AKOBEN 2012 Ratings for the Mining and Manufacturing Sectors Disclosed
What is AKOBEN Program?
AKOBEN program is an environmental performance rating and disclosure initiative of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Government of Ghana. Under the AKOBEN initiative, the environmental performance of mining and manufacturing operations is assessed using a five-color rating scheme. The five colors are GOLD, GREEN, BLUE, ORANGE and RED, indicating environmental performance ranging from excellent to poor. These ratings are annually disclosed to the public and the general media, and it aims to strengthen public awareness and participation.
AKOBEN ratings are evaluated by analyzing more than a hundred performance indicators that include quantitative data as well as qualitative and visual information. These ratings measure the environmental performance of companies based on their day-to-day operations once they have successfully cleared their Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and obtained their environmental permit to operate. These ratings indicate how well companies have met the commitments they made in their EIAs at the planning stage. AKOBEN, therefore, complements the EIA process and serves as a monitoring and verification program to ensure that companies follow environmental regulations on a continual basis.
The highest level of performance—a GOLD rating—goes beyond the requirements of formal regulations and it signifies that a company applies international best practices for environmental management, and properly follows its corporate social responsibility policies. In contrast, the worst possible rating is a RED rating which is assigned to those companies that do not have a valid permit or a certificate as required by the Environmental Assessment Regulation LI 1652. An operation could also get a RED rating if its: (1) emissions and effluents exceed the environmental quality standards for discharging toxics into the environment, or (2) on-site hazardous waste management practices cause serious risk to physical or human environments.
The three intermediate rating categories are GREEN, BLUE and ORANGE. The GREEN rating signifies that a company is in full environmental compliance, it applies best practices and is responsive to public complaints, but there is room for improvement regarding the implementation of its social responsibility policies. A BLUE rating is also a sign of good environmental performance showing that a site has complied with the mandatory environmental regulatory requirements. Failure to meet the operational regulatory requirements related to environmental emissions and ambient quality could demote a manufacturing site to an ORANGE—an unsatisfactory rating. And if the violations are severe and create a credible risk of damage to the environment or the humans, the environmental performance of a company could be downgraded to a RED level, which indicates poor environmental performance.
Click on these hyperlinks to learn more about (1) the rating methodology, (2) the data collection system, (3) how the ratings are evaluated using a computer model, (4) the ratings reportcard that companies receive, and (5) the disclosure approach and dispute management.