KC Confectionery’s CEO Satnarine Bachew is calling on industry captains to lead by making the right decisions to ensure sustainable development is brought to fruition in all areas, saying this must not be discussed solely globally but also nationally, involving all stakeholders.
“Otherwise we will not be leaders. We will be leading in the wrong things and the wrong direction and the time has come where we have to step up to the mantle,” Bachew said as he identified that “sustainability in its new context” is where society, environment, and economics meet.
According to Bachew until everything is done to fit within that framework sustainable development will not be achieved.
He also advised that regulatory agencies be given more “teeth” saying, “A lot of times people will not adhere until the regulatory framework is in place and until they know there’s a penalty. We do things until we can get away with it.”
Bachew was speaking at the 13th Annual International Finance and Accounting Conference (AIFAC 2022) hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of T&T (ICATT) and held at the Hyatt Regency yesterday which brought together industry experts.
This year’s theme, “Beyond Finance: Driving Sustainability, Reinforcing Trust” was derived from the three-year strategic plan of ICATT and seeks to address and provide a myriad of practical and theoretical solutions to the global, regional and local trends impacting the profession.
Noting the current discussions taking place at COP 27 where “a lot of hard questions” are being asked on how to engage in sustainable development Bachew said,” It is all well and good to have these conversations at the global level where we are struggling to get financial contributions to fix the problems but how do we translate that down to every citizen? From the global level to the national level to every citizen on the street because it is our survival at stake.”
Bachew said everyone must therefore, take responsibility for this, emphasising that if this cannot be “trickled down” to the man on the street then the consequences would be very dire.
He also told the audience that while they are instrumental in key decision-making, accountability is critical.
“We are not the gatekeepers and if we make mistakes and if we don’t put our hands up and say, ‘I’m going to be the whistleblower’ we are going to continue to make the wrong decisions that will impact negatively on the planet in which we live,” Bachew added.
On this country’s own environmental challenges Bachew, who once worked in the marine environmental field, cited coastal erosion for instance, noting that the coconut estate at Cedros remains under serious stress.
He also noted that along the east coast like Mayaro wide areas are washed away.
According to Bachew reports on these issues raised years ago simply collected dust.
“Our fishing industry is ‘overfished’ and these are some of the decisions we did not take and we are paying for at this point.
“And we can only hope the level of consciousness that we are trying to raise by institutes like ICATT will change our mindsets and put us into a position where we are forced to make the right decisions to protect our environment and planet,” he added.
On the issue of decent work, he said there are many who remain underemployed while at the same time organisations are declaring “obscene profits.”
“Like what some of our fossil companies are declaring at this time but we talk about global warming and sustainable development so sometimes it can be just mere talk, but the time has come where we have to change that,” Bachew advised.