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23.02.2005 General News

Ghana hosts West African Green Purchasing Conference

By GNA

Accra, Feb. 23, GNA - Ghana will host the first-ever West African Green Purchasing Conference in June to educate consumers on the need to buy products and services that would not endanger their health, safety and the environment.

To this extent, the Chief Director, Mr Edward Kofi Nsenkyire on Wednesday inaugurated an eight-member planning committee to plan the activities and the organization of the forthcoming Accra Conference. The two-day conference, scheduled for June 24, will bring participants and environmental experts and other stakeholders from Europe, the US and Africa to give talks on the importance of Green Purchasing in West Africa, the Role of Governments, Greening Public Procurement and Lessons to Learn from European Union.

It is being organized by T.M Global Logistics, an Event Management Firm based in Takoradi in the Western Region.

In a speech read for her, Ms. Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, said the rise of consumerism and consumer rights had expanded in scope and content to environmentalists and conservationists.

Ms. Churcher said while attempts were being made to guide manufacturers and industry to be environmentally conscious, "it is of utmost importance that consumers and purchasers are also made aware of sustainable consumer patterns.

"The Ministry believes strongly that the earth's delicate natural balance rests on responsible business or manufacturing practices as well as an environmentally conscious consumer who will question what goes to the production of an item and how environmentally friendly the product was before patronizing it."

She said West Africa was a huge market for the production giants of the world but the time has come for leading traders and purchasers to be wary of imports, "which will fast deplete the Ozone layer and lead to an early climate change.

"Our importers and manufactures alike must be wary of goods which have the tendency to become toxic waste in the region."

She said that efforts should therefore, be made to ensure that the vast majority of the people should be made aware of putting pressure on industry and major trading concerns."

Ms. Churcher said it was regretful that the importation of second hand goods, especially auto spare-parts and non-biodegradable plastic containers, which have become a major source of worry to the government. "It is only when consumers begin to look for green products from green consumer shops that the environment will begin to make a positive impact."

Ms Churcher pledged the Ministry's support for the organization of the conference, which would open up the sub-region in promoting a market rich in green products.

Mr Godwin D. Mensah, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said although today's socio-economic system of mass production and mass disposal has led to materially affluent and convenient lives, at the same time, serious environmental problems, such as global warming, ozone depletion, disruption of eco-system, depletion of resources, air, water and pollution had been generated.

He said, "the conference is vital for West Africa because Green Purchasing like buying of energy efficient products, recycling, eco-labelling, eco-packaging etc are major pre-requisite of the World Trade Organisation for participating in world trade."

He said Green Purchasing plays an indispensable role in establishing a market for environmentally conscious products, and in promoting the development of such products through the market.

"As citizens within the ECOWAS region, we should recognize a responsibility and influence as purchasers, and actively promote and implement Green Purchasing in business activities and our lives."

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