Catherine Gichungu, a Kenyan entrepreneur and CEO of Caly Flora, has earned international recognition from the United Nations as one of 12 global business leaders who have demonstrated progress and commitment towards advancing Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).
During a prestigious award ceremony at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York, Catherine was honoured for her outstanding contributions to the advancement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the implementation of the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, environment, labour and anti-corruption.
(TOP: Catherine Gichungu, the CEO of Caly Flora).
The prestigious fete, popularly known as the SDG Pioneer Programme drew participants from more than 100 nations, and Catherine stood out as one of just two Africans to attain this remarkable accomplishment this year.
The search focused on professionals working at any level in a company participating in the UN Global Compact.
Through her company Caly Flora and its subsequent brands Greenit Decors and Mizizi Eco Circle, Catherine has been spearheading education initiatives and community engagement in promoting a sustainable way of life for Kenyans.
Caly Flora is the first in Kenya to use and create broader awareness of eco-friendly flower wraps to reduce its carbon footprint. Last year, the Company sold record breaking bouquets in eco-friendly biodegradable wraps, saving numerous polythene floral wraps that would have had an effect on the environment.
Through Greenit Decors, Catherine is also addressing the Kenyan Ecosystem’s rapid decline of indigenous tree species that play a vital role in curbing soil erosion, protecting water catchment areas, providing food, livelihoods, and promoting biodiversity in general.
In a bid to drive sustainability, Catherine says: “My Recognition by the UN Global Compact as one of the 12 Global SDG pioneer leaders for 2023 is a confidence booster and validation for the work that we do passionately at Carly Flora. I am grateful for this global recognition and I am happy that Carly Flora has been put on the global map for the work we do in sustainability here in Kenya. Our work involves production of indigenous tree seedlings, Eco friendly packaging of flowers, vermiculture, advocacy for indigenous trees, teaching children about environmental conservation, composting, among others which is significant in conservation of nature and bio-diversity.”
She added: “This award is also a confirmation that Small to Medium Enterprises like ours have a significant role to play in carrying out their operations in a sustainable manner. Matters sustainability is not just for the big players but for everyone and we all have a role to play in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
“We have grown at least 45 species of indigenous tree seedlings, kept a minimum 100,000 trees Garden Centre and sold over 14,000 indigenous trees in 2022 alone while setting standards on the sizes of trees to sell at 1.5 meters and above to ensure their survival in the environments they are transplanted to.”
In addition, Catherine has also adopted a sustainable growing practice such as vermiculture – a natural process that takes place in natural forests to produce 10 liters of worm juice per week to act as a natural fertilizer for the Garden Centre.
According to UN Global Compact Executive Director and CEO Sanda Ojiambo who presented the awards, the SDG Pioneers programme recognizes dedicated professionals like Catherine who drive and innovate solutions through new technologies, initiatives and business models that can enable us to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
“We hope their work will inspire others to advance the Global Goals by implementing our Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption,” she added.
While recognising Catherine’s fete, Global Compact Network Kenya Executive Director Judy Njino said that Global Compact Kenya is proud of her achievement, and it is a true statement of the work the local chapter is doing in building sustainability capacity of its members. “This is the third global win the Kenya Network has attained through its participants and we are happy to see companies and organisations embrace sustainability in their operations,” Ms. Njino said.
Global Compact Network Kenya is the Local Network of the United Nations Global Compact that is working to accelerate and scale the collective impact of businesses in Kenya by upholding the Ten Principles on Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti-corruption and delivering the SDGs through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change.