Guyanese citizens are well aware of the country’s push to protect the environment against the ravages of climate change and to create a sustainable future. If you are a business owner, you have most likely been paying close attention to the ongoing media coverage of government and private sector discussions and plans to reduce Guyana’s carbon footprint. Whether you are a new entrepreneur or an experienced business executive, you are probably asking yourself “What does this mean for me?” The following is a look at some of the advantages of going green and the current momentum in Guyana, as well as how GBTI is helping the cause.
Benefits of going green
While it there are some initial costs associated with launching a company that is sustainable or switching to green practices, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Certainly, there may be a financial outlay at the beginning, but there is money to be saved over the long term. As an example, purchasing energy-saving equipment or machinery will save on utility costs. Marketing your firm as an environmentally responsible business will also inspire loyalty in your customers. They will respect you for doing your part to take care of the planet. In addition, you will attract new clients who are looking to purchase merchandise or services from a green company. Your employees will also feel proud to be working for such a forward-thinking firm. Finally, with the increased focus on sustainability, government policy and legislation are slowly changing—not only in Guyana, but in other countries, too. Going green positions your enterprise to be in compliance when the rules change—whether domestic or offshore—and to serve as a leader in the marketplace.
Momentum in Guyana
Guyana has been at the forefront of developing a green economy for a number of years. It began in 2009, in partnership with the country of Norway, with the “Low Carbon Development Strategy: Transforming Guyana’s Economy While Combating Climate Change (LCDS)”. The goal of the LCDS was “to transform Guyana’s economy to a low carbon, sustainable development trajectory, while simultaneously combating climate change”. The idea was to demonstrate that protecting the environment and combatting deforestation would lead to commercial benefits for all Guyanese companies. In recent years, the government has launched the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) “to reorient and diversify Guyana’s economy, reducing reliance on traditional sectors and opening up new sustainable income and investment opportunities.” In response, the Ministry of Business has begun crafting the Green Business Framework that will, in part, focus on guiding Guyanese companies toward sustainable practices.
As some people may already be aware, in the last few years more educational and networking opportunities have become available for Guyanese business owners with an interest in the green economy. In 2018, Georgetown hosted the first Green Expo and International Small Business Summit under the banner “Sustainable economic growth through small business innovation entrepreneurship and transformative government policies.” The event provided small business owners with a platform to showcase their innovative products, which are designed to provide green solutions.
Guyana’s capital city was the site of another important business networking event in 2019 to celebrate Guyana Green Economy Week. Government representatives from the Ministry of Business, Ministry of Finance, and the Guyana Revenue Authority collaborated with others from the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, several United Nations organizations with a mandate to promote environmental sustainability, the private sector, civil society organizations, research institutes, and more. Participants had an opportunity to learn and share knowledge through a variety of workshops. Green Economy Week culminated in a public conversation with international experts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) offering examples of where sustainability has worked with appropriate “green” economic principles in place.
GBTI offers support
Small- and medium-sized companies require some funding in order to help them to realize their vision of building a sustainable enterprise. GBTI works alongside government and private sector initiatives to help green businesses. Its credit advisers provide critical financial assistance to clients through GBTI’s green loans program to enable them to implement changes in order to make their enterprises more green. This can include initiatives such as switching to solar power, recycling and treating water with filtration systems, purchasing hybrid motor vehicles or energy-saving appliances, upgrading air filtration systems, or embarking on various wind- or hand-powered projects. Furthermore, GBTI offers competitive interest rates, fast approvals, no late payment fees, no prepayment penalties, and other benefits.
As the evidence suggests, Guyana is becoming a fine example to other nations of how to move toward environmental sustainability, and it is definitely poised to be a leader in the green economy. Many entrepreneurs are recognizing the benefits of going green and engaging with the groundswell of support for Guyanese companies.