SADC spurs positive environmental outcomes through circular economy platform

The European Commission through EU Africa RISE, SADC Business Council and Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) are jointly hosting a conference on the ‘Implementation of circular economy regulations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’ on 22 and 23 February 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia in hybrid format. The conference aims to mobilise regional business, government, and civil society leaders to come together around the development of a circular economy, waste management and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) topics on a formalised platform.

This platform intends to accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economy at a scale that can improve the social, environmental, and economic well-being of current and future generations in the SADC region and beyond. In this context, the platform will facilitate a collective approach to establish an EPR framework in the region, identify best practices, encourage local players to take ownership of this priority and to prepare the implementation of a fully functional Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO). The process of establishing this platform will be steered by an expert committee that includes members of the public as well as the private sector and it will be formalised through discussions at the conference.

“The conference is an opportunity to advance the development of a Circular Economy EPR platform in the SADC region, a project that we, at EU Africa RISE, are supporting the SADC Business Council with. This event is the first step in this journey and will help shape initial thinking on how a public-private solution could trigger the implementation of EPR in SADC and, possibly, beyond. The Circular Economy EPR platform is one of several other projects that EU Africa RISE is supporting to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and drive private sector development in the SADC region,” says Dr Mihaela Balan, Deputy Team Leader, EU Africa RISE.

Bruno Hanses, Charge d’Affairs of the EU Delegation to Zambia and COMESA says “The European Green Deal is our compass and roadmap to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. We encourage others to follow and jointly develop and follow climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular economic pathways. This is why the EU launched, together with UNEP and UNIDO, in 2021 the ‘Global Alliance for Circular Economy and Resources Efficiency’. The European Commission also joined the ‘Africa Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA)’ in 2022. Without changing our economies from linear to circular, the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and its target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees will remain out of reach”.

With the goal of accelerating SADC region’s shift to a circular economy Ms Tshidi Ramogase, Chief Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Officer at CCBA emphasised the importance and strength of private-public partnerships in successfully navigating challenges posed by resource availability for effective sustainable waste management throughout the region.

“The Coca-Cola Company and all its bottling partners are leading the industry to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for everyone we sell by 2030. We’re working to bring people together to help us collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell. And we’re working with governments to create an enabling environment for a circular economy for plastic waste. Regardless of where it comes from, we want every package to have more than one life.

“Our approach is a voluntary collection and recycling model funded by industry through a levy on resin, the material used to make PET plastic. Coca-Cola and other like-minded industries came together in 2004 to set up the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) in SA to promote and regulate the recycling of PET plastic, taking responsibility for recovering and recycling beverage PET plastic bottles. PET waste management comes with significant investment and economic opportunities if done the right way. The PETCO model has proven so effective it is now being rolled out to eight other African countries.”

Among other dignitaries addressing the conference are Honourable Muyunda, Member of Parliamnent Siavonga, Ms. Chilando Chitangala, Mayor of the City of Lusaka, Zambia; H.E. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner of Trade and Industry for the African Union Commission, Mr Donald Kachali Mwanza, Director Public Health and Public Health Specialist at the Chipata City Council, Mr Mattias Reusing, Counsellor of the European Green Deal, Rural Development, Trade Sector, EEAS (European Union) and Mr. Teddy Soobramanien, The Executive Officer of the COMESA Business Council, The conference is moderated by ENG Sharon Mabangwe Musonda, the Vice President of the Engineering Institution of Zambia.

Also, in attendance to share their perspectives and views on circular economy implementation, challenges, investment models and regulations are regional private sector leaders, producers, brand owners, importers, waste management operators, chambers of commerce, trade unions, consumer organisations, municipalities and governorates, non-governmental organisations, and civil societies as well as universities and academies.

“We are pleased with the attendance at this conference because successfully transitioning to a circular economy requires a holistic approach and collaboration between private companies, public government agencies and community-based organisations. The SADC Business Council is supportive of this collaborative effort as our main objective is to be a platform for national business associations, regional business organisations in the SADC region, corporates, and international chambers of commerce to drive the implementation of SADC plans and priority programmes. Outcomes of this conference and position paper will guide the establishment of the structure and operational procedures of the platform.” says Mr Peter Varndell, SADC Business Council.

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About EU Africa RISE

EU Africa RISE aims to strengthen access to finance and improve the investment climate for inclusive and sustainable growth, job creation and decent work. EU Africa RISE supports private sector development in 25 countries in East Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. A project funded by the European Union and implemented by Landell Mills in consortium with Adam Smith Europe, Imani Development and International Economics.

Media Enquiries: Ndandu Welkenhuysen, ndanduw@eu-africa-rise.com

About SADC Business Council

The SADC BC is a regional apex body of national business associations of the 16 SADC Member States established in line with article 23 of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Treaty. The main role of the SADC BC is to involve the national business associations, regional business organisations in SADC, and other stakeholders of mutual interest including corporates and international chambers of commerce in SADC decision making processes to drive the implementation of SADC plans and priority programmes.

Media Enquiries: Melainey Mpofu, Melainey.Mpofu@thenbf.co.za

About CCBA

CCBA is the eighth largest Coca-Cola bottling partner worldwide by revenue and the biggest on the continent, accounting for about 40% of all Coca-Cola volumes sold in Africa. CCBA employs more than 17,000 people and services over 600,000 customer outlets through its 42 bottling plants. CCBA is a proud industry leader in developing increasingly sustainable ways to manufacture, distribute and sell its products. CCBA aims is to create greater shared opportunity for the business and the communities they serve across the value-chain.

Media Enquiries: Wendy Thole-Muir, wthole-muir@ccbagroup.com

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