Industries need to display good corporate citizenship

Waste management and minimisation is still a fledgling enterprise for many countries across the continent of Africa.

Despite robust regulations in place governing this area, enforcement by authorities and compliance by industries still falls short.

Waste management in Africa needs to be supported by local municipalities and governments in order to stimulate it as a real enterprise. That’s according to Dapo Oguntoyinbo, General Manager HSSE, Shell Oil Products Africa. Oguntoyinbo is a speaker at the marcus evans Waste Management and Minimisation Conference taking place in Nairobi on 10-11 February.

Shell Oil Products Africa takes waste very seriously and works to comply with all the legislation and regulations, says Oguntoyinbo.

“We endeavour to be good corporate citizens to make sure we manage our waste from where it is generated to where it is disposed in an acceptable manner. Waste is evidence of how efficient or effective your operations are. Right from the start we try to minimise as much as possible and make sure we don’t have a huge amount of waste as that would mean our processes are not very efficient.

“In looking at how best to manage the waste we first of all we look at trying to reduce it from where it is being generated and then see if that particular waste can be reused. For example, oily sludge can be used by cement companies for energy recovery, whilst the dry sand can be use as silicate for bond to mix up with the cement.”

Oguntoyinbo says it isn’t an issue of not enough regulations being in place rather whether industries are complying with the guidelines for waste management.

“The regulations are in place and are comparable to what exists in Europe. However, in some countries in Africa the enforcement is lacking. In Europe it is much better as there is good engagement with industry. Sampling takes place to ensure that what a company indicates it is doing in its reports is what is actually happening. In Africa, there are some countries that are very compliant like South Africa, Morocco and Mauritius but it’s not the case across Africa.”

A further pressing issue for waste management and minimisation in Africa is the lack of waste management facilities, he explains.

“We don’t have a lot of certified hazardous waste landfill for chemical waste etc. When you don’t have such facilities the waste ends up in domestic landfill and that can be a problem. We have not got to a point where we have committed the waste management industries efficiently.”

Looking to the future, Oguntoyinbo adds that a mindset change would see waste management being seen as a valuable source of wealth creation.

“It’s about changing the idea that waste is something you don’t need to seeing it as a way to make money. People should be encouraged to go into the waste management industry and recycle waste and create wealth from it.”

It is through a strong vision and leadership that waste management and minimisation will become a priority for a company, Oguntoyinbo confirms.

“You can see how the vision of management and shared leadership can actually stimulate and drive the waste management industry and make sure that we create wealth for society. It’s about seeing the environment and waste management as a real concern to be taken seriously by industries.”

The marcus evans Waste Management and Minimisation Conference will take place in Nairobi on 10-11 February.