Sun | Dec 10, 2023

Shaw urges businesses to go green

Published:Friday | November 12, 2021 | 12:06 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer

The Government of Jamaica has increased its target for renewable energy by 2050 from 30 per cent to a very ambitious 50 per cent, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw disclosed on Wednesday as he urged local operators to ride the green wave to sustainable and profitable business.

The green movement has gained so much currency across the world that customers are switching allegiance to companies which are paying attention to how their operations impact the natural environment. Additionally, investors are showing their support for the green economy by investing in those companies which have sustainable business practices, he told Wednesday’s certification handover to six companies by the National Certification Body of Jamaica, at its 6 Winchester Avenue, St Andrew, office.

Shaw congratulated the companies – the Food Pilot Plant at the Scientific Research Council, Newport Fersan (Jamaica) Limited, IGL Limited, Caribbean Depot, the System Protection and Control Department of the Jamaica Public Service and KET’s Gourmet Farm – on this important step they had taken, which signals that their standards have been tried and proven and are market relevant at the local and international levels.

He said staff, customers and financiers are also demanding that businesses consider sustainable operations practices to preserve the planet for future generations, and cited the example of Apple which relies solely on wind and solar power at 100 per cent of its production facilities.

“With our perpetual sunlight and strong wind currents, we are ideally suited to renewable energy. Indeed, the Government of Jamaica has increased its target of renewable energy by 2050 from 30 per cent to 50 per cent.

“As a nation and a region, we need to adopt and maintain measures to better protect our natural resources, especially as they play such a vital role in economic growth and development. My challenge to you today, therefore, is to be a catalyst for change and consider a circular economy business model, where the material you use in production and packaging can be reused, shared or repaired to support the fight against global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution.”

Meanwhile, senior operations manager and acting head of office at the World Bank, Karlene Francis, painted positive outlook for the Jamaican economy in light of the reopening of international borders, following the resumption of tourism in some jurisdictions and the relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions.

“Real gross domestic product is expected to gradually recover to pre-pandemic levels over the medium term, with estimates of 3.5 per cent growth in 2021 and four per cent growth in 2022. This is being driven by investments on the hospitality industry and the steady recovery in tourist arrivals as vaccinations progress and travel routes are restored.”

She added that the support of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be critical to ensuring Jamaica’s green, resilient and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.