Transition from red to green economy remains a formidable challenge

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Green Economy Forum 2013: Transition from red to green economy remains a formidable challenge


Tips on environmental protection and sustainable development for the corporate sector were aplenty at the Green Economy Forum 2013, which was jointly organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on Wednesday.

Former federal minister and keynote speaker Javed Jabbar said Pakistan was currently a “red economy” because of the country’s weak financial position and security conditions.

He added that it would be a “formidable challenge” for the country to make the transition from a red economy to a “green economy”.

In the words of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan Country Director and chief guest Marc-Andre Franche, a green economy is one which is “low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive”.

During his address, Jabbar suggested seven steps that Pakistan’s corporate sector could take to help the country move towards a green economy:

Corporations should bring about a change of mindset in the industry in which they view themselves primarily as social organisations with a commercial aspect rather than corporate organisations with a social responsibility.

Corporations should work closely with organisations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which has linkages with both governments and NGOs.

The corporate sector should engage in dialogue with provincial governments and district governments to expand their outreach to stakeholders at the local levels.

The sector should not introduce new technology at the expense of the labour force.

Corporations should significantly increase disclosure especially through open environmental reporting.

The small and medium enterprise sector should be made a part of the green economy ethos.

Each corporation should have an internal “green budget” and also push the government to announce a green budget day before the annual federal budget. The government’s green budget could include the financial assessment of Pakistan’s natural assets.

Jabbar’s speech was followed by a panel discussion on “Corporate Pakistan Leadership in the Green Economy”, which was moderated by journalist Sidra Iqbal.

The panelists, who included industry representatives and a government official, said sustainable development was a must for corporations.

Without paying heed to environmental concerns, the corporate sector would risk exposing its own workforce to health hazards, said the speakers.

The panelists emphasised on building partnerships between the corporate sector, governments and citizens to promote awareness about environment conservation.

ACCA Pakistan Head Arif Masud Mirza said corporations would be making themselves vulnerable to a grave risk if they believed the skeptics of global warming and climate change.

“If advocates who suggest that global warming exists are correct, then for industries that ignored the environmental impact of their actions, the cost is phenomenal,” Mirza said. “The cost is that we won’t have a future planet, we won’t have customers.”

Franche said he was encouraged to see the response to calls for sustainable development from Pakistani’s dynamic private sector. He added that climate change and environmental challenges were the biggest threats facing the country, which must focus on adaptation strategies.

The ACCA-WWF Pakistan Environmental Reporting Awards 2012 were also presented at the event. ICI Pakistan Limited came first in the sustainability reporting category while Atlas Honda Limited took the honours in the environmental reporting category. Eighty-nine companies had sent in their reports for the annual awards.

Courtesy:  Tribune

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