Catherine Gichungu, the Managing Director of Caly Flora Limited, believes that Small and Medium Enterprises can promote sustainable living practices and environmental conservation in Kenya.
Through her company Caly Flora and its subsequent brands Greenit Decors and Mizizi Eco Circle, Catherine is spearheading education initiatives and community engagement in promoting a sustainable way of life for Kenyans. Her company is the first in Kenya to use and create broader awareness of eco-friendly wraps to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2022, she sold 692 bouquets in eco-friendly biodegradable wraps, saving an equal number of polythene floral wraps.
Through Greenit Decors, Catherine is 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.
Under her leadership, Catherine states that “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 (1.5m and above) to ensure their survival in the environments they are transplanted to.” She has also adopted sustainable growing practices 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.
To ensure the sustainability of these projects, Caly Flora, under the Mizizi Eco Circle brand, had their maiden #Run4nature to raise awareness bringing together over 150 participants in the 'Know your tree, plant one a day' initiative. Over time, they have trained 564 school-going students, 6 homeschooling students, 80 university students, and about 70 children as part of the family visits. During these visits, they used 720 reusable growing pots.
Caly flora has been a participant of the UN Global Compact since 2020 which Catherine states has enabled them to not only learn but also build partnerships. “Through our membership to Global Compact Network Kenya, we were able to create a partnership with another UN Global Compact signatory, Assist Development Solutions Limited who developed the SDG board game that over 120 youth and children use to play at our Garden Centre thus learning about the SDGs.”
Through her business, Catherine hopes to safeguard the environment for future generations while influencing more consumers to make responsible and sustainable choices in their purchasing decisions.