Unilever: Mr Green Africa
Waste management is a huge issue in Africa and Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is no exception. The city produces around 2,400 tonnes a day, of which roughly 60% is collected and only around 10% recycled. The rest is dumped illegally or burned.
But there’s a group of people who have spotted an opportunity: to collect waste and sell it on. They aren’t employed by anyone. These are marginalised people who are simply trying to scrape together a living to survive. As such, they are routinely exploited by traders who pay them a pittance or don’t buy from them at all.
That’s what Unilever are trying to address through their partnership with Mr Green Africa, who “see these waste pickers as invisible heroes. They are the ones creating the most value in the whole waste-recycling chain. They are also making a positive contribution to society and the environment.” Unilever have a long-standing partnership with Mr Green Africa to formalise waste pickers and allow them to gain a fair wage for their work. In 2019 they supported the business to scale up with an investment to help increase processing capacity and produce higher value recycled products in larger volumes while providing employment and fair pay for workers.