Moore: Good foundation for green economy
Barbados’ “ambitious” push towards becoming a green economy has some significant foreign exchange-earning possibilities.
But having reached that conclusion, a respected local economist is cautioning that the required transformation will be no walk in the park and there was a need to fix some “training gaps” in the export of green services.
Dr Winston Moore, a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, made these views known in a recently released paper entitled An Assessment Of Green Export Opportunities For Barbados.
“The results of the study suggest that Barbados has a revealed comparative advantage in about 16 green export areas. The total value of these exports, however, is still quite small (less than four per cent of total exports) and has grown at the same rate as total exports in recent years,” Moore said.
“In relation to services, the number of potential business areas that could leverage the skills and resources of the island was larger. Some institutional support would be needed, however, to help professionals achieve international certification. It should also be noted that developing economies may be able to introduce new goods or services exports but sustaining that trade is more difficult, with many firms struggling to maintain their market share.
“These firms need to focus on research and development in order to keep their market share and enhance efficiency. While green goods and services might help diversify the island’s export base, many of these goods and services can build on existing industries.
“For example, green tours can use existing tourism infrastructure and help the island to enhance the earnings from that industry while providing a more fulfilling experience for visitors,” he added.
The former Barbados Economic Society president said Barbados had “potential opportunities” in several areas, including environmental education, environmental conservation organizations, air, water and waste programme administration, waste management services, remediation services, tour operators, landscaping services, advertising and public relations agencies, architectural services and engineering services, testing laboratories, graphic design services, contractors, residential remodellers, and commercial building construction.
“Barbados has a long history in the manufacture of solar technologies and with sufficient investment, these companies could penetrate a larger number of markets around the world. These are but a few examples, yet they illustrate the potential advantages that can be gleaned from building on the country’s knowledge and experience.
“There would also be potential advantages to pursuing a regional capacity building strategy on the export of green goods and services,” he said.
“For example, rather than setting up individual certification institutes on each island, a regional initiative could be pursued in this respect. On the basis of this analysis, Barbados has a comparative advantage in just six per cent of the green goods included in the [World Trade Organization] draft universe of environmental goods,” Moore said. (SC)