As a citizen and a Public Relations practitioner, I worry a lot when people say Accra is dirty; our streets and gutters stink, among other plastic complaints. I worry a lot about how plastic waste campaigns in Ghana have been handled by many governments without appreciable success. I worry a lot about how we got here and why we as a nation have gotten so used to the plastic waste threat.
I have observed with pride, how organizations are delving into environmental sustainability projects and Public Relations campaigns against plastic waste. To be honest, brands are under immense pressure to take product and customer experience up a level; I think environmental sustainability is doing the trick for some of these organizations. Let me explain; it’s about addressing the waste menace in a sustainable way that isn’t just in pursuit of a headline; it’s rather about creating long-lasting behavioural change that customers understand and that the business can survive on.
The Ghana Climate Innovation Center (GCIC), a business incubator, developing and supporting an exceptional set of transformational ventures and entrepreneurs who are pioneering adaptive and mitigating solutions for climate change issues in Ghana, is raising awareness on how we can take action and win the race against increased levels of global warming; whether as individuals, the government and public sector, consumers, manufacturers, enterprises and entrepreneurs.
GCIC is, therefore, hosting a climate change advocacy event, Green Run, on Saturday, December 7, 2019, at El-Wak Sports Stadium. The 7km-run will be held across the principal streets of Accra to drum home the effects of climate change and its seven related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As a brand philosophy, Miniso, Global departmental store chain pursues a simple and natural life philosophy, design and manufacture excellent goods at honest prices; taking into account earth resources, environment, recycling and other issues, and thus truly return to nature and the essence of the product.
Based on this same principle, Miniso Ghana and across the globe uses paper to bag all its products. This effort is part of a series of ideas that have the potential to save Ghanaian homes and the environment from thousands of unnecessary plastic waste.
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Two months ago, Voltic launched its new eco-friendly twist bottle with 7% less plastic in comparison to the old bottle. It gives consumers the ease of twisting the bottle after consumption, encouraging segregation and recycling. All this is in line with the 2030 World Without Waste ambition of The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners.
Before the twist campaign, Voltic has proactively initiated many projects in order to achieve its ambitious world without waste goal.
- Aggregator programme
The aggregator programme seeks to support collectors of plastic waste with tricycles to convey a larger quantity of waste and to improve the efficiency of the collection. The programme has distributed 10 tricycles to aggregators to assist them in their operations.
- In-house Collection
Within the premises of Voltic, there is a weekly collection of post-consumer plastics powered by employees collected during the week from households and communities. At the end of every week, selected departments bring their plastics to a collation point where it is weighed. The winner of the competition gets awarded at the end of the month.
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- Irecycle Project
Since November 2018, the “Irecycle” initiative, of which Total Petroleum Ghana is a valuable partner, has placed 45 recycling containers in strategic locations to curb littering and promote a culture of waste segregation.
- Monthly buyback sessions
The monthly Voltic/Coliba Community-Based Buy-Back programme aims to educate communities to stop littering and to start source separation waste as well as selling their post-consumer plastics for recycling purposes.
- Pensos, Zoomlion and Voltic “waste for education” programme
Having recently launched Waste 4 Education Project (W4E) in partnership with the Pentecost Social Services (Pensos) and the Zoomlion Foundation, Voltic looks forward to leveraging on this partnership to educate Children within the Pentecost Schools to be environmentally conscious. “As Ambassadors, these children will start segregating plastics for rewards. The rewards will go into funding basic hygiene infrastructure as incentives for the school.
The focus of the project is to ride on the back of the Church of Pentecost (COP)’s environmental care campaign to stimulate plastic segregation in the church. The 2 focal points for the project are education and collection.
Banning plastic overnight would be a very difficult thing to achieve. However, brands are opening up in a bid to stay ahead of the innovation curve. Kudos to the many organizations blazing the environmental sustainability torch.
Above all, every brand person needs to ask the following questions. What does your brand stand for? Most importantly, what do people remember your brand for? The answer to those questions is the next big idea to propel your company that can feel like gold dust.
Paa Kwesi Forson
Head of PR, Global Media Alliance