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Wambui Wainaina - The Lawyer With an Instinct for Environmental Sustainability

Running a business is not as easy as it seems, but you should always have the drive even during the tough times for it to survive.

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Running a business is not as easy as it seems, but you should always have the drive even during the tough times for it to survive.

Many people don’t take climate change seriously and are unaware of the harm they cause to the environment. Few take the time to do something about it. We met Wambui Wanaina, a visionary lawyer passionately advocating for environmental conservation through her business Natural Instinct which is a sustainable social enterprise that advocates for behavioral change to help conserve the environment.

Natural Instinct has a product line of reusable shopping bags carrying a fun and informative message that prompts the public to normalize environmental conservation. Read on to find out more about her journey and what it takes to run a business. 

Who is Wambui Wainaina?  

I am a lawyer by profession and currently specialising in environmental activism. I am  very passionate about environmental conservation and that motivated me to start my  organization - Natural Instinct. I have previously worked with the National Environment Management  Authority (NEMA) and that makes me conversant with the policies governing the  environmental sector in Kenya. 

What is Natural Instinct about and how did you get started in this business?  

Natural Instinct was birthed after a sad realization that plastic is now everywhere and that  reality needs to change as soon as possible. The brand's mission is to rid the environment  of single-use plastic. We plan on doing that by using a portion of the proceeds from our products to create awareness by sensitizing children around the country on the dangers of  plastic pollution.  

A selection of products made by Natural Instinct.

Who is your mentor when it comes to your career? 

My mother is my mentor. She instilled the values of environmental sustainability in me as I grew  up and I always seek her wisdom and knowledge whenever I feel stuck when running my  organisation. 

How do you operate your business from a management perspective? 

First, I have realised the importance of partnerships and the role that they play on a long-term  basis. They have helped me break business barriers without my personal intervention. I also make sure that I maintain a good relationship with my suppliers. This has enabled  me to deliver products to clients in good time. 

What are the biggest challenges in your line of work?  

Changing people’s mindset - most people are not aware of the harm their actions have caused to the planet. Be it overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels or deforestation. All these things trigger  climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality and undrinkable water. These unconscious practices make it harder for people to value environmental sustainability. 

The other is slow and/or failure of policy implementation. Our government is aware of the current  environmental degradation but is not willing to fast track the process. It is unfortunate that  some of our leaders have vested interests in the supply of some of these single-use plastic  products. The value of these products is low hence the common mwananchi will easily acquire and litter them. This is why we are currently experiencing plastic pollution which is a global menace. 

How has technology impacted your business networking? 

I’m particularly grateful to various social media platforms that have made it so easy to connect  with people in the same field as I am. It is always a learning session for me whenever I login to  my social media accounts. 

Through technology I have also been able to sign new clients and other stakeholders.

Where do you see your organisation in the years to come?  

We hope to create a curriculum that will be incorporated in primary schools in Kenya that teach  children on the importance of environmental conservation. Our goal is to have future generations  grow up with the instinct to protect our natural resources. 

Any parting shot or key points on running a business. 

Running a business is not as easy as it seems, but you should always have the drive even during  the tough times for it to survive.

Written by

Cindy Nyagah

Cindy Nyaga is a passionate writer with diverse skills and communications and media expertise. Her hobbies include; writing, volunteering and travelling.

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