Kenyan Trailblazer Catherine Gichungu Honoured as UN Global Compact 2023 SDG Pioneer in New York
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).
Caly Flora is a company that specializes in producing and selling indigenous tree seedlings, eco-friendly packaging of flowers, vermiculture, advocacy for indigenous trees, teaching children about environmental conservation, composting, among other activities that promote sustainability and biodiversity.
Catherine Gichungu 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. She received the prestigious award at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York, where she was one of just two Africans to attain this remarkable accomplishment this year.
The SDG Pioneer Programme is an initiative that recognizes dedicated professionals who drive and innovate solutions through new technologies, initiatives and business models that can enable us to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The search focused on professionals working at any level in a company participating in the UN Global Compact.
Catherine’s journey to becoming a global leader in sustainability started with her passion for nature and her vision to create a positive impact on the environment and society. She founded Caly Flora in 2018 with the aim of providing quality indigenous tree seedlings to customers who want to plant trees for various purposes such as landscaping, reforestation, agroforestry, among others.
She also launched Greenit Decors, a brand that offers eco-friendly flower wraps to reduce the carbon footprint of the floral industry. Last year, the company sold record-breaking bouquets in biodegradable wraps, saving numerous polythene floral wraps that would have had an effect on the environment.
Through her company and its subsequent brands, Catherine Gichungu has been spearheading education initiatives and community engagement in promoting a sustainable way of life for Kenyans. She has partnered with schools, churches, NGOs, corporates and individuals to raise awareness and inspire action on environmental conservation.
She has also adopted sustainable growing practices such as vermiculture, a natural process that takes place in natural forests to produce worm juice as a natural fertilizer for the garden centre. Through this process, she has been able to produce 10 liters of worm juice per week, which she uses to nourish her plants and also sells to other farmers.
Catherine Gichungu says that her 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 she does passionately at Caly Flora. She is grateful for this global recognition and happy that Caly Flora has been put on the global map for the work they do in sustainability here in Kenya.
She added that “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)”
She also expressed her appreciation to her team, customers, partners and supporters who have been instrumental in making her dream a reality. She said that she is motivated to continue working hard and innovating new ways to make a difference in the world.
Catherine’s story is an inspiration to many young entrepreneurs who aspire to make an impact on society and the environment through their businesses. She is proof that with passion, dedication and innovation, one can achieve great things and become a global leader in sustainability.