The Circular Economy Innovation Partnership (CEIP) has unveiled its new initiative, the Circular Business Platform following the conclusion of its LOOPLab Incubation Programme, under the Circular Lagos Initiative.

The Senior Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals to the Governor of Lagos State, Lekan Fatodun, who represented Solape Hammond, Special Adviser, Lagos State Office on SDGs and Investment expressed his support for the program and its outcomes.

He said, “We are glad that the Circular Exchange program is driving conversations around the need for circularity in Lagos. However, we also recognize that this is not a conversation for just a few stakeholders to realize all the opportunities of circular Lagos as there are a few challenges in achieving the critical miles of innovation in this sector”.

The Lagos State Government has embraced the new approach to transform product use while driving economic growth through Circular Lagos. This project launched by the Government in partnership with CEIP highlights strong commitments to act as a nexus for cultivating the public-private sector participation in Circular Lagos.

The high-level forum held at Four Points by Sheraton, Victoria Island, themed “Circular Exchange-The New Economy”, facilitated discussions about financing for waste management entrepreneurs, building opportunities for circular businesses and investments in Lagos and facilitating trade of information about circular opportunities between circular businesses.

It also supported the graduation of the 2022 LOOPLab innovators and research fellows, award presentations and the unveiling of the Circular Business Platform (CBP), an independent organization designed to promote the development of circular business and investment activities in Lagos.

The Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, explained that there is a distinct gap between the linear and circular economies, and for excellent ideas and innovation to thrive in a circular economy, discussions, debate, research, and intervention are required. The Circular Business Platform (CBP) has been a long journey involving engagements and collaboration between stakeholders from all over the world, ensuring that all key players in the value chain are fully engaged to create a platform that is considered to enhance a circular economy for long-term environmental and economic development.

Speaking about the benefit of climate change innovations, Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien, Founder, Growing Business Foundation and member, International Sustainability Standards Board of the IFRS, explained that oftentimes stakeholders focus on the negatives of climate change while failing to embrace the opportunities.

In her words, “This is why we have launched all these projects; the Circular Lagos Project, the Circular Exchange Event, the LOOPLab Incubation and Research Fellowship Programme and the Circular Business Platform. She added “We are heading towards COP27 which is being tagged as an African COP. Remember that at COP26, $130 trillion was committed towards climate-related investments and through this, one of the things we have to do, is to make sure that some of those investments come to our state, enabling the support and scaling of climate solution businesses and innovations”.

Also speaking at the event on the coordination and collaboration in the new (circular) economy, Ms. Leoine Van der Stiji, Deputy Consul General, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Lagos, said she feels good to be at an event like this, acknowledging the changes in the systems by which Nigerians once operated. Our entire system is typically based on drawing resources from plants, sending them to factories, turning them into products, and dumping them. 60% of our clothes worldwide are made from plastic. 99% of our clothes go into landfills, and 40% of the products from the fast fashion industries are not utilized; they never leave the factories or are dumped without being used. We are borrowing from the future with no plans on how to pay it off because our linear system still allows shortcuts.

Ms. Leoine believes that additional work should be done. “We have the brains to do better with more equitable and sustainable business opportunities, breaking old patterns. With the launch of the Circular Business Platform, entrepreneurs, researchers, civil society, and the government will be able to make innovative ideas a reality in the business setting, replacing linear ways of consumption and disposal with circular ways leading the feeding of products back into the system to pay our outstanding debt to the inevitable future that is catching up with us.

The Circular Business Platform was initiated in partnership with business, research, and advocacy organizations and the Lagos State Government and it is supported by many private sector players like GIZ, Coca-Cola, Lafarge, Nigeria Breweries, Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance, GBF, NCIC, BASF, Sweep Smart, Circular Economy Innovation Partnership (CEIP) and the Netherlands Consulate in Lagos.