers in matters that will lead to sustainable energy production, climate conservation and waste management among others.
- Implementation of mutually beneficial strategies with stakeholders and building of proper communication channels to address potential problems with green economy initiatives.
- Build a portfolio of climate-resilient goods and services. Such goods and services will be able to endure external climate stress, while still having the capability to maintain functionalities either by adapting, reorganisation or evolution.
- Connect climate “adaptation” and “resilience” to the company and corporate culture, building on existing mitigation initiatives.
Benefits of Adopting an Inclusive Green Economy
Legal Compliance – Any business in Kenya has to remain within the law. After the adoption of the green economy strategic plan, several requirements are set for business such as the reduction of carbon emissions and waste management. A business that is careful to observe and integrate climate adaptation to business planning processes will remain within the law.
Saving on Business Costs – An increment on energy efficiency translates to savings on utility costs. Solar Panels harvests energy from the sun and have been used widely by businesses globally to minimize on reliance on electricity and petroleum fuel. In addition, if a business will actively reuse and recycle, this will reduce the overhead costs in a great way.
Gaining trust – A business that not only protects its own agenda but also the needs of the society it thrives in is likely to get trust from the general public. This makes environmental conservation a top priority for any business as most sales for goods and services are based on good public relations.
Improved reliability – Both employees and customers would want to be associated with a business that fosters positive action in terms of environmental issues. Customers will feel more inclined to buy from such a business and employees will feel better about their place of work.
Challenges of adopting an inclusive Green Economy
The Harvard Business Review has recently established some of the challenges of a green economy as follows:-
- Compliance and Competitiveness – It is clear that businesses want to only stay within the regulations of environmental conservation instead of actively engaging in ways to improve the environment, correct the past harm done to it and anticipate future harm that could come to it.
2. Going green is not easy – Adoption of a green economy is not easy particularly to a system that was initially not bound to the green rules and regulations. It is an expensive venture that is capital intensive.
If you are interested in the Green Economy, here is Why Your Business Should Go Green In 2019
Keywords: Green Economy, Environment, Kenyan Businesses