Green Scenery Organizes Workshop on the Contributions of Private Sector to Environmental Sustainability

By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya

Green Scenery, a local environmental organization in Sierra Leone together with other environmental organizations such as the EPASL, Christian Aid etc. has organized a workshop on the contribution of the Private sector to environmental sustainability in Sierra Leone. This is part of the Promoting Sustainable Environmental Governance through innovative Partnerships project funded by the European Union.

Green Scenery Organizes Workshop on the Contributions of Private Sector to Environmental Sustainability

Green Scenery Organizes Workshop on the Contributions of Private Sector to Environmental Sustainability

The one day workshop was organized at the Family Kingdom on the 1st October 2015 with representation from key private sector representatives in other to adequately abreast them with full knowledge on how they should contribute to ensure environmental sustainability in Sierra Leone.

The project on Promoting Sustainable Environmental Governance through innovative Partnerships aims to enable citizens groups particularly the rural poor, the youths and women to increase their understanding of specific environmental issues. The project also aims to increase understanding and awareness amongst the general public in Sierra Leone of critical environmental issues likewise ensuring that public and private sector policy maker are influenced through campaigning and advocacy to enforce environment friendly policies and corporate practices.

The workshop on the contribution of the Private sector to environmental sustainability in Sierra Leone aims to raise the environmental awareness amongst the private sector actors, influence environmental sustainability and corporate culture and to develop strategies and guidelines applicable to the unique environment of every business.

During the workshop, the Corporate sector was lobbied to fulfill their corporate social responsibilities by enforcing the economic and social impact assessments that regulate and guide waste disposal and effluent discharge. This is hope to strengthen the capacity of the Environment Protection Agency to engage regularly with the private sector and CSOs to promote enforcement of relevant policies, regulations and byelaws through organizing seminars for small and medium enterprise representatives.

Giving the rationale of the workshop, the Project Manager, Madam Seinya Bakarr also noted that the purpose of the workshop is to raise the awareness of the private sector as well as the government in other to adopt to sustainable practices towards the environment for future generations.

During his presentation to participants, the Manager for the Environmental Consulting Services, Abdulai Conteh started by defining sustainability according to Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Mr. Conteh said sustainability is a description of environmental balance including human society’s place in that balance. Mr. Conteh noted that “Over the last 10 years, the ‘Sustainability Imperative’ has emerged, magnified by escalating public and governmental concern about climate change, industrial pollution, food safety, and natural resource depletion, among other issues.”

Commenting on how organizations impact the Environment, Mr. Conteh reiterated that there three ways in which the Private sectors of Businesses impact the Environment of Sierra Leone such as through direct Impact, supply Chain Impact and product/Service Impact. stressing further on the direct Impact, the Environmental Consultant said these are environmental issues that occur as a result of activities performed by the organization/Private Business enterprise itself such as pollution impacts and impacts related to the consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources.

Commenting further on the supply chain impacts, Mr. Conteh said they are environmental issues that are caused by third parties who are carrying out activities linked to or supporting the organization’s activities and might include transport impacts associated with supply of products and services such as CFC in Air Conditioners, Gas, Stationary suppliers (forest stewardship certified).

He said the product/service impacts are impacts that are caused by customers or others using the product produced or as a result of the service supplied by the organization such as packaging waste disposal by customers and that the impact can been seen in Water Plastic companies.

According to Mr. Abdulai Conteh, environmental ignorance is no more an excuse. He informed participants that as Sierra Leone encourages more development projects within the Private Sectors of Business, Environmental Sustainability models must be used as a tool to avoid all unnecessary social and Corporate risks of their Companies.

Mr. Conteh encouraged Shareholders of private companies or businesses to invest part of their profit on climate change, biodiversity, and linking executive compensation to sustainability performance since environmental issues can be present in a range of business risks and opportunities.

The Director of Green Scenery, Mr. Joseph Rahall emphasized the need for sustainability in the country and reechoed the importance of planting trees

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