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Strategies for Businesses to be More Sustainable for Tomorrow

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By Emmanuel Asika

The world’s natural reserves are fast diminishing at a worrisome speed, almost two times quicker than mother earth can recreate. This figure is projected to be 2.3 times what is sustainable by 2050. Yearly, 50 million tonnes of e-waste contribute to this, which is tantamount to the size of all commercial aircraft ever made.

Hence, achieving a sustainable environment is incumbent on implementing a circular business model like waste reduction, recycling, and regenerating products, and advocating sustainable production processes. Nonetheless, global economy is just 7.2% circular – implying that more ground needs to be covered.

With an essential role expected of multinationals, organizations of every size and sector can still adopt circular business models. Considerably, SMEs are driving platform sharing and collaborative consumption much as start-ups, from the onset, are incorporating circular models.

An excellent example of this seen in Nigeria, where business sustainability focus is circular as propagated by the Nigeria Circular Economy Working Group, a founding member of the Africa Circular Economy Alliance.

Incidentally, HP is deepening sustainability with years of experience. Its operations’ journey, particularly, will be entirely circular, driven by services and products modifications. Below are few approaches to reference:

Getting the Buy-in of the Considerate Consumer 

Customers are getting more aware today than ever. So, businesses that make circularity a priority will accomplish long-term environmental and commercial profits; and ultimately fulfil customer expectations.

While circularity models need upfront funding, it helps to reduce outlays, optimize efficiency, and even discover new revenue sources. To further endear customer trust and loyalty, organizations must offer measurement tools that identify waste prevention and cost optimization mechanisms that help to establish enterprise superiority.

Circular enterprise models also produce profitable results. For instance, our Sustainable Impact Strategy has been boosted by HP’s socio-economic components on climate-focused programs.

HP’s alliance with NGOs to launch an ocean-bound plastics recycling program to help indigenous workers is yielding positives in Haiti. Now, these plastics are fused into HP products design aesthetics, encouraging circularity, and providing revenue and homegrown education opportunities.

Start and continue with the environment as a priority 

As a rule, circular products are designed with environmental considerations from the start. Sustainable sourcing should be among the initial priorities, with concentration on ethical practices and ambitious but attainable goals.

This ties in to ‘Circular Lagos’, a sustainability initiative of the Lagos State government which seeks to design economic value from waste recycling.

As reference case, HP, since 2016 has mandated all its brand papers to be derived from ecologically reusable or certified sources. It was extended to paper-based packaging in 2020 for home and office printers and supplies, PCs and displays.

By 2030, HP’s goal is to become Forest Positive; thereby, eliminating deforestation for non-HP paper used in print services and product lines.

What creates distinction in packaging is innovation. 100% compostable chitin-based materials are a new development, whereas 3D-printed moulded fibre tooling can drive eco-packaging at scale.

Printing improvements, including printing directly onto product cargo boxes and using water-based inks most likely initiate supplementary benefits. HP’s goal is to eradicate 75% of single-use plastic packaging by 2025 compared to 2018―as of 2021, we were halfway there. Commendable Indeed!

Decrease waste, enhance lifecycle 

One vital aspect for electronic devices is energy usage, though this can be puzzling for consumers. Companies and institutions can help customers make valid choices. Also with comparison tools, manufacturers can assist with clear and accurate details on labels, packaging, along with marketing and brand collaterals.

HP supplies are often highly valued for repairability, with institutions like iFixit providing reparability scores and self-repair (DIY) guides. Institutions can help in reducing request for fresh raw supplies by giving extended warranties and ensuring repair options.

Clearly, sustainable customer experience can be improved with ‘as-a-service models’; whilst promoting circularity through company-led takeback; hence, responsible companies aim to be value facilitators via repair and reuse of supplies when customers are done with them.

Significance of closed-loop recycling 

Closed-loop reutilizing plays huge part in circularity, and HP is loaded with initiatives to support it. A good case study is HP’s Planet Partners program that helps to ensure that ink and toner cartridges do not end up in landfills.

Over a billion cartridges have been recycled through this program, a major landmark in 2023. Provisionally, HP’s Evocyle toner cartridges, made from closed-loop recycled plastic, are serving the sustainability goals of customers in France, Germany, and the UK.

In the reuse of a much wider range of resources, we are also getting better. For example, you might find bio-derived content like coffee grounds in monitors or cooking oil in laptop covers.

Partnership−a necessary paradigm for enterprise scaling 

A circular business model is vital. It’s hinged on team play and partnerships with strategic stakeholders – government, suppliers, merchants/dealers etc. Strengthening networks with NGOs, research institutes, and think tanks, also positions serious institutions above contemporaries. Lagos has entrenched the model by introducing initiatives which encourage community members to drop off used plastic bottles and containers at designated recycling points for reuse.

To improve its fibre sourcing and certification programs, HP is collaborating with World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council.

Regardless of where they are on their circularity journey, collaboration certainly benefits all types of companies. Participating in industry bodies, working with manufacturing partners, and ideas exchange with regulators and professional associations can help advance policy influencing, build consensus, and progress legislation.

Institutions with established existing programs perhaps extend their impact by involving their business environment. Another reference now driving change at scale is HP’s Amplify Impact partner program, which has engaged over 3,500 partners worldwide.

Envision the future 

A vision of a more regenerative and sustainable future is presented with the concept of a circular economy. It could boost the global economy by $4.5 trillion by 2030, if executed appropriately, with accountable sourcing and packaging, materials and products that remain in use longer, and closed loop recycling.

Evolution to circularity is now a necessity with no option. To actualize it, we must immediately shift mindsets, embrace circular practices, and cultivate alliance and frameworks essential for success. Bountiful rewards sure await the businesses that leads the way.

Nigeria, the leading importer of electrical and electronic equipment on the African continent which processes over half a million tons of discarded electronics each year, in January 2022, amended its national environmental regulations to tackle the country’s growing e-waste problem.

So, whether you are just starting or already on the path ― the time is here and now to take the next big step. The future is indeed circular, and it’s up to businesses globally to make it come to fruition.

Emmanuel Asika is Country Head, HP Nigeria 


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Ultimate Brand Faceoff as CVA 2024 Voting Closes 30th June

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Consumers show their loyalty for their preferred Brands in the ongoing voting for brands based on market experiences that is scheduled to close on 30th September 2024. In over 40 categories listed based on consumers nomination, Brands are contending for the top spots based on consumer preference.

The ongoing voting process is transparent and can be seen by anyone as the data is available on the consumer value awards website. In the telecommunication category (MNOS), MTN takes the Top spot having 46% of consumers vote in the category, Spectranet leads the Internet Service Provider Category with 80% of votes.

In the Table Water Category CWay overtakes Eva water who was the leading brand in the last month with Cway now having 37% of the vote in the category. This shows how competitive the voting is.

Some other brands have also moved up to be in the top spot in their categories, brands like fearless with 55% of vote in the Energy Drink category, Reload Multivitamin with 64% of vote in Multivitamin Infant category, cowbell with 55% vote in the Milk Skimmed Powdered category among others.

Akonte Ekine, Chief Executive Officer BrandXchange and Convener Consumers Value awards said the consumers are validating brand promises and it is a reward for promise kept hence the badge of honour from the Consumers which shows brand appreciation and a call to brand to wake up to the challenges of the economy and innovate to attend to the rising cost of living.

He commended the consumers for participating in the vote and call on more consumers to vote for brands as the closing date of 30th June is fast drawing near.


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Airtel Promotes Plastic Reduction at Employee Session to Mark World Environment Day

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Telecommunications network, Airtel Nigeria marked World Environment Day by hosting an insightful session aimed at educating employees on the practice of tackling plastic pollution. The event was held on Tuesday, 4th June, 2024, at Airtel Head office, Banana Island, Lagos.

Carl Cruz, Chief Executive Officer at Airtel Nigeria, represented by Femi Adeniran, Director, Corporate Communications and CSR, stated in his introductory remark that Airtel believes in leading by example, and has taken deliberate measures to ensure that the organization promotes a healthy environment.

“In line with this year’s global theme of “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience”, we are drilling down to focus on plastic reduction, waste disposal, and recycling, which are critical to achieving the goals being set by the global theme. These are not just environmental issues; they are pressing challenges that require immediate attention.

By reducing our plastic usage, managing waste efficiently, and embracing recycling, we can significantly lessen our environmental problems,” he remarked.

Environmental scientist and advocate Dr. Eugene Itua, who served as the facilitator at the event, shared insights on the pertinent strategies to adopt in combating plastic pollution.

His presentation covered a wide range of topics, ranging from the history of plastic use, the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on the environment and human health, and potential solutions to mitigate the pressing issue of plastic pollution.

“As the population grows, so does plastic waste. Since the 1950s, plastic use has become a norm, leading to the pervasive issue of micro plastics. These tiny particles, resulting from the degradation of plastic bottles left in the sun, enter our bodies through the food, water, and drinks we consume, thereby posing threats to our health,” he said.

Dr. Eugene further stressed the urgent need to take a paradigm shift from the traditional “take, use, and dispose” approach to a more sustainable “reuse, recycle, reorient and diversify” principle, embodying the circular economy.

He concluded by urging Airtel employees to take proactive steps to prevent plastic pollution and safeguard the environment. In his words “To tackle the challenge of plastic pollution, we must adopt practices such as recycling and reusing. Without action, the average flow of plastics into the ocean is projected to triple by 2040.”

According to Airtel, several other activities have been put in place to encourage plastic reduction and proper waste management. These activities include strengthening of policies to ensure responsible plastic use within the company, organizing of clean-up initiatives and educational seminars, internal sensitization on reusable alternatives and responsible disposal of plastic items, and utilization of social media and SMS campaigns to educate customers about plastic waste management.

The world environment day event reflects Airtel Nigeria’s dedication to fostering environmental awareness and sustainability within its corporate culture and the broader community. In line with this commitment to the broader community, the organization is set to commission a facility newly constructed for the Green Fingers Foundation, a Non-Governmental organization dedicated to environmental protection and wildlife conservation.

 


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NIPC Launches Investment Certification Programme in Enugu

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The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, has launched the Enugu State edition of the Nigerian Investment Certification Programme for States, NICPS, a programme designed to prime the states to attract both local and foreign investments.

This came on a day the Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, said the state was quick to grab the investment certification opportunity co-signed by the Federal Government and the United Nations Development Programme to boost the state’s attractiveness to investors.

Speaking during a working visit to the governor on the sidelines of the flag-off programme, the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Aisha Rimi, said the “NICPS aims to identify and promote the unique investment opportunities within each state, enhance the image of the states as attractive destinations for investment, strengthen federal and state cooperation on investment promotion, and improve the services provided to investors, ultimately boosting investment inflows, creating jobs, and increasing state revenues.”

She said the agency was quick to launch the programme in Enugu State given the vast investment opportunities in the state and governor’s drive to harness them and also revive the state’s moribund assets.

“With its abundant natural resources, vibrant agricultural sector, and burgeoning industrial landscape, Enugu State stands to gain significantly from this programme. The State government’s efforts under your leadership, particularly in revitalising moribund industries, developing industrial parks, and improving infrastructure, align perfectly with the objectives of the NICPS.

“We are particularly encouraged by the governor’s commitment to projects such as the recent signing of an MoU with Pragmatic Palms Limited and the rehabilitation of the state’s moribund industries, including NigerGas Co. Ltd, Niger Steel Company Ltd, and Sunrise Flour Mills Ltd, amongst others. These initiatives are crucial for encouraging investment and economic growth.

“An important factor in attracting investment is the availability and clarity of land titling. The Enugu Geographic Information Service (ENGIS) created by the present state government plays a crucial role in this area.

“ENGIS ensures that investors can confidently acquire and develop land by streamlining the land titling processes and maintaining accurate records.

“So, as we launch the NICPS in Enugu State today, I am confident that the programme will significantly enhance the State’s ability to attract both foreign and domestic investments. The NICPS will also build capacity for State officials and promote industrial and economic growth,” she stated.

Responding, Governor Mbah, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, reiterated the administration’s determination to transition the state from a civil-service state to a private sector-driven economy.

“When we sought to serve our people, we understood clearly that we must migrate them from a predominantly civil service state to a productive state that we must curate investment.

“So, we have to think outside the box on how we can drive investment that will create the economy that we want to leave behind for our people.

“Therefore, when your certification programme was introduced to us, we were quite excited because that was essentially going to irrigate the fertile ground we tried to provide for the investors.

“All of us here are marketing officers and investment officers for the state. Our appetite to have investors is insatiable. That is what we wake up every morning thinking of how to do.

“So, on behalf of a grateful state, we want to assure the NIPC that whatever is required of us as a government, we will leave no stone unturned until those last lines are met to open a floodgate of investments,” Mbah said.

Throwing more light on the programme, the CEO of the Enugu State Investment Development Authority, Dr. Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo, said the state investment certification programme, when completed, would serve as a stamp of approval that the state is ready to receive and sustain investment.

“The certification gives NIPC the confidence that we are ready and it makes it easier for them to drive those investors to our state. And of course, it gives us an edge over the number of other competing entities, both states and nations.

“Investors will go where they are welcomed and the certification program will make us stand out in the crowd as one of the few places that you can say yes, they are ready, and then my investment is safe and I want to go there,” he explained.


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