unep- “Now we are empowered, we can produce eco-friendly shoes with the quality we want”
After working with SWITCH-Africa Green, Champion Shoes of Kenya boasts consistent surge in profits, quality of products and sustainability.
On the factory floor of Champion Shoes in Thika, northeast of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, James Mwaura, owner of Champion Shoes, is pointing to a pile of irregularly-shaped black rubber offcuts that would once have been discarded as waste from the process of making gents and school shoes.
“This is the most important part of the business. This is money for us— before, we used to throw it away,” said James.
“Before” was almost two years ago, when SWITCH-Africa Green’s team began working with the Kenyan MSME (micro, small and medium enterprise) to help it green and improve its processes on the basis of all three pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental.
The products generated from the waste material— ladies’ and babies’ open shoes and leather key holders— yielded a pure profit of 215,500 Kenyan shillings (about $2,079) in 2016. “Before” in 2012, the company’s entire profit was 20,000 Kenyan shillings.
The enterprise now also reduces waste by using old tyres for the soles of some shoes. It also lets other local shoes factories use idle machines at a fee, optimizing the use of resources.
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