WINDHOEK – Environmental responsibility is something that Namibians collectively need to embrace, from individuals to corporate companies, State-Owned Enterprises and government.
This was the message by Patricia Hoeksema, chairperson of the Recycle Namibia Forum and Corporate Relations Manager at the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group, during an Environmental Compliance Conference held last week. “Much more can be done if everybody embraces their responsibility to do the right things right, as many institutions are not yet holding themselves accountable for their environmental impact,” said Hoeksema.
She went on to note that globally, many businesses realised that their ability to look after profit and people were increasingly dependent on the planet, and were therefore investing heavily in environmental sustainability not only because their production inputs were limited and needed to be managed sustainably, but more so because they embraced their responsibility on externalities. “In Namibia however, long before this international trend started, many businesses already embraced their environmental responsibility with the view of managing our scarce resources and preserving our beautiful country for future generations. The positive change we are seeing is the incorporation of great new technologies that allow organisations to gain major traction in realising their environmental objectives. This has seen Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF) members like Namibia Breweries install Africa’s largest solar rooftop plant in 2014, and MPACT innovate to use treated waste water to make glue for the manufacturing of cardboard boxes,” she said.
She added that companies like Namibia Dairies are exploring Bio Gas options while Rent-A-Drum has invested heavily in the establishment of a Material Recovery Facility to sort and contain recyclables, while Plastic Packaging and Namibia Polymer Recyclers manufacture locally and create jobs through recycling of plastics. “These are but a few examples of how RNF members have embraced innovation to support their commitment to sustainable environmental practices. We however need all stakeholders in Namibia to do their part in preserving our country,” remarked Hoeksema.
She elaborated on the conference participation and said that RNF participated in order to share the environmental successes members have achieved in their own capacities, and through their involvement with the Recycle Namibia Forum. “There are a number of organisations that have proven their commitment to environmental preservation by actively promoting the 3R’s (re-using, reducing and recycling). It is vital in this industry that we exchange best practices while at the same time appeal to all stakeholders to do everything they can to realise their environmental responsibility. The need to look after our environment stems largely from the implications of modern-day society and the impact of globalisation, population growth, shrinking agricultural production and consumerism. This creates the paradox of growing needs amidst a shrinking resource base, which is why it is in the interest of everyone to address the environmental dilemma,” she added.
She appealed to all Namibians to realise their responsibility in assisting with re-using, reducing and recycling and added that all Namibians need to create a culture of environmental care beyond our own organisation. “Through commitment and collaboration we can overcome the challenge of distances, low volumes, lack of sorting and containment, and transportation – to help make Namibia the African country with the highest success in reducing, reusing and recycling,” Hoeksema concluded.