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Green businesses: New way of building a resilient economy in a friendly environment

The effects of climate change are real and we cannot continue to do businesses as usual to further compound the effects of climate change and its negative impact on the environment.

Creating jobs where business activities do not pose any harm to the environment and contribute to the reduction of emission is emerging all over the world and gradually, it is becoming popular in Ghana, especially among young entrepreneurs.

It is important and healthy to note that young entrepreneurs are embracing the concept with the mind that, the sustenance of their businesses and livelihoods depend on the environment and the need to protect it in a sustainable manner.

Green Business and Economic Importance

A green business refers to a business that has minimal negative impact or potentially a positive effect on the global or local environment, community, society or economy and uses sustainable materials to make its products.

It also aims to use as little water, energy and raw materials as possible while cutting carbon emissions, or it finds ways to utilise these materials in renewable and eco-friendly ways.

Going green therefore, cuts costs, improves efficiency, and creates healthier workplaces.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that the green and circular economy has the potential to create over 24 million jobs if countries put in place measures to promote Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as well as enterprise development for workers and jobseekers.

Government’s Contribution
In response to this challenge, the government through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations is implementing the National Green Jobs Strategy, which aims at promoting the creation of decent green jobs through inter-sectoral linkages and cooperation.

According to Mr. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, the sector minister, the strategy will focus on enhancing coordination of interventions that impact on green jobs across the sectors, promoting green skills development, support green enterprises to grow and expand, and facilitate the mobilization and accessibility to green financial resources.

“We are sure that when these interrelated components are well-implemented the enabling environment would be created for the green and circular economy to blossom and its impact effectively harnessed for job creation,” he told the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

Ghana in its bid to expand the green skills development component of the National Green Jobs Strategy, has secured 17 million Euros under the new Pact for Jobs Programme from the European Union (EU) to commence in 2023.
Support from other Organizations

While the government of Ghana is doing its best to support sustainable businesses in the green space, some organizations such as the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) has rolled out the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn).

It is a four-year project with funding from the EU and supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

It aims at creating greater economic and employment opportunities for youth, women and returning migrants by promoting and supporting sustainable, green businesses in two selected regions in Ghana – Ashanti and Western.
GrEEn is being implemented under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa with a total contribution of EUR 20,600,000.

The project has a component – the GrEEn Incubation and GrEEn Acceleration Programme – that provides support for growing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to develop operational excellence and be investment ready.
To support green businesses which have innovative products and services in SNV’s three sectors – thus, agriculture, renewable energy, and energy efficiency as well as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the Ashanti and Western, the SNV launched the GrEEn Innovation Challenge in June 2021 to award a matching grant of up to EUR 25,000 each to selected businesses in Ghana’s green sector.

In December 2021, a total of 12 businesses, comprising six from the Ashanti, five Western and one from Greater Accra Regions received a total matching grant of GH₵ 1.17 million under the maiden GrEEn Innovation Challenge.
In 2022, the GrEEn Innovation Challenge launch awarded up to EUR 25,000 per SME to 15 green businesses to boost their business operations and expansion.

Testimonies of beneficiaries
Mr. Edmund Arthur, a beneficiary of the Green Acceleration Programme, told the GNA in Kumasi that, his business, Premier Waste Services based in Kumasi has received a huge boost from the EU to increase the capacity.

According to him, his company was recycling 20 tonnes of plastic waste a month to produce other items.
After the financial support, from the GrEEn project, he is currently doing 30 tons in a month.

“The Green Acceleration Programme has helped me to provide jobs for waste collectors, and I am also creating value with plastic wastes,” he stated.

Ms. Emmanuella Appiah, another beneficiary who had supported processing plastic waste to produce chairs, said her aim was to reduce plastic waste pollution in the environment.

She told the GNA that, she was trying to make boards that could be used to replace plywood for construction and interior decorations.

“I want more people to be interested in sustainability, we have been talking about plastic recycling for a long time but people do not participate because they do not see how practical it is.

It is time we reduce plastic pollution, recycle them, and protect the environment from all forms of adverse conditions,” Ms. Appiah observed.

Mr. Irchad Razaaly, Head, EU Delegation to Ghana, told GNA that waste recycling was an important effort to preserve the environment, climate and natural resources and undoubtedly turning waste into usable materials allowed communities to find value in plastic waste and create jobs for the people.

He observed that, through innovation, green entrepreneurs were changing their communities, countries, and the world at large.

The EU, he noted aimed to fight climate change and promote sustainable practices, citing biodiversity, and environmental losses as the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

The EU is ensuring a carbon-free, carbon-neutral economy in the next few years, and the green deal is a key component of its engagement across the globe.

Ghana cannot be left out in this global efforts to reduce environmental practices that contributed to global warming and climate crisis.

The emergence of green business economy is therefore a terrific opportunity for the country to contribute to climate resilient efforts and promote environmentally sustainable business activities that will help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

A climate resilient economy undoubtedly, is the way to go, to sustain our environment for future generations.

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