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Firms must protect the environment: Govt

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BY BUSINESS REPORTER

MASHONALAND West Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka has challenged the corporate world to consider the implications of their operations to the environment when doing business.

Speaking during the Mashonaland West Environment, Responsible Business and CSR Awards ceremony held in Kariba early this week, she said the need to balance between profit and environmental protection remained key.

The awards were given to companies that are positively impacting their stakeholders, the lives of communities in which they operate as well as the environments in which they operate in Mashonaland West province.

The awards were jointly held by Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Corporate Social Responsibility Network Zimbabwe (CSR Network).

“The environment we live in does not belong to us but is borrowed from future generations. It is therefore time we save tomorrow, today. If we empower our communities and uplift people’s lives, that will have ripple effects both to our businesses and our people,” Mliswa said.

“This new government is happy to work with all stakeholders so that we can collectively overcome obstacles arising from increasing inequality and a slowdown of productivity and growth.The partnership between EMA and CSR Network is appreciated.

“EMA is not only looking into environmental management through punitive legislative  provisions for offenders, but also the positive contribution of responsible business players.”

“Hence, the nexus of environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility. The concept of corporate social responsibility entails organisations embracing moral, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities, in addition to their responsibilities to earn a fair return for investors and comply with the laws of the land.

“Corporate social responsibility thus requires organisations to adopt a broader approach of its responsibilities towards, but not limited to its employees, suppliers, customers, the local community, local authorities, the State, environmental groups, and other special interest groups,” she added.

“I see my portfolio as the Minister of State playing a significant role in respect of enforcing compliance with the legislative and regulatory structure of the business sector. I am, however, elated that the business community has not waited for government to enact corporate social responsibility legislation but has taken it upon itself to be responsible corporate citizens,” Mliswa noted.

Winners of the awards include Caribbea Bay Resort, RioZim, Swift, World Vision, Venice Mine, Patsaka Trust, National Social Security Authority (Mashonaland West), Carbon Green Africa, AFRI-HYPE Parks and Wild Life Authority, Pan African Resources, NetOne, Great Dyke Investments, Chenai Projects, Lake Harvest, ZimParks and Nyaradzo Group.

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