June 4, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Three beverage factories in the east of Freetown are reported to have reneged on performing their corporate social responsibilities, contrary to what they indicated in their community development plan.
This was discovered following a tour of members of the Committee on Lands, Country Planning and the Environment to areas in which National Confectionary Company (NatCo), Best Food and M. K. Distilleries operate.
The committee, however, noted that the three companies focus was on promoting education in their respective operation areas, and less on other social issues affecting community development.
According to Hon. Hellen Kuyembeh, companies operating in the industrial estate area, east of Freetown are in the habit of performing their corporate social responsibility piecemeal, adding that their community development plan should be holistically implemented instead of concentrating on just one aspect.
The purpose of the committee’s visit, according to members, was to ascertain if companies are in compliance with their registration and standards in production, occupational health and safety of workers, waste management disposal, storage of fuel and raw materials, emission of water and whether community development issues are neglected.
Members maintained that even though some factories claim to have a scholarship scheme, they fail to disclose publicly the number of beneficiaries and the amount they spend annually, as reports they send to the Environmental Protection Agency are not verified.
But Senior Environmental Protection Officer, Tamba E. Nyaka, told the lawmakers that factories are granted Environmental Impact Assessment license based on their annual development action plan which they renew on a yearly basis. He added that application for renewal should be done three months prior to the expiration of the previous one, to avail environmental protection officials enough time to ascertain whether in fact factories complied with what was stated in their action plan.