May 19, 2020

Plastic bag ban comes into force in Kenya

kenya
Environment
Plastic bag ban
plastic
Fran Roberts
2 min
Plastic bag ban comes into force in Kenya

The Kenyan High Court on Friday rejected a challenge to the country’s proposed plastic bag ban, which subsequently came into force yesterday.

According to the government, the ban will help protect the environment but manufacturers of the bags have argued that 80,000 jobs could be lost.

Those who have built businesses within the plastic bag manufacturing segment stand to lose everything.

Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of US$40,000, as the world’s toughest law aimed at reducing plastic pollution came into effect.

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“With the ban, I am staring at losing an estimated Sh200mn [US$1.9mn] which I have strained so much to build in the last four years. I do not know where to start and what I will do next,” said World Plastic Company proprietor Peter Burugu.

“There will be massive job losses as the about 200 plastic bags manufacturers in the country employ thousands of people directly and indirectly,” he added.

Samuel Matonda, spokesman for the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), said it would cost 60,000 jobs and force 176 manufacturers to close.

Kenya is a major exporter of plastic bags to the region.

“The knock-on effects will be very severe,” Matonda said. “It will even affect the women who sell vegetables in the market – how will their customers carry their shopping home?”

Major chain supermarkets have reportedly begun giving customers cloth bags as an alternative to plastic.

The East African nation joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, as part of a drive to help protect the environment.

Marine life often suffers from plastic bags drifting into water bodies, with animals suffocating or being strangled when they become entangled in the plastic handles.

Earlier this year, scientists revealed that one of the world's most remote islands in the Pacific was lined with vast quantities of plastic.

“If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Habib El-Habr, an expert on marine litter working with the UN Environment Programme in Kenya.

Plastic bags, which El-Habr says take between 500 to 1,000 years to break down, also enter the human food chain through fish and other animals.

In Nairobi’s slaughterhouses, some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs.

Kenya's ban is seen as one of the toughest in the world, although officials say that for now, ordinary shoppers will be warned and have their bags confiscated.

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Tapoly
Insurance
Leadership
Digital
Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.

Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills. 

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.

How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?

I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.

They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?

The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless. 

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.

 

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