Growing Sustainability And Shared Value During The Pandemic
Social entrepreneur Mary Thuo, founder and managing director of cityscape trends services
Cityscape trends services limited is a social enterprise in the commercial cleaning and maintenance industry. We use our core business to positively impact our environment and the society.
With the rest of the world, africa as a continent has felt the effects of covid-19 on businesses. business owners are coming up with ways to work around the pandemic while guaranteeing the safety of their employees. Cityscape trends services (cst), based in nairobi kenya, has been working on a project that works towards creating a greener future while promoting the health and wellbeing of all our employees.
A brainstorm between the cst sustainability team and stewards resulted in a decision to launch the cycling to work: cycling towards a greener future project based on the realisation that public transport for our employees puts them at a higher risk of infection.
Our stewards earn the minimum wage, and hence have limited options for safe but affordable means of transport. The brainstorm focused on identifying a means of transport that is safe, flexible and allows them some financial savings. We realised that they spend an average of 40% of their salaries on transport, straining their income and meaning they are unable to meet their basic needs. cycling was widely agreed upon and a pilot program was started.
In the first two months, the pilot team saved more than 90% of what they would generally spend on transport. This helps them and their families cope with the tough economic times brought on by the pandemic.
Apart from the economic benefit, those cycling highlighted how it became a form of stress relief, giving them peace of mind after a long day of work. The project started with six bicycles and we are looking at getting thirty-six more for the remaining staff. At the same time, this project helps us reduce our carbon footprint which is also contributing towards achieving sdg13: climate action.
We believe that by giving bicycles and letting our team own them gives them a resource that benefits not only them but their families. This goes beyond employment, and is what we would encourage other employers to do to ensure sustainability and shared value. Create an impact within your community which begins with your own employees and spreads out to society.