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.
Stringent environment compliance norms have put Sri Lankan industries and their suppliers under immense pressure to comply with stipulated environmental standards. Launched by DEG, UL DQS, ASSIST and Sri Lanka NCPC, PROSPER hopes to raise overall awareness on the need and means to implement Resource Efficient and Clean Production (RECP) methodologies, and strategize transfer of knowledge through a series of trainings and capacity building initiatives.
The skill-building and training courses targeted SMEs from manufacturing, textile and apparel, food and agro-processing, chemical and service sectors. Training of Trainers (ToT) workshops on Cleaner Production, as well as thematic sessions on Water, Energy and Chemicals, and e-toolkits were provided to participating SMEs. Companies were chosen to pilot the RECP training curriculum, and directly assisted with the further implementation of RECP methodologies. Overall, PROSPER increased awareness among SMEs and key stakeholders on the strengths and opportunities harmonizing processes and systems with RECP provides in achieving standards compliance and environmental sustainability.
Gujarat is one of India’s fastest growing states with petrochemical, chemical and pharmaceutical small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the forefront of major industries. Growth has resulted in job creation and prosperity, but also risks to human health and safety, through pollution brought about mishandling of hazardous chemicals. For a sustainable future, the state and its SMEs require safe, secure and environmentally sustainable development by implementing a responsible production approach in Gujarat.
SECURE Gujarat is a public-private partnership programme, established by DEG, UL-DQS India and ASSIST that aimed to initiate a switch to a Responsible Production framework and build capacity for target SMEs. Using UNEP’s Responsible Production approach, the project provided SMEs with the necessary tools to engage businesses, supply-chains, distributors, traders and buyers in accident prevention and emergency preparedness. The focus was to increase overall chemical safety and consequently reduce environmental impact in the operations of SMEs.
A clear demand for Responsible Production was identified in the chemical industries operating in Gujarat, and through the project, immense value was generated for companies. 395 key representatives from the chemical industries across two states participated in the CEO forums, and 64 professionals trained to become experts in Responsible Production implementation. Moreover, 8 organizations were provided with technical assistance to successfully implement Responsible Production, with 500 self-assessment toolkits distributed to local trainers, professionals, and organizations.
UNFPA launched Babaenihan in 2015, a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the pressing issues that impact on the health and well-being of Filipino women and girls, and how each member of society – from the community to the national government – can contribute to improving their future. It aims to raise awareness on the urgency of addressing teenage pregnancies through investments in education, health, and economic opportunities. The campaign is a partnership between UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) of the Philippines based on a mutual goal of empowering Filipino girls in marginalized communities.
ASSIST is providing UNFPA strategic support in producing the campaign’s multimedia requirements including the conceptualization and design of the full campaign strategy and plan, development and production of communications materials, and the execution of the campaign plan. The project also held a nationwide campaign launch and is empowering women through the anti-poverty program of the OVP called Angat Buhay.
The energy crisis in the Philippines incurs up to 23 billion pesos (0.17% of the GDP) in economic damages and has affected small and medium-sized buildings (SMBs) that struggle to address increases in power cuts. The crisis also affects public buildings like schools and hospitals. The accessRE project responds to the problem through the adoption of sustainable power systems, particularly solar panel installations in selected community-relevant SMBs.
The project introduces small-scale solar power solutions with capacities ranging from 3kWh to 7kWh that can save SMBs PHP 3,900 to PHP 9,100 per month with a return on investment period of about 2-5 years and an average lifespan of 20 years. Specific project activities include the conduct of (1) multi-sectoral dialogues and facilitation of local alliances; (2) pilot installations within SMBs amounting to 100kWp capacity; (3) establishment of a Technical Training Center; and (4) community awareness and promotion of low-cost energy alternatives. The project also seeks to achieve sustainability by building local capacity and providing education and employment opportunities for solar technicians and consultants through training and job placement sessions.
By the end of the project it would have reduced the stress on conventional energy sources through increased adoption of solar technology among SMBs, improved productivity within key establishments through uninterrupted power supply, established a regular pipeline of local green (solar) technicians for affordable solutions, and created positive impact and contributed to the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Road Map of the country.
A WHO-UN joint report in 2015 found that as many as 8.4 million Filipinos don’t have access to clean drinking water. These people collect water from unsafe and untreated sources and as a result, many are highly susceptible to water-borne diseases. SOURCe is a partnership with DEG and Vestergaard that aims to prevent waterborne diseases posed by untreated water sources in vulnerable rural areas through the provision of modern technology, training, and capacity building.
It was first implemented in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake and is now being replicated to remote villages in the Philippines. The goal is to distribute over 2,000 free water filters and to create awareness on safe drinking water and proper hygiene practices. The project has the following key interventions: (1) multi-stakeholder engagement with local government units, local organizations, and other organizations; (2) training of Community Clean Water Advocates (Philippines) and establishment of customer care centers (Nepal); (3) community awareness sessions; (4) school awareness programs on WaSH; (5) installation and distribution of LifeStraw Water Filters.
The project is still running in the Philippines and similar to the experience in Nepal, expects to result in increased demand for clean drinking water and strong community support meeting this basic need.
The food industry of the Philippines is one that has a rich cultural base that fits the palates of the world. The country is likewise blessed with a rich array of natural resources that provides all types of raw materials for the development of food products such as marine and fresh water fishes, crustaceans, domesticated animals, fruit trees, crops and vegetables, to name a few. Given this potential, the project aimed to discover the hindrances to the Philippine food industry in gaining considerable market share and bounty.
ASSIST through this project, conducted consultation activities and researched on obstacles to higher food safety standards by raising awareness among CEOs and different stakeholders and implementing online and offline training modules. Through this project, it was discovered that one of the problems is the lack of activities to capacitate the food industry to produce world-class products. The project therefore, specifically aimed at addressing this problem while fostering cooperation and trade relationships between the Philippines and EU member states through the reduction and elimination of hazards / risks in Philippine food production.
The Fairtrade movement in the Philippines has been around for more than two decades but only few producers, especially farmers, are aware of it. Part of the goal to change this, is to form a Fairtrade Marketing Organization (FMO) in the Philippines that will promote fairtrade certification and increase the sales of fairtrade products.
ASSIST in partnership with FLO-Cert, OURFood and SIGNAsia implemented this project to support the establishment of FMO and increase awareness on the benefits of fairtrade to farmers and businesses.
ASSIST developed awareness raising materials on fairtrade, including international standards for small producers and the certification process. This was achieved through the conduct of workshops, forums and a market research; and strategy to identify commercial partners. The project also secured the commitment of future fairtrade product retailers in the Philippines. Two workshops were conducted in the Visayas region (Bacolod and Cebu) to provide basic information about Fairtrade International, FMO, standards for small producers and the certification processes. This was attended by civil society organizations (CSOs), including farmer organizations and small businesses.