Conference on green business development opens in Mauritius

Port-Louis, Mauritius (PANA) - Mauritian Business, Enterprises and Cooperatives Minister Sunil Bholah on Thursday again raised red flags about the severity of environmental degradation.

He said 40% of agricultural lands worldwide are severely degraded due to erosion and pollution and humans currently using more than 50% of all accessible fresh water while demand will reach 70% by 2025.

Mr Sunil Bholah quoted the Global Footprint Network thar says today mankind uses the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste.

"This means it now takes the Earth 18 months to regenerate what we use in a year. What will happen in the long term, when demand for natural resources constantly outruns their supply? It becomes imperative to address this challenge," he said.

According to him, a few years ago, "going green" were still fashionable buzzwords "but in today’s context of environmental degradation, the concept of sustainability is receiving increased attention worldwide."

He said the development of the potential of green entrepreneurship as a provider of innovative, sustainable solutions is viewed as essential for policy guidance.

SMEs are major economic players all over the world. They account for 55% of GDP in developed economies and 35% in developing economies.

More than 90% of firms in the world are SMEs when taking into account formal firms and the large share of SMEs operating in the informal sector.  

"SMEs, start-ups and green entrepreneurs worldwide are playing a vital role in the transition to a low-carbon economy by developing new green business models and processes for different industrial sectors", the Minister emphasised.

Mr Sunil Bholah said it is thus crucial for policy-makers to empower SMEs so that they can explore the resulting business opportunities like re-manufacturing using environment-friendly raw materials, recycling, eco-design, production of green energy, eco-tourism, bio farming, amongst others.

"These emerging sectors have considerable potential to become drivers of economic growth and job creation, while at the same time, making a significant contribution to addressing environmental challenges", he added.

Talking about Mauritius, the Minister said the objective of the Government is to transform the island into a forward looking, economically vibrant and innovative country.

"The SME sector which contributes about 40% to the country’s GDP and represents 54% of total employment has been clearly positioned as the future engine of our economic growth", he said.

He said the Green Economy Assessment report undertaken by the University of Mauritius in partnership with UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) in 2015 demonstrates that a green economy transition offers Mauritius further opportunities for sustained economic growth.

It also offers energy and water savings, increased agricultural productivity and green jobs – with an expected GDP 6% higher in the Green Economy case relative to Business As Usual case by 2035.

He further statded that investing in green entrepreneurship is a sound and wise move as green entrepreneurs provide a promising response to sustainable development challenges.
-0 -PANA NA/MA 10May2018

10 may 2018 10:21:49

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