Four Kenyan firms have received awards for implementing cleaner production strategies that have helped reduce pollution along the Lake Victoria basin, saving regional companies more than Sh6.7 billion in production costs last year.
The local companies, mainly from the sugar, tea, and soft-drinks industries, jointly won six awards. The firms were pitted against more than 40 competitors.
During the awards ceremony held in Uganda last week, Nzoia Sugar Company Ltd won the solid-waste management award while the water-waste management award went to Kibos Sugar & Allied Industries Ltd in Kisumu.
The awards also recognised the companies’ ability to manage solid and water waste as well as lowering energy costs in the production processes.
AWARDS FOR INNOVATION
Kitumbe Tea Factory in Kericho won the special recognition award for its innovative ways of reducing pollution, including the use of a special rope-conveyance technology to transport tea leaves from farms to the factory.
Rift Valley Bottlers Ltd in Eldoret emerged first runner-up in the water-management award while Kitumbe Tea Factory was first runner-up in the energy-management category.
Kibos Sugar & Allied Industries also emerged second runner-up in the overall cleaner-production award.
Tanzania Breweries Ltd emerged the overall winner of the first-ever regional award meant to celebrate industries that have reduced environmental pollution along the Lake Victoria basin.
The company beat 40 other competitors from Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya to scoop the Regional Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Award, which also recognised firms that use cheaper methods of production, leading to a reduction in waste of resources.
Uganda’s Crown Beverages Ltd emerged first overall runner-up.
The companies were ranked based on how they had effectively managed their solid waste and how efficiently they used energy.
The awards ceremony, held in Entebbe, Uganda, last week, was organised by the Regional Cleaner Production Centre, which runs a Sh300 million ($3.5 million) programme to save the Lake Victoria basin from industrial pollution.
The project is funded by the World Bank. The theme of the awards was "Creating Wealth Without Waste and Doing More With Less."
The awards covered various categories — energy efficiency, waste-water management, water-use reduction and materials efficiency as well as corporate social responsibility.
Uganda's minister of state for the environment, Flavia Munaaba Nabugere, said it is prudent for industries along the Lake Victoria basin to adopt cleaner production technologies because the fresh-water lake supports the livelihoods of millions in East Africa.
“This is to be done within a context of high material, water, and energy efficiencies and negligible environmental impact,” she said.
The lake supports a third of the East African countries’ population.
The minister said some of the 195 companies that use “cleaner production” in the region no longer discharge polluted effluent into lakes or rivers. The firms, she said, treat and reuse their waste.
The regional RECP coordinator, Jane Nyakang’o, urged more industries to adopt resource-efficient and cleaner production programmes, noting that there had been massive gains for those under the project.
She said the programme had helped save industries Sh6.7 billion ($79 million) annually while communities were now accessing cleaner water and air.
“By so doing, businesses enjoy a cleaner environment while realising increased economic benefits,” she said.
The objective of the awards, she said, was to create an incentive and recognition system for businesses to adopt RECP in order to cut production costs, minimise waste, and increase competitiveness.
The awards come at a time when the costs of water, energy, and raw materials has escalated as Lake Victoria gets more polluted.
According to the Industry Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production report 2013, billions of dollars are lost annually through inefficient use of resources — water, energy and material inputs.