Action plan on circular economy transition soon

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Oliver Boachie (4th right), Special Advisor, MESTI; Seth Twum-Akwaboah (2nd right), CEO, AGI and other officials at the conference

The Ministry of Energy Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) is developing a policy document to help accelerate the country’s transition to a circular economy.

The circular economy roadmap and action plan, expected to be completed by the end of this year, is to serve as a pathway to a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy based on the principles and practices of circularity.

When completed, the document also seeks to assess industry by sectors in order to establish targets for them that are based on several factors including economic contributions, potential for job creation, environmental and social impact.

The document is being developed with support from the European Union (EU) and other stakeholders such as the Global Environment Facility and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.

Rapid population growth

A Special Advisor at MESTI, Oliver Boachie, at a forum on sustainability dubbed Kick-Off conference in Accra, stated that rapid population growth, urbanisation with its related lifestyle changes as well as Ghana’s push for industrialisation were all contributing to unprecedented growth in waste generation.

The forum, organised by Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) in partnership with Unternehmer BadenWürttemberg (UBW), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to promote the culture of sustainability in the production processes of enterprises.

“Depletion of raw material in Ghana has more than doubled between 1990 and 2017 and in the process volumes of unnecessary waste end up being generated.

“This is projected to double by 2060 if the country continues with business as usual,” he said.

He said the government saw the trend as a major threat and had found an urgent need for fast and sustainable interventions by a transition to a circular economy.

He said this represented the most logical step for the country to address this big challenge.

“As part of efforts to achieve a successful circular economic transition, the government is developing the circular economy roadmap and action plan,” he said.

Beyond that, the advisor observed that the government was also undertaking a project to establish circular economy framework for plastics in the country.

He said it was focusing on several key components such as policy reforms, standard regulations and enforcement as well as education and awareness creation.

“The framework also has a component under which small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the plastic value chain are being supported financially with technical assistance to build their capacities and to enable them to scale up their operations,” he said.

Take environment seriously

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGI, Seth Twum-Akwaboah, urged businesses to take issues of the environment seriously.

“For us as an association, we have a number of initiatives that lead to the promotion of the environment.

“AGI have 23 different sectors and the core manufacturing firms in Ghana are usually AGI members

“And each of them comes from different groups and their activities relate to the environments in the area of plastics and energy efficiency,” he said.

The Project Manager of Arqum, Philip Poferl, said the world currently faces environmental problems that lead to climate change and its related impact.

“If we are not able to tackle it at the global level, we will not be able to solve them at all,” he added.