Leading manufacturer and marketer of confectionery, Mars Wrigley, has called on the government to extent special tax incentives to manufacturers who invest in renewable energy or promote efficient energy use as an effective way to lower carbon emissions.
Speaking during the just concluded two-day Clean Energy Conference and Expo held in Nairobi, Mr. Vivian Maduray, Factory Director for Mars Wrigley Confectionery Kenya, said clean energy use tax incentives can be an indirect but effective way for the government to fight climate change.
“Additional initiatives that the government can take to promote clean energy use, particularly among manufacturers who are the largest electricity consumers, are special tax incentives and enhanced market access.” he said.
The proposal comes against the government’s recent prioritization of the manufacturing sector as part of its Big 4 Agenda. To unleash the full potential of the sector, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government intends to employ a diverse mix of incentives, reforms and policies under the Big 4 Agenda. The goal is to grow manufacturing as a share of GDP to 22% by 2022, from the current 10%.
“If the government’s ambitious goal to grow the sector is achieved, the benefits to manufacturers, the broader economy and the people of Kenya will be immense. Quality jobs will be created, investors will stream in and the country’s standing in the global economy will dramatically improve. The same is also expected to come with a huge cost to the environment hence the reason for our proposal,” he noted.
He added energy consumption in the country can be expected to grow as the manufacturing sector grows, leading to higher carbon emissions if stakeholders do not think critically about energy efficiency, green building designs and renewable energy.
“As Mars Wrigley, we have proactively made commitments on these issues at a global level as well as in the different countries in which we operate, including Kenya. Our guiding principle is the Sustainable in a Generation Plan, which outlines our commitment to grow in a way that is good for people, good for the planet and good for our business,” said Maduray.
The company plans to cut all fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2040.
Mars Wrigley newly built Kshs7billion factory in Machakos County was recently awarded for adopting green building strategies and practices in its design and construction, becoming one of the first factory in East and Central Africa to achieve LEED GOLD certification status. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, run and managed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGB).
The factory was awarded for its efforts in reducing the impact on the environment by including a biomass boiler, highly efficient utility equipment, waste water treatment plant, the use of skylights and many windows in both the factory and office to allow the site to operate during the daylight hours with very few electric lights.
Additionally, the new factory has bicycle racks and showering facilities, as well as preferential parking locations for carpool and fuel-efficient vehicles to encourage alternative forms of transportation to the site.