The Government of Guyana has a number of plans outlined for the use of the nation’s looming oil wealth. And while there is no harm where that is concerned, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) is hoping and praying that the Administration puts aside a small portion of that money to develop “green sectors”, such as agriculture and tourism.
This point was made recently by PSC Chairman, Eddie Boyer. He was, at the time, addressing a workshop dedicated to examining Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy. There, he spoke to the role of the private sector in the development, implementation and monitoring of the nation’s Green State Development Strategy.
Boyer said, “I’ve travelled to many countries across the globe and I must admit that the world is changing drastically, with emphasis on environmental preservation and protection. While many countries have endorsed a growth path that focuses on people and profits, prominence is now being given to the conservation of our planet.”
The PSC Chairman noted that Guyana is playing its part and certainly heading in the right direction.
He added, “Our policymakers are committed to the establishment of a Green Economy to mitigate the harsh effects of climate change. We (PSC) are pleased and supportive of Guyana, as a signatory to the Paris Agreement and Rio Conventions, to ensure development in a sustainable way. I would like to state that responsible and successful businesses can be even more successful by going green. To understand the benefits of a business going green, we must first understand what that term means.”
In this regard, Boyer explained that when a company makes a concerted effort to reduce its negative environmental impact, that is tantamount to going green. He opined that this can manifest itself as taking measures to reduce utility costs, to starting recycling and reusing programs, and buying green products and services.
Boyer said, “What are the benefits of going green? Most states and countries have laws on the books that mandate environmental compliance in various ways and to varying extents. Every year, more laws are passed on local, state, and federal levels as we understand how positive going green is in Earth’s ecology. Going green means getting ahead of the curve — if certain green laws aren’t on the books, they soon will be and it gives a company a head start, to begin as soon as possible.”
The PSC Chairman added, “Increasing energy efficiency saves on utility costs. Reusing existing material in creative ways means that fewer dollars are spent purchasing new stock to create products. Streamlining transportation of employees or shipping saves the earth as well as a substantial amount of money. Although there is often a bit of money to be spent establishing green business procedures, it saves a lot of money over time.”
Boyer said that a business going green makes customers feel that it is a trustworthy business. Additionally, the Chairman said that going green doesn’t only foster positive feelings from customers. He opined that employees feel safer working for green businesses.
After outlining the reasons, both from a social and profit point of view, Boyer issued a challenge to his fellow businessmen and women to make changes aimed at going green.
He continued, “I have mentioned earlier that there is the need for green laws and this is where I would like to solicit our Government. We need policies and incentives to guide and encourage businesses to adopt green practices and technologies. I believe that only through such policies will we be able to develop a Green Agenda.”
Boyer said that successive governments have outlined their intention to promote Value Addition and Agro Processing in Guyana, given our rich endowment of resources and arable land. But many are yet to the fruition of this plan. But, we are hopeful that, given the benefits, it can be realized under the Green Agenda.
Boyer said, “I am proud to note that some of our members are investing in large scale green projects. I believe they are leading the charge and setting a good example for other businesses to follow. In our productive sectors such as Agriculture, Forestry, Mining, Manufacturing and Commerce, we have witnessed significant behavioural changes with regards to protecting our environment.”
“Some industries have embraced energy efficient measures and adopted hybrid systems utilizing solar, wind and energy smart technologies. Businesses have invested in large renewable energy projects utilizing gasification, wind turbines and massive solar panels to significantly reduce their individual energy bill. Additionally, smart techniques such as Reduced Impact Logging and practices in the mining sector – progressive reclamation, mine site rehabilitation, replanting, and biodiversity enhancement measures, have helped to reduce the environmental footprint.”
“We are certain that as finances permit and with the right policies and incentives, businesses will continue along the green path. We would like to see the banks, both commercial and retail, allocating funds at encouraging rates to pursue green projects.”
In 2020, Guyana will benefit from its first drop of oil and, according to PSC Chairman Boyer, its membership encourages Government to channel some of the revenues to green sectors such as Agriculture, Tourism, Agro-Processing and other areas, to facilitate sustainable development.
The Private Sector Commission, he said, has endorsed the Green State Development Strategy. He stressed that it is lending support to the development and implementation of this strategy, as it has done with the Low Carbon Development Strategy.
Boyer expressed, “When it comes down to it, the benefits of going green for a business far outweighs any negatives. The time and money it takes to establish new environmentally green protocols pay back in dividends over the years, not only financially, but also in feeling good that the company is good to the planet.”