Footprints Africa: Paving the way for sustainable businesses in Africa
Footprints Africa is on a mission to advance sustainable, scalable, and inclusive approaches to developing local African economies. The venture supports SMEs to adopt future-friendly practices, address the challenges of growth, and create jobs, using supply chains as a tool for development.
In the heart of Africa, a mission is underway to pave the way for sustainable, scalable, and inclusive economic development. Footprints Africa, a visionary venture, is dedicated to fostering local economies by supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in adopting future-friendly practices. With a focus on two crucial sectors, Catering and Commercial Waste Management, Footprints Africa champions the idea of business as a force for good, piloting new business models that align with this ethos.
Footprints Africa’s journey has been marked by a commitment to addressing the challenges of growth and creating job opportunities within the local context. The venture utilises supply chains as a powerful tool for development, enabling SMEs to embrace future-friendly practices. Recognising the transformative potential of business, Footprints Africa emphasises the importance of adopting approaches that are not only economically viable but also environmentally and socially responsible.
Joanna Bingham, the CEO of Footprints Africa, reflects on their journey, saying, “We’ve run countless workshops, developed a 6-month B Corp programme, supported Impact Hub Accra over 50 companies, and made mistakes along the way.” This candid acknowledgement underscores the venture’s commitment to continuous improvement and learning by doing.
Footprints Africa operates under a set of visionary values that guide its mission. These include promoting local solutions to local challenges, continuous improvement, learning through action, and embracing diversity and authenticity. The venture’s vision is clear – inspiration is everywhere, and meaningful change starts with local initiatives addressing local needs.
One of Footprints Africa’s impactful initiatives is the collection of inspiring case studies from across Africa. This initiative aims to create an open-source database of best practices that not only inspire local initiatives but also contribute to the global dialogue on sustainable development. With 500 cases housed on Circle Economy’s Knowledge Hub and an interactive map, Footprints Africa seeks to diversify the narrative by focusing on African perspectives, challenging the predominantly Euro-American discourse.
Footprints Africa understands the power of collaboration in driving change. The venture collaborates with the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN), with support from Shifting Paradigms and GRID-Arendal, to amplify its impact. By working together, these organisations are shaping a narrative that highlights the importance of circular economy practices in Africa, a region with unique challenges and opportunities.
Footprints Africa’s commitment extends beyond theoretical discussions. The venture runs 6-month B Corp programmes to support SMEs in improving their social and environmental impact. Each participating company undergoes the B Impact Assessment to measure its impact across various dimensions. Setting their own targets for change in Governance, Workers, Customers, Community, and Environment, businesses are guided through expert-led workshops to enhance their contributions to sustainable and inclusive development.
Footprints Africa also collaborates with local partners. Through training initiatives, these partners become integral in supporting participating SMEs throughout the B Corp certification process. This approach not only empowers local communities but also ensures the sustainability of the impact generated.
Footprints Africa’s journey illustrates the power of aligning business with sustainable, inclusive, and locally-driven development. Their commitment to B Corp programmes, circular economy studies, and collaborative partnerships is leaving a lasting impact on the African business landscape. As the venture grows, it serves as global inspiration, emphasizing that positive change is not only possible but crucial for a better and more sustainable future.
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