Businesses urged to include environmental considerations in start-up costs

(www.stabroeknews.com) The Guyana business is being urged to set aside what, frequently, has been a singular preoccupation with operating strategies driven largely by cost effectiveness and profit and move in the direction of ‘greener’ production.

Addressing an environmental awareness seminar hosted by the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) on Wednesday June 25, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Dr Indarjit Ramdass said that the duty to cultivate a responsible environmental profile applied whether in manufacturing, services, wholesale or retail trading, agriculture or other areas of enterprise. “All parties have a responsibility to care for their environment and reduce environmental impact,” Dr Ramdass told the forum, adding that being green pays through cost reduction and increased market share.

Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Dr Indarjit Ramdass opening the workshop

According to the EPA Head, the onset of environmental challenges in the global business community had compelled businesses to implement strategies designed to respond to those challenges. He said local companies must become compliant with national regulations, moving their enterprises in the direction of a significantly enhanced awareness of the importance of greener production.

Ramdass said the EPA utilises both planned and responsive methods to detect non-compliance while prioritising enforcement activities according to its capacity to minimise the “biggest risks to the physical environment and the health of citizens.”

Participants at the seminar engaged senior EPA officials in discussions on avoidance of the various types of pollution—noise dust, odour, effluent—and hazards, as well as means through which permits can be obtained for the holding of noise-related activities.

Much of the focus of the forum was centred around what, frequently, has been the failure of businesses to factor their environmental responsibilities into their start-up costs and business plans, though the EPA team pointed out that the costs for authorisations and permissions have long-term benefits for the businesses, their employees and host communities.

The forum identified several businesses including sawmills, auto-body workshops spray painting, livestock husbandry and mining, which, given the nature of their operations, cause greater environmental concern than others and therefore have a particular duty to run environmentally conscious enterprises.