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Bidco's Vimal Shah challenges government to review plastic bags ban.

Bidco Africa Chairmal Vimal Shah addressing participants at the third Annual Private Sector Conference on Sustainable Inclusive Business on Friday at the USIU, Nairobi.

Bidco Africa Chairman Vimal Shah has expressed his reservations on last year’s ban on all plastic bags by the Kenyan government arguing that the matter could have been handled better through proper engagement with key stakeholders.

Speaking at the United States International University (USIU) during the third Annual Private Sector Conference on Sustainable Inclusive Business on Friday, Vimal challenged the government to put in place a robust policy and programme for recycling instead of banning plastic bags and bottles.

The conference focuses on new economy, transformation and future proof businesses and is organised by Sustainable Inclusive Business (SIBKenya) and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) with the support of Dutch Embassy in Nairobi.

“By opting to recycle plastic carrier bags in place of outright ban, we not only support industrialisation and creation of jobs, we also create opportunities for people in the recycling business while making affordable alternatives available to users,” said Vimal who also doubles up as KEPSA Trustee.

He added that the ban on plastic bags had led to the emergence of alternatives whose real impact on the environment could be far worse than imagined and could lead to destruction of forests as the demand for paper carrier bags grew.

(See also: Bidco wins two prestigious awards at the EABC Business Excellence Awards.)

Former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, JP Balkenende called for a new global agenda that supported business growth, protected the planet from destruction and included people, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid.

He urged countries and businesses to champion and practice innovation, rule of law and build inclusive institutions that created shared value for everyone.

“The role of companies has changed from merely doing business to creating a sustainable world where the environment is protected and businesses impact real people,” said Balkenende.

SIBKenya is currently championing the development of a new economy where success is measured by the wellbeing of the people and communities as well as the quality of the environment.

SIBKenya Coordinator, Karin Boomsma said that this required a paradigm shift among the business community that will in turn deliver a new economy and future proof businesses.

“It is all about good business DNA that grows the 3Ps (People, Planet and Profit). Business is the biggest driving force behind any country’s economy. They are (often) flexible, agile and smart with a strong desire to be sustainable. This is the perfect combination to create big social and environmental impact,” said Boomsma.

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