Nairobi, Dec. 9 -- Sustainability, circular economy, clean technology. All these terms may have sounded alien to most Kenyan companies a few years ago, but today they are increasingly becoming essential as investors and regulators alike seek to build resilient and sustainable societies.

From marketing pitches to boardroom discussions, product development to launches, the debate on the role companies play in protecting the environment, society and governance have taken centre stage.

The events of the past two years show that the dichotomy of public vs private companies no longer exists because of a fast-changing corporate governance regime that's pushing for an expanded role of businesses in society.

Opponents view the push as a weakeni...