Businesses targeting the European market have been warned against abuse of environmental and social laws because European countries are beginning to use them as excuses to deny entry of goods to their countries.
While launching the 2015 corporate social responsibility awards on Wednesday at the Uganda Manufacturers Association Show Grounds in Kampala, Mr Gideon Badagawa, the executive director Private Sector Foundation Uganda, said companies which do not respect the environment, do not relate well with people and those which use their profits to cause social disorder, risk being blacklisted from the European markets because corporate social responsibility is now a global trend.
Origin of goods
“They do traceability of these products to understand their origin and they ask a lot of questions on how the goods are produced, if children are used in production, if the companies comply with environmental laws,” he said, adding in Europe, it is a trend that has begun taking root and very soon, it will spread to developing countries.
According to Alinc Nurcan the project manager, this is the second time the awards are being held in Uganda under the ISO 26,000 social responsibility standard and the ten principles of the UN global impact which call for sustainable exploitation of natural resources.
“An organisation’s performance in relation to society in which it operates and to its impact on the environment has become a critical part of measuring its overall performance and its ability to continue operating efficiently,” she said.
Dr Markus Francke, the head of energy programmes at Germany Development Corporation, said this year’s awards are being funded by the Germany Development Agency because of their keen interest in clean energy and energy saving techniques which are critical to environmental conservation.
“We have been supporting the process for the last eight years because sustainability is our core mandate that is why the ministry of Energy is participating to ensure that industries are promoting the efficient use of energy,” he said.
The country mostly exports agricultural products ( about 80 per cent of total exports). The most important export is coffee which stands at 22 per cent of total exports. It is followed by tea, cotton, copper, oil and fish. Apart from Europe, Uganda’s main export partners are South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.