Environmental Sustainability of SMEs
- 22 Mar
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The SMEs sector in Zimbabwe has an estimated turnover standing at $7,4 billion circulating within the sector, with 2,8 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) owners and employing 2,9 million people. The same sector is contributing an estimated 40% of Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the Newsday of 19 July 2015.
Out of 75 million enterprises across the world, 90 percent are SMEs (small and medium enterprises) particularly in developing countries. They contribute substantially to entrepreneurship, innovation, economic growth and jobs creation. This is also precisely why SMEs need to be a critical target to foster environmental sustainability in the private sector.
SMEs and the Environmental Impact Assessment
All SMEs carrying out prescribed projects that are listed in the first Schedule of the Environmental Management Act (Cap 20:27), such as; mining, quarrying, housing developments, ore processing should first of all do an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process which identifies the environmental impacts of a development project and clearly outlines measures to mitigate the negative impacts caused during project construction, implementation and decommissioning. The Environmental Management Act defines an Environmental Impact assessment as ‘an evaluation of a project to determine its impact on the environment and human health and to set out the required environmental monitoring and management procedures and plans’. The EIA is thus a tool that enhances sustainable development where environmental, economic and social pillars are mainstreamed in the project in a balanced manner.