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A Business Model that Has Changed Addis’ Landscape and Community

Teki Paper bags is an Ethiopian enterprise developed by deaf women. With almost a million handmade paper bags sold, the organisation is slowly weaning the country’s bustling capital, Addis Ababa, off plastic bags while simultaneously empowering the deaf community. Clement Piguet, Teki’s co-founder, admits that persuading business owners to choose a more expensive alternative is a challenge but lecturing people about the environment won’t always have the desired impact. Instead, Teki believes that if they can also provide a clear social benefit along with the environmental impact, business owners are more likely to invest in a greener alternative. Clement says: “With our paper bags we want to provide people with the opportunity to change the lives of deaf people, and through this create an alternative way to fight plastic.”