LBS Sustainability Centre and ACT Foundation Champion Youth Entrepreneurship and Sustainability in Waste Management

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LBS Sustainability Centre and ACT Foundation Champion Youth Entrepreneurship and Sustainability in Waste Management

Lagos Business School Sustainability (LBSSC) and Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation completed the third cycle of the Leadership Programme for Sustainable Waste Management (LPSWM) on October 14, 2021. This year, the programme had over 40 young Nigerian Participants who work in the waste management sector or run their own waste management focused initiatives and social enterprises. The programme is one of  the LBS’ initiatives to drive Nigeria’s transition to a circular economy and create sustainable communities. 

Developed by the LBS Sustainability Centre with support from the ACT Foundation, the Programme is a leadership and enterprise capacity building platform for youth empowerment in mitigating the environmental and health implications of improper waste management. The programme also aims to improve the operational and financial viability of waste management businesses. The 2021 cohort are the 3rd set of entrepreneurs to graduate from the programme since its inception in 2019. Through this initiative, over 130 young Nigerians have been trained to develop businesses and initiatives that provide solutions to the unique challenges of waste management in Nigeria.

In her opening speech, the Director of Programmes and Grants,  Ndifreke Okwuegbunam  stressed the importance of the programme in advancing environmental sustainability in Africa,  as Africa experiences its fastest rate of urbanization in the last two decades, the consequences of poor waste management practices continue to plague our continent and quality of life. ACT Foundation is proud to support the Lagos Business School Leadership and Waste Management Programme as a platform for advancing environmental sustainability and empowering young Nigerian entrepreneurs creating socio-economic values that address critical environmental challenges”. Speaking during the stakeholder engagement session, Mrs Miranda Amachree, Director of  Inspection and Enforcement, Nigeria National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency  (NESREA) commented on the importance of the programme in ensuring the entrance of young talents into the sector as well as the impact that their activities will have in the long run on a healthy and safe environment for all Nigerians. 

The programme is delivered in a hybrid format, which includes 5 weeks of online module delivery, an experiential learning trip and in-person classes all delivered by LBS faculty, international and in-country industry experts and with the support of private and public sector partners. Through the programme, participants were exposed to a variety of topics –  Emerging Technologies for Sustainable Waste Management, Circular Economy and Waste Prevention, Leadership for Sustainable Waste Management, Stakeholder Engagement and Management,  Developing Innovative Social Business Models, Socio-Environmental Impact in Waste Management, Human Capital Sustainability in Waste Management, Duty of Care and Extended Producer Responsibility.

Since the inception of the programme, participants have gone on to develop  innovations and initiatives as a result of the knowledge gained. Sharing his experience on the programme, a 2020 Participant, Sunday Sholanke, Co-founder and Teamlead of Petspoint Recycling, said “the programme prompted me to rethink my business model and develop a technological solution to solve the problem of waste separation and lack of data on waste collection prevalent in the Nigeria”. 

For Ayomide Adewunmi, a 2021 participant, “the programme exposed me to the urgent need for advocacy in the implementation of policies regulating the dumping of hazardous waste in Nigeria, prompting me to engage the Nigerian BAR Association on the issue”. 

Another participant, Oluwatosin Ogunsola- Director of Pan-African Affairs/Sustainable Green Environment Initiative described the impact of the programme saying, “the programme on Sustainable Waste Management delivered the needed information and tools to structure and effectively run a viable enterprise, execute initiatives, projects and formulate better policies. As Director of Pan-Africa Affairs for Sustainable Green Environment Initiative, I will continue to utilize this knowledge to design and implement waste management programmes from an informed position to drive green economy across Africa in pursuance of AU Agenda 2063.”

The programme is also supported by key stakeholders including the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Food Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA), E-Waste Producer Responsibility Organisation of Nigeria (EPRON), Recyclers Association of Nigeria (RAN). 

According to the Managing Director of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) “the programme is an innovative initiative and a solution to the waste management challenge in Lagos State.  According to predictions by the world economic forum, by 2030, Lagos state is set to become one of the world’s megacities therefore it is imperative  to develop capacity to manage the waste that will emanate from rapid urbanization and population growth”.

Speaking on the uniqueness of the programme, the Lead Facilitator and Manager of the LBS Sustainability Centre, Mrs Oreva Atanya emphasized the importance of the sustainability mindset which is central to the programme design. According to her “the sessions are deliberately set up to encourage participants to generate creative ideas which will be economically viable, socially impactful and environmentally responsible. This mindset shift is critical for galvanizing the much needed transformation in the waste management sector”.

ACT Foundation is a grant-making organisation established in 2016, as a national and regional non – profit organisation working to address challenges and associated vulnerabilities across the African Continent. The foundation is 100% funded by Access Bank Plc with an independent board and has the vision to leverage relationships to create effective social impact solutions across Africa. ACT Foundation has over 1500 non-profits within its network across Africa and also has various strategic collaborations with private, public and social organisations.

LBS Sustainability Centre was established in 2010 as a knowledge hub which brings together theory and practice on sustainability in Africa. The Centre builds leadership skills and supports constructive dialogue and collaboration between business, government, civil society and academics to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges. The Centre’s initiatives reach over 2000 individuals and organisations annually.

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