Companies with women on their boards or in top management tend to be more environmentally responsible around their operations compared to male-dominated organisations, a new study shows.
The report by Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) and Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) points to the importance of gender diversity among companies.
The Kenya’s Corporate Environmental Performance report was launched on Thursday and reveals progress made by firms in observing environmentally-friendly practices.
“Company CEOs and Boards are very critical in terms of championing the sustainability agenda in their organizations,” said KCIC chief executive Edward Mungai during the report launch in Nairobi.
Along the gender line, the study, however, revealed that the longer the women stayed in top management ranks, the less they tended to care about environmental sustainability side of their business.
With time, the female executives were more likely to get assimilated into ‘male’ mindsets of economic prioritizing and lose sight of advocacy for sustainable practices.
Sampled firms reported that consumers are increasingly becoming demanding with regard to how products are produced. Consumers are steadily moving in the direction of green, sustainable consumerism.
Further, the report indicated that, given a chance, 61 percent of the employees would voluntarily contribute to sustainable environmental practices.
Still, there are barriers to implementing environmental management practices in Kenya, the report says.
The list includes little support from relevant institutions, limited returns from environmental management investments and constrained financial resources.
Despite these challenges, Dr Augustine Kenduiywa, deputy director of Climate Change at the Ministry of Environment said, “The government of Kenya is leading in Africa in matters pertaining to sustainability and environmental change in the corporate sector.”
Kenduiywa urged sector players to collaborate more and enhance awareness as well as build capacity on environmental management practices. Firms were also challenged to invest in research and development so as to promote creativity and innovation in solving challenges around sustainable development.