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Mining companies face environmental performance assessment

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to announce the environmental performance of 55 manufacturing and 14 mining companies with the Akoben management tool.

Akoben management tool is an environmental management initiative developed two years ago by EPA to assess the performance of the two sectors by using a five-colour rating scheme.

Mrs. Angelina Ama Tutuah Mensah, the Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Gender Unit of EPA, told the GNA in an interview that gold, green, blue, orange and red encompassed the full spectrum of environmental performance ranging from excellent to poor.

Mrs. Mensah said when a company was rated Gold it indicated that it had been able to adapt to voluntary initiatives and was responsive to public complaints.

It means it had also adequately complied with environmental standards and reclamation bond criteria and had followed its corporate social responsibility policies.

A firm rated Green means it has adequate compliance with environmental standards and reclamation bond criteria, has adopted voluntary initiatives and is responsive to public complaints.

A Blue rated company shows that it has adequate compliance with environmental standards and reclamation bond criteria only.

Orange means the company has exceeded the regulatory standards for non-toxics, weak environmental monitoring and incomplete fulfillment of reclamation bond criteria.

Colour Red would mean that the company has failed to comply with the environmental law (LI 1652) and mismanages its hazardous wastes.

Mrs Mensah said the tool and the ratings report would also provide clear guidance on where a mining company needs to make improvements in the future.

Mrs Mensah said the tool uses an approach that reflects the modern concepts of corporate environmental and social performance including ideas such as community relationships, public participation, conflict resolution and continual improvement.

Akoben’s methodology, she said, had several unique and innovative features that made it the first rating model of its kind for the sectors.

Mrs. Mensah said though the existing literature on environmental and social performance measurement was filled with innumerable ideas and concepts, the tool had been designed to narrow it down to only those performance indicators that could be measured, verified and validated by a third party.

Akoben, which is a local Adinkra symbol, stands for vigilance and wariness.

The rating tool incorporates the national regulatory performance goals as well as the traditional community relationship aspects that are unique to Ghana.

At the same time, it also incorporates the practically feasible aspects of environmental and social performance guidelines of the various international organizations including the World Bank and World Health Organizations guidelines.

Mrs. Mensah said a similar tool called Program for Pollution Control Evaluation and Rating (PROPER) was first introduced in 1995 in Indonesia.

She said the traditional approach was useful but failed to adequately capture concepts of environmental performance including corporate social responsibility, voluntary over-compliance and other non-regulatory environmental objectives.

Source: GNA

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