After the Heat Comes the Labour Dispute
Comment by Vivianne Rau
34,000,000 kilowatt hours, 50,000,000 litres of water and 3,000,000 Euro – these are just some of the per annum savings realised by only one of the more than 145 projects funded by the SWITCH-Asia programme, the largest EU-funded initiative on SCP in Asia. That’s the equivalent of the energy-use of 8500 four-person households per year and the water contained in around 23 swimming pools with a length of 50 meters.
With SWITCH-Asia, the European Union seeks to support the transition of Asian countries to low-carbon, resource-efficient and circular economies while promoting sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns in Asia and greener supply chains between Asia and Europe.
In 2017, the European Commission established the SWITCH-Asia Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Facility in Bangkok. The facility has the mandate to facilitate coordination and knowledge exchange between SWITCH-Asia stakeholders, and provides a single platform for all SWITCH-Asia implementation projects. Through targeted government advisory projects, the facility also strengthens the integration of sector-specific sustainable consumption and production policies at the national level. In doing so, it helps governments in Asia fulfil their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal 12, “Sustainable Consumption and Production”.
The facility’s activities are implemented by adelphi in collaboration with GIZ International Services and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). adelphi’s office in Bangkok provides support.
Khao Kho, Thailand
By working with governments and other stakeholders, the facility seeks to strengthen SCP policies in the region, and raise the awareness among all stakeholders via outreach efforts. It also promotes good practices to ensure future sustained improvements in SCP patterns and, through its advisory services, builds the capacity of government officials and other key stakeholders. By supporting communication and knowledge management for implementation projects, the facility also helps share the success stories of SCP more widely across Asia.
In addition to the staffing of permanent SCP Facility experts, adelphi provides sectoral and topic experts to the facility. These work directly with Asian government counterparts on SCP policies, for example in the building or waste management sectors, and also conduct analytical work for the European Commission on the financing of sustainable business cases or the impacts of the SWITCH-Asia grant scheme.
adelphi is also involved in several SWITCH-Asia implementation and consultation projects, for example the promotion of sustainable consumption and the production of a green building code, promoting resource-efficient metalworking, (re-)introducing sustainable silk production in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and avoiding marine litter in the Maldives. Keep reading to learn more about these specific projects.
From 2020 to 2021, adelphi experts advised the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) of Pakistan on the development of a green building code. The Ministry plays a leading role in the shift towards SCP, and has set out the policy guidelines for a green building code. As the lead agency, it effectively coordinates activities to achieve SCP in all sectors and agencies throughout the country. The experts analysed opportunities and challenges for the development of the green building code, created a detailed roadmap for the implementation process, and conducted practitioner interviews from various stakeholder groups. Additionally, the partners prepared and followed up on two multi-stakeholder workshops. The results were published in two flagship reports.
From 2016 to 2020, adelphi was part of the consortium of the METABUILD project, which supported 400 small and medium-sized enterprises from the metalworking and building sectors in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The yearly energy, water and money savings mentioned above are a result of this project. One of the companies that profited from METABUILD is Hulas Wires, a steel wire production company from Nepal. “We saved energy, reduced fuel and water consumption and pollution levels have also decreased a lot,” says Sanjeev Kumar Jha, Management Representative of Hulas Wires.
Beyond helping individual companies, the project had other positive outcomes. adelphi was involved in training 30 financial institutions on developing cleantech and sustainable financing products. The capacity-building of local teams to support more SMEs was another key outcome, a result of Training of Trainers workshops.
Every year, the Maldives generate nearly 25,000 tons of plastic waste. Up to one third ends up in coastal areas. In 2021, the PROMISE project launch kicked off with a beach clean-up event at Hulhumalé, Maldives. Over 450 kg of trash was collected within an hour, out of which 135 kg was recyclable waste.
The PROMISE project is also part of the SWITCH-Asia programme. The beach clean-up was just a kick-off to a project that will contribute to the prevention of waste leakage from land-based sources into the Lakshadweep Sea. The body of water borders India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The goals are to promote regionally integrated source-to-sea solutions to reduce marine littering in tourism clusters and strengthen the position of micro, small and medium sized enterprises in the tourism cluster as well as regional governance mechanisms. Find out more about our involvement here.
The PROTOPRINT project takes a creative approach to introducing plastic waste into a circular economy system and lifting women out of poverty. The idea is to use plastic waste collected by waste pickers (often female) in India to produce the thermoplastic filament used in 3D printing. The aim is to utilise this technology to enable waste pickers who collect such high-density polyethylene to become profitable micro-entrepreneurs within the solid waste management industry. Up to now, these female waste pickers are part of the informal sector, have little negotiating power and are usually not adequately compensated. By setting up production facilities to produce 3D printing and supporting the waste pickers in selling there collected plastic waste to these facilities, they will be included in the formal working sector and lifted out of poverty.
Another fascinating SWITCH-Asia project that adelphi is involved in aims to reconnect the fragmented parts of Uzbek and Tajik silk value chains across the border and, at the same time, introduce or revive sustainable practices in the production of silk and ikat. In doing so, the project reintegrates formerly used organic dyes and promotes the sustainable treatment of water in general and wastewater specifically. In addition, the project supports the adoption of circular design practices. The countries also benefit from the project’s international orientation, which includes the certification of organic silk and the facilitation of access to local and global markets, further strengthening the position of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as countries of origin for silk products. Learn more about this project here: RUTSIS.
These are just brief portraits of five SWITCH-Asia activities that adelphi plays a role in. In fact, our experts in circular economy, energy, green entrepreneurship, finance and sustainable consumption have been involved in over 30 projects and assignments related to sustainable consumption and production in Asia as part of the SWITCH-Asia programme. To learn more about the impact of SWITCH-Asia, visit the website.