Ghana’s Forest Industries Unite for Sustainable Business Practices
By Faridat Salifu
A significant development has taken place in Ghana’s forestry sector as private business associations join forces to tackle common challenges and adopt sustainable operational practices.
The Forest Industries Association of Ghana (FIAG), consisting of 11 trade and business associations, has recently been established as a not-for-profit conglomerate within the private forestry sector in Ghana.
Richard Nsenkyire, the President of FIAG, highlights the association’s key focus areas, emphasizing the promotion of circular economy and green economy principles to ensure sustainability in business practices. He notes that several processing companies are retooling to utilize more of their residues or supplying residues to others for further processing.
FIAG’s goals are diverse, aiming to enhance corporate performance, provide a collective voice on concerns, and contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana. Nsenkyire underscores the significant employment impact of the individual firms within the association, collectively employing over 300,000 individuals in various business areas, including plantation development, logging, milling, manufacturing, haulage and equipment services, sales and marketing, and capacity building.
Furthermore, the forestry businesses indirectly support various links in the forest products supply chain by consuming products from other members, facilitating a seamless flow of resources. Nsenkyire also highlights the sector’s role as a major consumer of electricity, fuel, plant and machine accessories, with other players in the economy relying on these businesses for their operations.
Despite the industry’s vital contributions, it faces challenges such as diminishing raw material supply from forest reserves and dwindling log production in off-reserve areas. These challenges are attributed to inadequate incentives for farmers to retain timber trees on their farms and the degradation of the resource base due to illegal mining and farming.
Dr. Kwame Asamoah Adam, Chief Executive Officer of FIAG, emphasizes the exploration of opportunities in the sector through the association’s green economic models. He underscores the necessity of transitioning to a green economy business model to achieve sustainable development targets, promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable production, and environmentally friendly technologies, processes, and products.
The establishment of FIAG and its commitment to sustainable business practices demonstrate a collective effort within Ghana’s forestry sector to address challenges and prioritize green economic models for long-term sustainability.