Ghana steps up efforts to grow green businesses

Written by By Amy Green, CNN Ghana is a rare African success story: A socially progressive country where churches and religious organizations are regularly doing good for their communities. “You can do good deeds,…

Ghana steps up efforts to grow green businesses

Written by By Amy Green, CNN

Ghana is a rare African success story: A socially progressive country where churches and religious organizations are regularly doing good for their communities.

“You can do good deeds, you can just be “good” without trying to be too political or make a political statement. And you can do that within the Christian church,” says Clifford Kojo, director of the Christian Social Development Organization in Accra.

At this year’s World Environment Day celebrations in Accra, where the country’s governor, Edmund Adjei Kofi, named the state “Ghana Green,” companies in Ghana, and beyond, took note of the country’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

Kofi made the pledge during a speech at the festivities hosted by the state ministry of environment in charge of the Ghana Green initiative. The Ghana Green program aims to get individual Ghanaians to become aware of the harmful effect that nature has on the nation’s environment.

For the corporations, the proclamation is the beginning of a broader path.

“I think Ghana Green is a game changer,” says Richard Czuprynski, the US president of the Ghana-based waste management company Green Max.

“In the business world, with all the chatter about ‘businesses are bad and you need to be green,’ but at the same time a lot of businesses don’t want to help,” he says. “But they need to, or it’s not very profitable for them. Green Max started thinking about Ghana Green because we want to give back to our country.”

Jibo Brooks-Johnson, an employee at the Ghana-based health and beauty company Waxko, says she’s already seen business impact made possible by the Green initiative.

“I’ve seen our employees, especially the women, be given a new lease on life with regards to their personal lives,” she says. “They’ve been able to let go of some of the things that were holding them back.”

Citizen-regulated business

Ghana’s goals and accomplishments are directly tied to the country’s early pioneer status in alternative energy, with a critical role in helping the country build a clean energy sector.

Ghana has the second-largest proven natural gas reserves in sub-Saharan Africa behind Nigeria, according to the US Energy Information Administration . The country has also seen great success in its construction, power and aviation industries with airlines such as Airlink and Ghana Airlines becoming successful in offering tourists a uniquely different Ghana experience.

But the US administration hopes that Ghana’s dedication to greener business in part, stems from a desire to move away from a centralized government and toward more citizen-regulated business.

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