AGI Launches Environmental Sustainability Cluster Programme

AGI Launches Environmental Sustainability Cluster Programme


Under the auspices of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), in partnership with project Partners: Unternehmer Baden-Württemberg (UBW), KNUST, Arqum and Sequa the” AGI ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY CLUSTER PROGRAMME” was launched at KICK-OFF CONFERENCE at the Alisa Hotel in Accra.”

The event assembled members the business community mainly member-companies of AGI under a single roof to discuss issues on environmental sustainability. Speakers comprised personalities and representatives from the world of governance, industry and academia.

Some dignitaries included: the CEO AGI/Mr Seth Twum Akwaboah, Professor Jerry John Kpornyo/KNUST, Senator E.H Wolfgang/CEO UBW, Philip Poperl/ARQUM GMBH, Mr Boachie/Advisor, MESTI and Hon. Dr lawyer Kokofo of the EPA.

In his opening remark, the CEO of AGI, Mr Seth Twum Akwaboah stressed environmental issues as greatly impacting manufacturing operations placing a huge responsibility on the private sector in ensuring that the environment is preserved for future generations.
He reiterated that initiatives by his outfit such as the AGI Energy Service Centre for energy efficiency and the GRIPE Project for proper recycling of plastic and waste materials are also geared to ensure the environment is sustained which is in line with UN sustainable development goals.

Alluding to recent inconsistent rainfall patterns in Ghana the CEO attributed extreme issues of climate change to the inappropriate use and management of the environment. Mr Akwaboah also brought to attention that twenty-three sectors of the AGI are all deeply involved with activities relating to the environment.

He, therefore, made a clarion call to manufacturers and entrepreneurs to factor in and prioritize the environment during business undertakings and production processes respectively. He entreated participants to take full advantage of the opportunities and expertise of the ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY CLUSTER.

In reaffirming the effective collaboration existing between government, Industry and academia Professor Jerry John Kpornyo of the KNUST said that “Triple Helix” helps to instil students with Quality Assurance Practises.

“We recognise the unique role that the Triple Helix plays as far as training students is concerned. By the triple helix, I mean the collaboration that exists between the government, industry and academia. To extent that PARTNER AFRICA-PROJECT works together with the Triple Helix in ensuring that students that we train and produce have consciousness as far as sustainability is concerned.”

To this effect, Prof. Kpornyo revealed that the KNUST established champions for each of the 17 Sustainable development goals (SDGs) to drive the agenda as far as the university’s response to the SDGs is concerned.

Addressing the participants online, the CEO of UBW Mr Senator Wolf highlighted the importance of the conference as being a platform for enterprises to engage in sustainable practices. According to Mr Wolf, UBW is comprised of three networks namely: Environment technology, the Aerospace sector and the field of new materials aimed at increasing global awareness increasing competitiveness and initiating cooperation which is important for the development of the future.

“Our project aims to promote the cultural sustainability and production processes of enterprises in Ghana. But there are also other important parts of our projects which are first providing education and opportunities for business sustainability. Second, assess the levels of practice and implementation of sustainability in their operations. Third, inculcate sustainability approaches into product development and production systems of enterprises. Finally, to establish a network of enterprises and universities and research centres engaging in sustainable practices.”

The project Manager for Sequa believed the conference was very timely as the world keeps experiencing external shocks of political, economical and environmental nature resulting in challenges within the value chains of energy economic processes.

He added, “I think the subject of sustainability is very timely because sustainability is not limited to environmental issues, but it’s also I think an issue of responsibility to keep the resilience high of an economy and to react to these shocks to have a better outcome. The goal is for people of the country to have high sustainability in the value chains and the processes of the economy.”

According to the Sequa Representative, the project contributes to the objective of MESTI which is sustainability regarding climate change that will lead to the transition towards a more environmentally friendly economy.

Advisor to the minister at MESTI, Mr Oliver Boachie attributed rapid population growth and Ghana’s push for industrialisation as contributors to the unprecedented rates of waste generation and the many negative environmental consequences.

He further disclosed that resulting from the current lineal model of production, material extraction, irresponsible production, consumption and disposal, the depletion of raw materials in Ghana doubled between 1990 and 2017 generating huge volumes of unnecessary waste.
He added that the situation is projected to double by 2060 should the country continues with business as usual.
According to the MESTI representative, government views this as a major threat and is urgently resorting to fast and sustainable interventions.

“As part of our efforts to achieve a successful circular economic transition. The Government of Ghana is developing the circular economy roadmap and action plan which is seen as the pathway to a sustainable low carbon resource efficient and competitive economy based on the principles and practices of circularity.

In some of Ghana’s priority sectors such as water, plastics, agriculture and food, electronics, and textiles in the built environment, clear goals and actions are being developed which is the priority of the country within the next 10 years.”

Mr Boakye stated that under the circular economic roadmap, there is also an initiative to access industry by sectors and establish targets for them that are based on several factors including economic contribution, potential for job creation, environmental and social impacts.

“Government is developing this roadmap and action plan with the support of the European Union and MESTI is vested with actors within several industry sectors in the country. This project is scheduled for completion at the end of this year.”

He said that government, therefore, views the role of industry as a critical component of the circular economy framework and some areas of cooperation are already underway between the government for the pursuit of sustainability in our industry and also for the national economy for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

CEO of EPA Mr Henry Kwabena Kokofu in his address cited article 41q of the 1992 constitution when he emphasised the mandatory obligation for every citizen of Ghana to intervene to help protect and safeguard the environment while enjoying rights and freedoms under the Constitution.

“The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and precisely under directive principles of state policy of the Constitution IE article thirty-six nine the state is obligated to take appropriate measures including enacting laws and legislations to safeguard to protect the biophysical environment. Also, to cooperate with other state bodies to see the international environment for mankind.”

He further stated that under the Constitution, the principle of intergenerational equity, of sustainable development is a tool that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The conference served as a platform to share existing initiatives by AGI and partners in areas including energy, waste recycling, and student internships among others.

Successive presentations on the sustainability road map by selected companies including Nestle, Bio-tropical, Ohene Cocoa and EUWELLE Environment Technology GmbH were also delivered at the conference. The Partner Africa Project is a consortium between Unternehmer Baden-Württemberg (UBW), and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI). Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Arqum and Sequa to achieve a special initiative on Training and Job Creation in Ghana