The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Strategic CSR - Kenya

If you think the charge you pay for a plastic bag at your local supermarket is punitive, be grateful that you don't live in Kenya:
 
"Kenya will now punish with up to four years in jail anyone making, selling or importing plastic bags, putting in place one of the world's toughest bans on the ubiquitous item that is blamed for clogging oceans and killing marine life."
 
As the article in the url below reports, the drive to ban plastic bags is spreading worldwide, and some countries are serious about it:
 
"Kenya joins more than 40 other countries including China, the Netherlands and France that have introduced taxes on bags or limited or prohibited their use."
 
The range of ways designed to curtail use is wide, but effective:
 
"In Rwanda, plastic bags are illegal, and visitors are searched at the airport. Britain introduced a 5 pence charge at stores in 2015, leading to a plunge of more than 80 percent in the use of plastic bags."
 
In Kenya, the change in behavior targeted is massive, and prior attempts to curtail use in 2007 and 2011 failed, which is why the punishments are now so extreme:
 
"Kenyan shoppers are thought to use 100 million plastic bags a year, according to the United Nations, and the new rules created some worries in the capital, Nairobi, when they were announced. … The new regulations call for a fine of $19,000 to $38,000 or a four-year jail term for those manufacturing or importing plastic bags in Kenya. Plastics used in primary industrial packaging are exempt, according to the National Environment Management Authority, although it said that the new regulation would prohibit retailers from selling garbage bags."
 
Although ridding the world of plastic bags is going to be difficult (and there is a valid debate as to whether they are better or worse than paper or recycled bags), the problem is very real:
 
"Worldwide, plastic bags contribute to eight million tons of plastic that leak into the ocean every year, according to the United Nations Environment Program. 'At current rates, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish, wreaking havoc on marine fisheries, wildlife and tourism,' the program said in a statement when Kenya's ban was announced in March. Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to degrade, and polyethylene bags can strangle sea turtles and fill the stomachs of whales and dolphins until they die of starvation. In Kenya, livestock often graze on garbage, and bags are found in the stomachs of cows when they are slaughtered, according to the United Nations Environment Program."
 
Take care
David
 
 
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Kenya to Enforce its Ban on Selling Plastic Bags with Steep Fines and Jail Time
By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura
August 29, 2017
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final
A4