The Pacific Green Business Centre (PGBC) is seeking opinions of influencers in the Pacific on issues related to the Green/Blue economy. It is appropriate that we start this series of opinion articles with one by Mr Howard Politini, Chair of the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation, the Pacific private sector umbrella organisation and the private sector partner of the PGBC.
Opinion of …. Mr. Howard Politini, Chair of the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO)
Man’s industrial evolution has been characterised by the failure to manage the total package of benefits and consequences of progress and development over centuries and inevitably left a mushrooming monster called pollution. The victims being the environment in its entirety, land, sea, and air… and of course the living creatures that the environment was created for. The pace of progress has varied but true to say that it had momentum which increased somewhat as one development became a catalyst for the next. It is part of human nature to become so focused on the success perspective without paying too much attention to the unintended impacts. The environment has become a victim of unintended consequences aggravated by the pursuit of strengthening our economies and reaping profits in the global markets making us oblivious to the aggregating hazards and damage to the environment.
Ironically the disturbances to nature has awoken the sleeping giant of global warming, climate change and extreme weather conditions assaulting defenceless communities. The search has been on for solutions and now a global effort is deemed to be the only process to attempt to mitigate or minimise the impact. Green Business has become the catch call to magnetise our innovations to converting science and technology to harmonise with our economy in an effort to save the planet.
A multi-stakeholder effort inclusive of governments, private sector and civil society is now the politically correct model of inclusivity that leaves no one out of the global effort to reduce the impact of climate change and save the planet. This has thus taken on a moral obligation of every individual to take responsibility for behaviour that respects and makes stewardship of our environment a moral duty. Within Pacific cultures, where there remains the traditionally strong Christian faith based cultures the reinforcement of our values reverencing God and creation above profit and materialism continues to be a strong social foundation. Tourism and agri-based economic initiatives have got to be the opportunities we vigorously pursue in our green business framework being our offering of choice besides larger scale agriculture and niche market products. Infusing green initiatives into the business framework is not an option but of essence for sustainable economic growth. Green business is not a difficult concept or adaptation for the Pacific given the small carbon emissions footprint that the region represents given its non-industrialised status on the development scale.
The anti-plastics campaign must be one discipline we remain committed to in the Pacific and we can take a lesson from the recent initiative being taken by the Europeans to ban all single use plastic conveniences like drinking straws and containers. Plastic is contaminating the ocean and waterways thus impacting our marine resources which in turn affect humans who feed off these contaminated food sources. We are citizens of the biggest ocean on the planet and thus must realise the risk and respond accordingly.
There is much potential for progress both individually and communally through education, awareness and focus. Reducing overall electricity use and fuel consumption is a big and obvious target along with a few others much talked about in the plethora of conferences and workshops with the international community for donors and regional groups with some listed here;
- Buying machinery that meets international emissions standards
- Using solar energy
- Creating awareness among employees and customers
- Cost, availability of capital
- Commitment from legislators
- Expertise in local employees• Innovations taking too long to flow to smaller economies / technology is not readily available
- Competitive constraints / unable to take risks
- Mindset change in the general public.
The green business theme must be anchored by effective legislation and cultured into businesses and our social units as every citizen is impacted and time is of the essence since reparations to our damaged atmosphere, oceans and land can never be completely repaired but mitigated to the best of our intelligence and efforts. There must be no barriers to the gravity of the call to nurture mother nature and thus the collaborative efforts of the international community, local communities and every institution and individual must be fully focused with commitment on how we can save the planet in our little or large spaces of influence. God guide our wisdom and bless all our efforts.