Sustainable development consultant, Elizabeth Emanuel, is calling on the private sector to change its business model in order to remain profitable while being eco-efficient.
"In other words, climate change issues and environmental management would become fully legitimate business expenses," she said, suggesting businesses would embrace a community and customer-based focus regarding those issues. Emanuel was among panellists at a forum hosted by the Management Institute for National Development at its Old Hope Road headquarters yesterday. The forum explored the topic, 'Economic Development and the Environment: Jamaica at a Crossroad'.
She suggested that profit, people and climate (sustainability) were key words for future businesses. Among other strategies, Emanuel suggested building adequate emergency-response capability early-warning systems for sectors such as tourism and agriculture, and creating mechanisms to fully analyse the impact of climate change.
"And then incorporating these impacts into the industries' decision making and planning processes," she said. Emanuel also said the sector needed to be making more environmentally sustainable and greener businesses "by adopting practises that reduce the sector's impact on the natural environment".
Dorlan Burrell, director within the environment and risk management division of the environment ministry, said economic development was dependent on the environment. He admitted the environment was always undervalued and that environmental degradation was often influenced by economic development to some extent.
He stressed the ministry's goal to "bridge the gap" between the economy and the environment, pointing to initiatives like creating a draft of the National Environment Management System Policy and Strategy, and submission of the Climate Change Policy Framework and Action Plan, which was approved by Cabinet.