Everybody who has been in any of the African cities and the associated traffic always has questioned themselves: “why does everyone else need to move to the same place as I do…” The congestion-plagued cities are not a one-of-a-kind case but are certainly among the world’s worst with respect to traffic. This has not only caused a lot of losses in terms of leisure and working time, but also a lot of traffic-related pollution and resources. This pollution causes climate change, but also a health hazard to the city populations.
Rapid urbanization in Africa has caused a flood of people that all need to commute from A to B. Moreover, the fact that Africans have become richer over the years have caused a rising trend towards car ownership and use. The worst of it, all old cars that are banned in Japan or in Europe and exported to Africa, with bad pollution as a result. Finally, the road infrastructure has not kept up with this huge rise in passenger-miles. To confront all of these issues, African cities need to develop better urban planning systems.
An old view of Nairobi with little traffic. Source: http://meriamata.blogspot.com/2018/04/tbt-old-nairobi.html
Sustainable forms of public transportation
Building more and more roads is a solution that is certainly viable to a certain extent. However, this requires careful planning and prediction of where passengers will come from and would like to travel to. Not only this but also for the future, since infrastructure will last for at least thirty years to come.
An old but not forgotten strategy is opting for a multi-modal transport system. Multi-modal means that various options of moving around are used when travelling from A to B. The Dutch are famous for their bikes and many bike-miles throughout the year. However, the strength of bikes is amplified if it is combined with public transport: Cycling towards a train or bus station, travel a longer distance, and then either walk to work or hire a single-use bike. In this way, up to four modes of transport are used, each efficient in its own area.
For cycling to work on the continent, safety should be inherently designed into the cities. Raised curbs, protected areas and car-free zones are options. In this video, it becomes clear how bikes can work together in shared spaces. You will see pedestrians, cars, buses, bikes and trams, all in one junction safely operating between each other.
3 tips for management teams to improve corporate sustainability
Strategy is aligned with sustainability:Looking at the efforts on sustainability at Fujitsu, it is clear that sustainability is entrenched in the business model. If the contrary is the case, truly we will see a sustainability strategy that is fragile with no real commitment from top management as well as from employees, as it does not create win-win for both the organization and the stakeholders.
Engage from the top: The sustainability agenda needs to be from the top and there is no other way for it to succeed and to have buy-in in the organization. Fujitsu is speaking from the top. One eye-catching fact is that Masami Yamamoto Chairman, Fujitsu Ltd Is in the Executive Committee of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.
Engage your suppliers:There is need to have collaboration with the suppliers to ensure efficient sustainability practices. For instance, Fujitsu, has a goal to reduce CO2 emission in its supply chain. This will be achieved by requesting the first and second-tier business partners to implement CO2 reduction activities. The company has also instituted mechanisms to support its suppliers to enable them to achieve these objectives.
In sum, sustainability is a major challenge- one that matters beyond individual companies. The fact that more and more large companies are showing the way in terms of forward-thinking sustainability policies is a move in the right direction. We will need to create more awareness so that eventually the SMEs can help promote responses to climate change, creating a prosperous and sustainable world.