By Benedict Tembo
AS Nestlé East, and Southern African Region (ESAR) launched a plastic neutrality project initiative partnership with Chilanga Cement to reduce plastic pollution in Zambia, Government hailed private and public sector collaboration as an important factor in addressing global sustainability challenges which deliver integrated services.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Garry Nkombo witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Nestlé ESAR and Chilanga Cement to create a partnership, which will bringing together the private sector and local communities using an innovative solution that will address plastic waste.
The launch of the project in Zambia is in line with this year’s Global Recycling Day theme, which is creative innovation.
Speaking during the launch of the partnership, Mr Nkombo said Government, through the Ministry of Local Government, has prioritised actions towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal number 11, which promotes sustainable and inclusive human settlements as well as goal number 12, which speaks to responsible consumption and production by substantially reducing all waste generation through the prevention, reduction and recycling of waste.
“The memorandum of understanding being effected today, therefore comes at an opportune time when government is seeking meaningful collaboration towards the development and implementation of innovative strategies to promote healthy and productive settlements,” Mr Nkombo said.
He said the partnership will not only contribute to improved livelihood but will also create communities that cognisant of their relationship with the environment.
“The partnership between Nestlé and Chilanga Cement being actualised through his MoU is an outstanding example of how the private sector can leverage on their enterprise for the betterment of our environment as well as our communities. I can only urge other businesses to emulate what you have embarked on today. Indeed, sustainability and environmental conservation are important global challenges that require societal response in which everyone from the government, business and civil society, must play their part,” Mr Nkombo said.
Speaking at the launch of the project, Country Business Manager for Nestlé in Zambia and Malawi, Zubayer Davids said his company was are pleased to be partnering with a leading local business and the local community in delivering meaningful change in managing waste.
“This is an exciting project for us here in Zambia, and we are taking charge, aiming our efforts at reaching plastic neutrality by rethinking how we reduce plastic waste in landfills. Innovation in the ways we dispose of the plastic is at the heart of this project,” Mr Davids said.
He said equally important to note is how this project will help sustain and improve livelihoods in Zambia. “We have created and sustained jobs for 37 direct employees and indirectly impacted over 600 community-based collectors within the plastics waste recovery programme, majority who are youth and women in Zambia. That is how we are making the ultimate goal of a waste free future, and reaching net zero by 2050, matter to local communities in the region,” Mr Davids said.
Chilanga Cement acting Chief executive officer Chibuye Ngulube said the company has committed itself to reducing energy consumption through the use of alternative fuels such as plastic waste through the utilisation of innovative co-processing technology for waste-to-energy disposal.
“Not only does this method combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions from landfills and fossil fuels, but it has also promoted the safe disposal of waste, leading the way for a healthier and cleaner future for our planet.in Zambia,” Mrs Ngulube said.
She said waste management has been an ongoing challenge for years, threatening the country’s ability to reach sustainable development goals.
“I am however proud to make mention that our employees, contractors, and stakeholders are fully integrated into our sustainability values which recognise the importance of safeguarding our environment,” she said