By Paul Kimanzi
In the heart of Africa, nestled between stunning landscapes and vibrant cultures, Kenya is emerging as a shining example in the global fight against climate change. With the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) held in Nairobi from September 4-6, 2023, policymakers, visionaries and leaders from various sectors convened to address the urgent need for climate action.
Climate change is no longer a distant threat; it is at our doorstep, demanding our immediate attention and action. While nations and organizations worldwide are taking steps to mitigate the crisis, the challenge is too vast and complex for any single entity to tackle alone. This is where the concept of collective responsibility comes into play.
The ACS exemplifies the spirit of collective responsibility as evidenced by the delegates and speakers who came from all corners of the continent including the United States and Europe. Their shared commitment and determination send a powerful message: We are all in this together.
One of the standout stars at the Africa Climate Summit was Kenya, a nation that has shown remarkable dedication to sustainability. Kenya's journey towards a greener future is both inspiring and practical.
Kenya boasts an impressive 79 per cent of its energy generated from green sources. This includes geothermal, hydropower, wind, and solar energy. Kenya's impressive commitment to sustainability and its ambitious targets, such as transitioning to fully green energy sources by 2030, make it a standout beacon for the world. KenGen, as a leader in renewable energy, is at the forefront of this transition.
KenGen's approach includes harnessing the power of Kenya's abundant renewable energy, particularly geothermal. Additionally, hydro, wind farms and solar installations are on the rise, contributing to the green energy mix.
In line with global trends, Kenya is making strides in adopting electric vehicles (EVs). This not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also demonstrates a commitment to innovative and eco-friendly transportation solutions.
The adoption of EVs is not limited to personal vehicles; it extends to public transportation as well. Electric buses are becoming more common on Kenyan roads, providing a cleaner and quieter mode of transportation for commuters.
Recognizing the importance of trees in mitigating climate change, Kenya has made significant efforts to grow and protect its forests. Tree planting initiatives have been launched across the country, reinforcing Kenya's dedication to restoring the environment. KenGen has made huge strides in greening the country.
While Kenya's government and organizations like KenGen are setting impressive examples, the fight against climate change is not solely their responsibility. Each one of us has a role to play in this collective effort.
Simple changes in our daily lives, like reducing waste, reusing items, and recycling, can significantly reduce our carbon footprint. Supporting local recycling initiatives and reducing single-use plastics are impactful steps anyone can take.
Being mindful of our energy consumption and opting for energy-efficient appliances can make a substantial difference. Simple actions like turning off lights when not in use, sealing drafts in your home, and using programmable thermostats can lower energy bills and reduce emissions.
Consider carpooling, biking, or using public transport to reduce emissions from personal vehicles. In the developed world, bike-sharing programs and efficient public transit systems are gaining popularity, providing eco-friendly alternatives to driving.
Small actions like installing solar panels at home or supporting green energy initiatives in your community can help a lot in reducing emissions. Many governments across the globe offer incentives and subsidies for renewable energy installations, making them more accessible to homeowners.
Let us not forget that we are all stakeholders in this critical mission. By making conscious choices in our daily lives and supporting policies and initiatives that promote sustainability, we can contribute to the global effort to combat climate change.
By Judith Mbogo
Senior Officer, Communication
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a term that is used frequently to examine some key activities of businesses. With globalization pressures and increasing burdens on governments to provide comprehensive social services, the microscope has been focused on how firms play their part in sharing this burden.
Views vary from those who believe that CSR is a distraction from profit maximization to those who argue that participation in such activities contributes to positive social transformation, while benefiting participating organizations.
However, as a responsible corporate citizen, the Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC, (KenGen) believes in adding value to the communities living around its areas of operation. The company recognizes that it is part of its responsibility to build and nurture relationships with these communities and all its stakeholders.
CSR has been a priority for KenGen for over twenty years. There has never been a more important time to support our communities since institutions are an integral part of the society, and their activities have a bearing on the lives of a great number of the people involved.
While companies have a duty to their shareholders, in terms of increasing profits and, therefore, dividends, they are urged to recognize that they operate in a world where they have to interact with the communities and even other business organizations hence the need for mutual responsibility is imperative.
KenGen recognizes the role of Corporate Social Responsibility in creating a conducive environment for business sustainability. In addition to supporting its key internal stakeholders who are the employees, the company also provides support to various community-targeted partners and projects and creates relationships and partnerships with the host communities of the areas where its installations are located. Hence CSR depicts the “organization’s commitment to operate in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner while recognizing the interests of its stakeholders.”
The heart of any sustainable business lies in its ability to engage, inspire, and leave a lasting impact on both internal and external stakeholders. That is where the communication arm of any organization comes in, to aid in crafting authentic and compelling tales that captivate, educate, and drive action. They have the unique ability to breathe life into the data, statistics, and complex initiatives, transforming them into relatable and meaningful stories that touch the hearts of those who hear them.
A good example is the journey KenGen undertook to tell of the activities and programs it has participated in and supported through the just concluded CSR documentary produced which highlights the successes, achievements and impact of KenGen’s CSR initiatives through its three core pillars within the community over the years. Such stories have an incredible ability to break barriers and bridge gaps. They transcend cultural boundaries and unite people in a shared purpose; it all involves connecting on a human level, crafting narratives that inspire action, build a loyal community and empower positive change.
The stated documentary can be watched on the KenGen Kenya YouTube Page - https://youtu.be/_UlY4IbMU2w.
KenGen’s CSR initiatives focus on three core pillars which are Education, Environmental Conservation and Water and Sanitation. Specific CSR programmes undertaken by KenGen include Secondary and University Education Scholarships, Community Stakeholder Engagement, Green Initiative Challenge (GIC) in schools which focuses on environmental sustainability, donation of seedlings to its staff and partnerships with various institutions and counties in support of the Presidential Directive of planting and growing 15.6 billion trees by 2032.
There are also efforts in providing basic necessities such as food and water. Water is a key CSR pillar and area of focus and is also a catalyst to Kenya’s social and economic development plan as envisioned in Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint. KenGen has therefore partnered with communities around its areas of installation to provide clean water through the establishment of collection points, provision of supply pipes and water tanks, treatment of polluted water and also in drilling of boreholes and sand dams.
KenGen also has facilitated various food donations to communities that are within the Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) regions. Through the food donations, the company is able to assist these communities live better livelihoods.
KenGen has been instrumental in facilitating infrastructure development in its areas of operations. Such initiatives include construction and rehabilitation of roads such as the Olkaria 10KM road, this has greatly helped the communities within those areas to maneuver with ease as they go about their daily commercial businesses within their locality. Additionally, KenGen has constructed resettlement houses in Olkaria among others.
Other projects include offering skills development programmes to needy communities, construction of classrooms, dormitories, libraries and laboratories to aid in support of education of students through ensuring there is provision of a conducive learning environment. All these initiatives, projects and developments constitute a fraction of the initiatives KenGen has supported and continues to support.
KenGen is a responsible corporate citizen, and the success of the company is intertwined with its key stakeholders. KenGen is cognizant of the fact that all developments are people-centered and that communities residing in areas of its operations are major and key partners. The Company is also alive to the need of obtaining the social license to operate from the communities prior to and during all its project implementation and always participates in initiatives that are relevant to the needs of the communities.
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