Stakeholders at the Propak West Africa, discussed solutions that will boost the country’s economic sustainability and resilience through the circular economy.
This was deliberated at the 10th edition of the Propak West Africa 2023 exhibition and conference for the packaging, plastics, printing and food processing sectors which commenced on September 12 and to end on September 14, 2023 in Lagos.
Speaking at the event, the director-general of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Joseph Ajayi-Kadir said, for decades, the plastic and packaging industry in Nigeria has been a formidable engine, driving the nation’s economic vitality as it has empowered businesses, generated employment opportunities, and facilitated the distribution of essential goods to millions of Nigerians.
He however said: “in this era of heightened global awareness regarding sustainability, we find ourselves at a pivotal juncture that will not only determine the future of our industry but also profoundly influence our planet’s future.
“The undeniable growth of Nigeria’s plastic and packaging sector has been accompanied by environmental qualms. Yet, within these challenges lies remarkable opportunities for transformation, one that hinges upon the adoption of the circular economy model, innovative financing mechanisms, and international trade collaborations.”
According to MAN DG, the embrace of circular economy principles is imperative, particularly as the world increasingly recognises the urgency of transitioning from a linear, resource-depleting model to a circular one that places sustainability, resource efficiency, and environmental responsibility at the forefront.
“This transition represents an extraordinary opportunity for innovation and expansion within the plastic and packaging sector while concurrently addressing the pressing need to curtail plastic waste and its environmental repercussions.
“The journey towards a circular economy demands financial support. Aligning financial mechanisms with the circular economy framework will enable the plastic and packaging industry to unlock doors to unparalleled green economic growth,” he added.
He re-emphasised that the MAN pledges to remain unrelenting in supporting the plastic and packing industry while taking bold and strategic steps to mitigate transition risks associated with adapting circularity in the manufacturing sector.
He noted that the risks of transitioning to circular manufacturing are real, but so are the rewards, saying “we find ourselves at a crossroads; a pivotal moment in history when our choices will profoundly impact future generations.
“Embracing circularity is not merely an ethical imperative; it is a strategic necessity. It is the pathway to a world where industry and ecology can coexist, where prosperity is sustainable, and where the legacy we leave is one of responsible stewardship.”
The regional director, Afrocet Montgomery, George Pearson stated that, “since the launch of Propak West Africa 10 years ago, the event has firmly established its statue as the leading platform for local and international suppliers to meet, network and do business with the largest gathering of major manufactures and SMEs in Nigeria.”