In a bid to rid the ocean of plastic waste, Nestlé employees and partners volunteered to clean-up Afia Beach in the Korle Klottey Municipality in the Greater Accra region. The exercise is in line with the Company’s global employee volunteering initiative “Nestlé Cares” and its broader vision to achieve a waste-free future.
Addressing the plastic waste challenge requires behavior change from all and Nestlé believes that there is no better place to start than from within. This is why 310 Nestlé employees volunteered to clean and collected 13.5 tonnes of waste including 3.2 tonnes plastic along the shoreline which will then be recycled or recovered. Volunteers were from the company’s 4 sites in Ghana namely, its Central and West Africa regional Headquarters, Nestlé Business Services (a shared service center for Africa), Nestlé Ghana Ltd. head office and its factory in Tema.
Inspired by the words of Nestlé Global CEO, Mark Schneider, “Collective action is vital, which is why we are also engaging consumers, business partners and our Nestlé colleagues to play their part”, Nestlé company partnered with the Korle-Klottey Municipal Assembly, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the District Directorate of Health to commemorate World Oceans Day. The company also partnered the largest waste-management company in Ghana, Zoomlion who supported with tools and equipment as well the recycling or recovery of collected waste.
Speaking at the event, the Market Head of Nestlé Central and West Africa, Remy Ejel said, “through this initiative, we are fostering good behavior about sustainable disposal of plastic waste. This is also one way we bring to life our purpose of “ enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future ””. He added, “We can only attain the Sustainable Development Goals by showing commitment and working together to steward resources for future generations”.
According to Philomena Tan, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, “Caring for the environment requires more than commitment, therefore, at Nestlé we ensure that we bring our commitments to life by walking the talk. We want to ensure that we create value in society by making societal challenges and business needs intersect”. “We will continue to play our part to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment where we operate”, she added.
In Ghana, over 3, 000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated each day with less than 2% recycled. It is estimated that more than 250,000 tonnes, 23% of all plastic waste generated in Ghana are expected to flow into the Atlantic Ocean, according to the US Embassy in Ghana.
In a solidarity message delivered on his behalf, Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. John Alexis Pwamang said government recognizes that plastics are a source of wealth thus are working with stakeholders to develop comprehensive strategy that would deal with the plastic menace”. He added that government has already started working to ensure that solid and liquid effluent from industries are treated before they are discharged”. He commended Nestlé for taking the initiative and encouraged other companies to do same.
Mr. Kweku Quansah, Deputy Director Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources on his side “Environmental Sanitation is a shared responsibility; Government alone cannot resolve the issue surrounding the environment, likewise corporate organizations. It is therefore important to work together with the private sector to take actions to protect the environment. Mr. Kwansah also called for public sensitization on waste management as means to safeguarding the environment. “Behavioral change and law enforcement is key to maintaining healthier environment”, he added.
In the past week, employees of Nestlé have carried out similar clean-up activities across the region such including Angola , Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Nigeria Senegal, with the goal of shaping a waste-free future and caring for the planet. In April 2018, the world’s largest food and beverage announced a series of specific actions towards meeting its commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
In Ghana, Nestlé is a founding member of the Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises, a coalition of manufacturing companies advocating for plastic waste management.