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Unilever Nigeria signs $2 mln partnership with Bridges Outcomes on plastic waste management

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Unilever Nigeria and Bridges Outcomes Partnerships have agreed to a $2 million US Agreement to help social entrepreneur Wecyclers expand plastic waste collection in the country.

This comes as it expressed concern over the growing amount of plastic garbage caused by an increase in the consumption of plastic beverages and meals, among other things.

Furthermore, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) reported that plastic use in Nigeria increased by 116.26 percent in 15 years to 1.25 million tonnes.

The partnership, which was formed through an innovative ‘Development Impact Bond’ structured by French investment bank, Societe Generale, will allow Wecyclers to create hundreds of jobs to scale up operations that take up plastic waste from the environment to be used as raw materials for industries, according to the announcement by the partners to seal the deal and mark its centennial celebration.

According to the managing director of Unilever Nigeria, Carl Cruz, the company has been collaborating with Wecyclers since 2014 as part of Unilever’s ‘waste to wealth’ campaign, which aims to help local organizations figure out how to create value and jobs through the reduction, collection, recycling, and reusing of plastic waste.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s debt to World Bank rises 121% to $13.9 bln, now top 4 debtor nations

He stated that, under the partnership, seed funding from Unilever, UK Government and EY joint project called Transform helped Wecyclers expand their successful franchise and collection model.

He, however, stated that, as an entrepreneurial social enterprise, Wecyclers lacked access to the long-term funding needed to build on that progress and significantly scale up this model.

“The unique Development Impact Bond provides a solution to that challenge. It includes social, environmental, and financial targets, which will see Wecyclers collect more than 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste over the next five years, create over 700 jobs in recycling franchises across Nigeria, and improve the incomes of thousands of waste sorters.

“This funding is a major step forward for us in our work to ensure plastics waste stays out of the Nigerian environment,” he said.

On his part, the managing director, Wecyclers, Wale Adebiyi, said Wecyclers started with one bicycle and a dream, and through hard work and entrepreneurship, it has built a scalable model courtesy of the Development Impact Bond that will create hundreds of jobs, and improve the income of thousands of sorters, expected to earn 25 percent more than they do currently.

“All the partners involved hope this experience in Nigeria will inspire the further development and use of such Bonds globally to finance organisations tackling similar challenges,” he added.

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