Private Sector actors were identified as key contributors to environmental sustainability, which was why they were engaged on promoting sustainable environmental governance through innovative partnerships for environmental sustainability in Sierra Leone.
Manager of the Environmental Consulting Services, Abdulai Conteh during his presentation observed that capacity building is lacking amongst private sector entities on how to sustain environmental programmes. Conteh, whose presentation was based on the topic: “The role of private sectors in environmental sustainability,” said individual’s actions today are impacting the environment negatively. He said there is need to meet the needs of the present without compromising of future generation. Conteh said although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done a lot, there is however need to do more on environmental policies.
Sustainability, he said brings three elements into play, namely: economy, society and the environment. He also state that water crisis will be the next problem in Freetown if measures are not taken.
The private sector, Conteh said can impact the environment in three ways, namely, direct, supply chain and product service. “Environmental sustainability is not about witch-hunt but the mindset,” he said, and added that “We need to change the way we take decisions so s to help sustain our natural environment.”
He further informed participants that sustainability is about having people to have the ability to maintain positive environmental protection activities in order to have an indefinite natural circle. “Government and the private sector need to promote environmental sustainability because a healthy environment is essential for livelihood and development,” Conteh said.
Green Scenery’s Programmes Manager, Seinya Bakarr said they happy that private sector actors have committed themselves on environmental sustainability. She reechoed the fact that there is a need to change the mindset of business to ensure a proper environmental management. She thanked the European Union and National Authorizing Office for funding the project.
EPA’s Abdul Conteh commended Green Scenery for taking a laudable step to bring together private sector actors to discuss environmental management. He said this will give opportunity to Sierra Leoneans to to know issues and help formulate policies on environmental management. “We happy that the private sector now know how to do their business in an environment that is safe and sound,” he said, and stated further that his institution will bring onboard more partners in order to ensure effectiveness in environmental management.
Participants interviewed expressed nice sentiments about the workshop, of which they say it will help them in their day to day activities. They stated that they have now realize that the environment can impact the business sector a lot and it can enable it expand and make profit.
They however express disappointment for the non-availability some major private entities that were officially invited by the organizers of the workshop.
A five-man post workshop follow up team was selected to ensure that issues discussed, agreed and listed in a communiqué be articulated to policy makers and law makers.