Corporate entities and individuals leading the charge in championing sustainable and socially responsible practices within their communities were honoured at the 2023 Sustainability & Social Investment Awards (SSI).
The seventh iteration, aptly named the Legacy edition, united companies spanning various industries under the overarching theme, ‘Sustainability and the Economy: Building a Sustainable Future for All’.
The Second Lady, Samira Bawumia, who served as the special guest of honor, highlighted the global shift towards evaluating companies not solely based on revenue and profit figures but also on their sustainable and social impact. In a speech delivered on her behalf by Akosua Manu, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the National Youth Authority, Mrs. Bawumia pointed out the dual challenge faced by nations like Ghana — the need for economic development alongside environmental preservation.
Factors such as rapid urbanization, industrialization, and population growth have strained natural resources, resulting in deforestation, pollution, and climate change. She emphasized that these environmental issues not only jeopardize the health of the planet but also the foundation of economic growth.
“Amidst these challenges, there lies a glimmer of hope – the realization that sustainability does not impede economic growth but rather acts as a catalyst for it. A sustainable economy can flourish without compromising the well-being of future generations. It is an economy that embraces innovation, efficiency, and a circular approach to resource management,” she added.
Mrs. Bawumia commended the awards scheme, expressing her belief that it would inject much-needed momentum into the drive for a balanced approach to economic advancement and social responsibility.
University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard K. Amankwah, challenged the traditional notion that sustainability and economic development are conflicting forces. Instead, he showcased their symbiotic nature as essential components of a prosperous and equitable future. Prof. Amankwah stressed the necessity for deeper collaboration between stakeholders, particularly industry and academia, to harmonize efforts toward increased economic growth with environmental preservation.
Highlighting UMaT’s initiatives in this regard, he noted, “Ghana, endowed with abundant natural resources, sadly continues to bear the brunt of illegal mining on its environment. Last month, UMaT partnered with the U.S. Embassy in a TechCamp to tackle illegal mining.”
Furthermore, the university has established a Center for Sustainable Mining Practices, focusing on research, education, and community engagement to promote responsible mining practices. This is in addition to other efforts in renewable energy.
Chairman of the awarding board, Professor Douglas Boateng, elucidated that the SSI Awards aim to recognize, learn from, and provide networking opportunities for those committed to sustainability principles in a responsible, equitable, and transparent manner.
“The Sustainability & Social Investment Awards have evolved into a benchmark, a symbol of excellence, and a celebration of those who go above and beyond in their commitment to creating a more sustainable and socially responsible world,” he added, whilst hinting that the scheme will be expanding to cover the African continent shortly.