The private sector has a critical role to play in advancing sustainable development and the green economy in Barbados and across the region.
Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, has also pointed out that this was one of the key elements enshrined in the final internationally agreed document of the just concluded Rio +20 Conference.
He made these comments recently while speaking at a seminar which focused on Carbon Reduction Achievement while Reducing Operational Print Cost, jointly hosted by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Productive Business Solutions (Barbados) Limited, at Hilton Barbados.
“The [Rio +20] document acknowledges that the implementation of sustainable development will depend on the active engagement of both the public and private sectors and recognises the active participation of the private sector,” Lowe said.
He added that the document also called on the private sector to pay attention to their corporate and social responsibility, and further engage in responsible business practices.
However, he said that governments were also invited to support initiatives for sustainable development, including promoting the contribution of the private sector to support green economy policies.
To this end, he commended the BCCI for its commitment in realising a green economy for Barbados, and the role it played in the execution and completion of the Green Economy Scoping Study.
“It is my view that the BCCI is one of our key partners in taking forward the national green economy thrust,” the minister stated, while urging its members to review the Rio +20 document and reflect on statements related to the private sector.
Lowe told those present that the focus of today’s seminar was in line with Government’s thrust towards a green economy.
He added that the environmental impact of publishing and using printers was on the radar for some time, especially with the increasing appetite for paper and electricity costs associated with such activities.
According to research findings, each toner and ink cartridge accounts for 3.5 pounds of solid waste accumulating in the landfill, and could take between 450 to 1,000 years to decompose.
“The cumulative impact of printer cartridges alone on the carbon footprint of printing is clearly staggering, and must be addressed by the industry,” Lowe emphasised.
He added that the thrust for environmental sustainability was driven by the growing demands from consumers to conserve energy, reduce paper use, and the proper disposal of printer components and the like.
“It also requires the use of environmentally friendly products, while at the same time reducing the use and generation of harmful ozone depleting substances,” he said.
With this in mind, Lowe pointed out that it made sense to switch to as many green business practices as possible.
He noted that one of the findings that emerged from the Green Economy Scoping Study was that new technologies that enhance resource efficiency could provide numerous social, environmental and economic benefits to the country.