|Strategy to develop action plan to achieve cleaner production
CP does not add to cost
The Clean Industry Development Project, sponsored by the Ministry of Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion and funded by the Asian Development Bank, is undertaking, with the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders to develop the strategy, action plan and public policies needed by Sri Lanka to achieve cleaner production and the increased production efficiency, international competitiveness and sustainable development that cleaner production makes possible.
A press release issued in this connection says that developing the strategy and action plan arebased on extensive research, especially on the advise of representatives from many private sector firms and organizations as to the combination of understanding, policies, incentives, rewards, pressures and other conditions that will change the perspective of the businessperson to believe that CP is in the best business interest of the firm.
Cleaner production (CP) is a broad concept that is achieved by reducing both the consumption of natural resources per unit of production and the amount of waste and the consequent impact on the environment and human health per unit of production. It is therefore measured in increased efficiency and productivity of the production process. Unlike pollution control, CP cannot be taught as a technique, but requires a shift in perspective of the business decision maker with regard to the factors considered in business decisions. Fortunately, it is also dissimilar to pollution control in that pursuing it does not simply add to the cost of production, but serves to reduce production costs and make the firm more productive and competitive.
CP is a condition in which pollutants produced and natural resources consumed for each unit of product or service are reduced so that growth is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. In practical use, the term cleaner production or CP often refers also to the collection of principles and practices by which one seeks to achieve that condition of CP.
A widely used definition of CP, given by the United Nations Environment Program, is: Cleaner production is the continuous application of an integrated preventive environmental strategy applied to processes, products, and services to increase overall efficency and reduce risks to humans and the environment. This involves: Production processes: conserving raw materials and energy, eliminating toxic raw materials and reducing the quantity and toxicity of all emissions and wastes; Products: reducing negative impacts along the life cycle of a product, from raw materials extraction to its ultimate disposal; and Services: incorporating environmental concerns into designing and delivering services.
This is a broad definition that addresses not only the reduction of the quantity and toxicity of pollution from production, but also the reduction of the consumption of natural resources by those processes. In this perspective, the principles and practices by which CP will be achieved include many related concepts, such as pollution prevention, waste minimization, environmental management, design-for-the-environment, life-cycle analysis, green accounting, and others.
CP also involves many sectors of activity, and the cooperation of all these sectors is needed to achieve CP on a national scale. The principles of CP originated in manufacturing, but they are equally applicable to transportation, mining, health services, agriculture, tourism and many other sectors. All levels of government provide facilities and services to their citizens, consuming resources and impacting the environment. Education, financial and professional organizations all influence the behaviour of business and can significantly contribute to achieving CP. Community and other volunteer organizations are made up of citizens who are impacted by the actions of business and who can contribute constructively to motivate change toward greater efficiency. Trade and investment may be strongly affected by CP in industry. All of these are stockholders in a process of achieving national CP, and each in its own way can contribute to and benefit from a national programme to achieve CP.
CP is not simply a response to environmental concerns. It very much concerns questions of economic competitiveness and national sustainable growth. At the core of the meaning of CP is efficiency, as less use of raw materials and less waste per unit of product inherently mean increased production efficiency. This in turn yields higher profitability and greater competitiveness. As world markets become more open and competitive, achieving CP can make a critical difference in the ability of a nations products and services to compete both in the global market and at home.
All developing regions of the globe are striving for rapid future industrialization. The adoption of principles and practices to achieve cleaner production can both make industrial growth more competitive and avoid the environmental impacts and the depletion of natural resources that have been incurred by the more industrialized nations from similar growth.
Unfortunately, the intensity of natural resources consumed and of pollutants discharged are not yet falling as fast as production is rising. The result will be the continuing rapid depletion of natural resources and degradation of the environment, and increasing risk to human health. Under those conditions, the faster economic growth occurs, the worse the problem will become. Many areas face an environmental disaster from what may seem like an economic success, but is an inherently unseasonable condition.
Changing this pattern requires a coherent national strategy that encompasses not only industry, but all sectors, public and private, whose activities have an impact on the environment or consume natural resources, or which can help to influence the behavionr of those who directly impact the environment. It requires commitment from government at the highest levels and the mainstreaming of concern for CP in public policy at all levels and in all sectors. Finally, it requires careful planning for actions to change the behavionr of enterprises and organizations, voluntarily, toward greater production efficiency. These actions must be carefully selected on the basis of the national strategy, achieve synergy through collaboration among sectors, and be supported by public policy and strong leadership.
Developing a workable strategy and action plan requires the collaboration of many sectors of government, business and the community. Representatives of different perspectives and interests must come together to discover their common interests in achieving CP and how the nation as a whole and the agenda of each stockholder can benefit from national progress toward CP.
They must then examine how each can contribute to a combined and integrated plan to achieve CP nationally, and work to integrate principles of CP into policy and programmes at all levels and in all sectors of activity. It is a long process, but the future cost to the nation of continuing in existing patterns of increasing industrial pollution and depletion of natural resources, accelerated by economic growth, is unacceptable. This is a truly national issue, cutting across all dimensions of governmental responsibility for the future welfare of the nation and its people, the release said in conclusion.
|NEWS | FEATURES |
| EDITORIAL | CARTOON | SPORTS