Better Work is a global partnership of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), which unites the expertise of the ILO in labor standards with that of IFC in private sector development. It aims to improve the working conditions and promote competitiveness in global garment supply chains by assessing current conditions and offering customized advisory and training services to factories.
ASSIST implemented the project in Vietnam for 30 factories in four phases to collect information that will help Better Work assess whether/how to integrate environmental compliance into its labor compliance program.
Phase 1 is for the development and testing of a country guide and self-assessment tool that helps textile factories comply with country regulations and the conduct of a gap analysis between different standards including the Higg Index and IFC Performance Standards. Phase 2 covers the development and delivery of the training session for 30 Better Work participating factories. Phase 3 is for the provision of on-site advisory services while Phase 4 is for the delivery of all the tools developed and integration into Better Work’s well-established labor compliance program.
Industries in Vietnam have the potential to significantly reduce the material, energy and pollution intensity per unit of industrial output, bringing about a reduction of the overall ecological footprint, while improving productivity and competitiveness. Thus ASSIST, together with PUMA and DEG, implemented a Public-Private Partnership project to support Vietnamese factories from the textile, garment and leather sector in their efforts to achieve the three dimensions of sustainability: production efficiency, environmental management, and human development.
CONSERV aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, secure availabilities of natural resources, and minimize risks from waste and pollution, ultimately contributing to the realization of a green industry and a green economy. To achieve these objectives, the key interventions include (1) rollout of a strong awareness-raising campaign among decision makers through knowledge sharing forums, brochures and more; (2) capacity building workshops for practitioners and technicians; (3) developing a resource efficiency toolkit and body of knowledge for the sector; and (4) implementing energy audits and advisory for select companies.
The project ultimately resulted in the increased awareness among the factories on the need and importance of resource efficiency and waste management, enhanced local capacity on these topics, and sustainability of the project through effective communication. CONSERV capacitated over 500 professionals and technicians from various factories and extended its impact to over 200 textile, garment and leather factories.
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in India has categorized the retail sector as an energy-intensive industry which needs to optimise its operations to become sustainable. The food and beverage sub-sector constitutes about 60% of the retail sector and generates large amounts of waste. In addition, 40% of food production is estimated to end up as waste due to improper handling, transportation, and storage.
The project Green Retail, therefore, targets the food and beverage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India in order to green the retail industry in the country by facilitating the switch to resource efficient practices in retailers’ operations and contributing to the evolution of green consumers. Green Retail was part of the European Commission’s SWITCH Asia Programme; and was implemented by ASSIST, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), Retailers Association of India, AREC and STENUM Asia. This project involved agricultural and livestock producers, food processing industries, retailers and consumers across the value and supply chains.
ASSIST undertook the following interventions for this project: creation of a sustainable business model for retailers; management and oversight of supply chain members; promotions of sustainable consumption; strengthening of partnerships and sustainability reporting. Improvements were made in three focus-areas – supplier and manufacturing practices; retailing and in-store practices and consumption and end-of-life practices. Some of the positive impacts reported by the participating SMEs include a reduction in energy bills, reduction in consumption of oil, improved electrical safety, improved efficiency of thermal systems, increase in production and a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) constitute a major part of the ancillary industry as well as the overall manufacturing sector in India, especially those dealing with metal finishing operations. These SMEs are often constrained into using inefficient processes and technologies leading to lower competitiveness, poor environmental performance and unsafe working conditions. Moreover, they are under constant cost and time pressure from their clients up the value chain.
Sustainable production through market penetration of closed loop technologies in the metal finishing industry (ACIDLOOP) is a 4-year action under the European Commission’s SWITCH-Asia Programme, which aimed to introduce technology innovation as well as resource efficiency in the metal finishing companies (SMEs) that would lead to improved environmental quality and combat pollution through advanced water treatment measures and energy efficient processes. The objectives of the project were (a) improved urban environmental quality in the urban regions of National Capital Region (NCR) and Chandigarh, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chennai; (b) improved living conditions in the target regions and (c) improved production technologies.
Some of the important activities carried out to achieve the project objectives include raising awareness and delivery of trainings on the concept of closed loop technologies, adaptation of resource efficiency toolkits and individual consultations on resource efficiency and acid recovery measures. ACIDLOOP was able to benefit a total of 106 companies through the individual consultation on resource efficiency and acid recovery measures. This resulted in an average decrease of more than 20% of material, energy and water consumption in participating companies across all regions. In addition to this practical demonstration, two acid recycling and one water recycling technologies were also showcased across all target regions.
Industrialization has the potential to help achieve poverty eradication, improve gender equality and labour standards and provide greater access to education and healthcare. At the same time, industrial processes play a major role in the degradation of the global environment. Industries in developing countries have significant potential to reduce the material, energy, and pollution per unit of industrial output.
The project’s aim was to implement a sustainable industrial development programme through the promotion of resource efficiency and waste management practices benchmarked on international standards. The envisaged outcome of the project was to help the supply chain factories of footwear, apparel and accessories (FAA) sectors in the developing countries of Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia and China) to reduce their energy, water, waste and CO2 emission by 25% by 2015, compared to the 2011 baseline, and to contribute to a green economy and sustainable industrial development.
Over the course of the project, more than 500 attendees were trained and 35 factories participated from the target countries. The project resulted in total savings of USD 4 million in the first year with an average payback period of 2.5 years, 62,000 MWh per annum of energy saved (equivalent to 44,500 tons per annum of carbon dioxide emissions), nearly 633,000 m3 per annum of water saved and approximately 660 tonnes per annum of waste reduced.