EPA emphasises importance of companies managing ESG risks

Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Kemraj Parsram has stressed the importance of companies managing their environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks.

Parsram made this point during a panel discussion at the International Energy Conference and Expo at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown on Wednesday.

EPA’s Director, Kemraj Parsram (left) during the discussion at the International Energy Conference on Wednesday

While addressing recent media reports regarding the agency’s Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), Parsram made it clear that the EPA is not recklessly granting EIAs.

He said, while there is no requirement for EIAs in the agency’s governing act, the EPA has the authority to thoroughly review individual projects and activities in the energy sector before granting authorisation.

The agency has been actively reviewing these projects, with a key focus on the permitting process, the EPA’s director stated.

“Within our permits, we have mandated obligations, a mix of prescriptive as well as objective regulations that will help these companies to ensure sustainability, as well as managing the risk from environmental aspects, from a social aspect, and even a governance aspect,” he explained.

Parsram further noted that due to the pressing issue of climate change and the need to reduce emissions, the EPA is implementing a strict zero-tolerance policy on flaring and venting.

His remarks come at a time when ESG issues are increasingly being recognised as critical to the success and sustainability of businesses.

Environmental concerns, social responsibility, and good governance practices have become important factors for investors and consumers alike in their decision-making processes. Failure to manage ESG risks can harm the environment and society, negatively impacting a company’s reputation, financial performance, and legal liabilities.

As a country with abundant natural resources, including significant oil reserves, Guyana must prioritise ESG issues as it develops its energy sector. Companies must work closely with regulatory bodies.

Parsram’s call for companies to manage ESG risks reflects the country’s commitment to achieving sustainability and protecting its environment and society for future generations.