Sun | Jul 15, 2018

Earth Today | ‘Bring the environment to the mainstream of business’

Published:Thursday | June 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor
Eleanor Jones

AS MEMBERS of industry participate in the organisation development transfor-mation conference, hosted by the Caribbean Centre for Organisation Development Excellence, this week, entrepreneur Eleanor Jones has said it is critical that environmental considerations are given priority in business.

"We have to bring the environment from backwater to mainstream. It is not just a little add-on that people should care about. It is a fundamental business issue, it is a fundamental development issue and climate change features prominently," said Jones, the managing director and consulting principal of Environmental Solutions Limited (ESL).

"I am looking at health, and disasters that dislocate your economy and infrastructure. We have to begin to take our environmental risk very seriously," added the environment and development specialist, who is also a member if the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.

She was speaking to The Gleaner ahead of the conference, which started yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston.

The conference and its theme, 'Organisation Development Impacting Our World, Triple Bottom Line: Purpose, People and Planet', is timely, she said.

 

Development issue

 

"For me, it is timely because I really feel that we need to bring environmental considerations into the mainstream as a business and as a development issue and as a planning issue. I see so much happening around. We are at the beginning of the hurricane season, but it is not just hurricanes," she said.

"We see volcanoes erupting, we are seeing earthquakes happening. You could say that the planet is striking back. Here, in our little island, we don't have volcanoes, but we certainly have the threat of earthquakes. We also have fires, etc. So risk is really what we need to be concerned about, and I am looking at environmental risk," Jones, who chairs ESL Management Solutions, said.

It is necessary, therefore, to take the time to take stock and to see how businesses can respond effectively.

"We need to begin to really do more than we are doing. When we are talking about people, the impact on our health is critical. We are looking at non-communicable diseases. We also have issues of air quality. We have issues of the vector-borne diseases. There are issues of how we manage our water and the breeding of disease-producing organisms. And productivity is very important; if you don't have a healthy population, then you can't have a productive population," Jones said.

"We need to be looking at our energy security. We need to be looking at food security and water security. All of our private-sector entities are dependent on all of those. And if you want to have sustainable prosperity, you have to ensure you are not destroying the services provided by the environment, like the water, food security, etc, the life support system, and that you are also ensuring you have a healthy population," she added.

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