A day’s workshop to help businesses improve their environmental performance such as reduced costs, improved innovation, increased likelihood of regulatory approval and general sustainability has been held in Takoradi.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in collaboration with A Rocha Ghana, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Businesses in Environmental Stewardship Network (BESNet) and its local partner Social Entrepreneurship Hub (SE-Hub), are spearheading capacity-building workshop for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The workshop, held on the theme “The EPA, A Strategic Partner for a Sustainable Business Development” was to enhance participants’ understanding of the EPA’s mandate and its regulatory instruments and procedures.
Mrs Saadia Bobtoya Owusu-Amofa, Project Coordinator for the Ghana Project Office, IUCN said drawing on a large and diverse membership, and thousands of volunteer experts with global reach, the IUCN was focused on the crucial mission of safeguarding the natural world and rebuilding a healthy and equitable planet for people and nature.
She explained that the workshop formed part of its Nature 2030 Programme (2021-2030), which sets a strategic framework for delivering concrete and tangible positive impacts to people, land, water, oceans, and climate using some five pathways to ensure transformative changes.
She mentioned the five pathways as Recognise, Retain, Restore, Resource and Reconnect, and said they were intended to promote a shared understanding of the interconnected challenges the world faces.
Mrs Owusu-Amofah said due to the significant dependence of business operations on nature as well as potentially positive and negative impacts that they exert on the environment, it was important that these impacts were assessed, and appropriate measures instituted to mitigate them.
Mr Albert Ababio, Western and Central Regional Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) in his presentation defined environmental compliance as meeting the requirements of laws, regulations, and codes designed to protect the environment.
Touching on the relevance of compliance, he said good environmental practices could improve upon business performance.
On steps for businesses to comply, Mr Ababio advised that they opt for eco-friendly, low waste and clean technology for equipment and recycle industrial waste every time to minimize the chances of pollution.
He added that the machinery should be upgraded so that it complied with the pollution norms, which would be beneficial in reducing the levels of pollution and conduct quarterly/yearly audits to check the effectiveness of the pollution control programmes.
Mr Kwadwo Opoku-Mensah, a Principal Programmes Officer of EPA who spoke on the mandate of the EPA said the 1992 Constitution of Ghana in Article 36 (9) mandates the EPA to act appropriately to protect and safeguard the national environment for posterity; seek cooperation with other States and bodies for purposes of protecting the wider international environment for mankind.
He announced that the aim of the Environmental Policy of Ghana was to ensure sound management of the environment and the avoidance of exploitation of resources in ways that might result in irreparable damage to the environment.
He mentioned some environmental Laws such as Environmental Assessment Regulations 1999, LI 1652, Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act 2016, Hazardous, Electronic, and other Wastes (Classification), Control and Management Regulations 2016, LI 2250, and Ghana Standard for Environmental Protection Requirements for Effluent Discharge (GS 1212, 2019).
The rest are Ghana Standard for Environment and Health Protection Requirements for Ambient Air Quality and Point Source/Stack Emissions (GS 1236, 2019), Water Resources Commission Act, 1996 (Act 522), Wetlands Management 1999 ((L.I. 1659) Regulations, Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925) and Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Regulations, 1989 (L.I. 1452) among others.