ASSIST, DBP, ECCP, EMB-DENR and ADFIAP sign partnership agreement

24 04 2012

Green Financing aims to support environment-friendly processes and systems such as cleaner production, waste minimization, resource conservation, and energy efficiency.

Affirming their commitment to promote sustainable development in the Philippines, ASSIST, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) and the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR) signed a memorandum of agreement for the Green Financing project last April 12, 2012 at the DBP Executive Lounge.

Green Financing aims to support environment-friendly processes and systems such as cleaner production, waste minimization, resource conservation, and energy efficiency. For this project, DBP earmarked 20.6B for industries and local government units to use on green initiatives.

DBP Program Development Head Vice President Paul Lazaro welcomed the attendees, after which ASSIST Managing Director Sreeni Narayanan, EMB-DENR Director Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna ECCP President Hubert D’ Aboville and ADFIAP Secretary General Octavio Peralta signed the partnership agreement.

In his closing remarks, DBP President and CEO Francisco F. Del Rosario Jr. commended the partners for their collaborative effort especially in this effort for sustainable development.

ASSIST Executive Director Murali, Group Executive Matthias Wichmann, Group Associate Mahnaz Zanganeh and Projects and Grants Management Associate Melba Tutor were also present..

See related article on Manila Bulletin.


All systems go for ASSIST’s two new sustainability projects

24 04 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) is proud to announce the start of two new sustainability initiatives in India, Nepal and Bhutan, funded under the European Union’s SWITCH Asia Program.

Dubbed ACID LOOP, the project in India promotes sustainable production through market penetration of closed loop technologies in the metal finishing industry (ACIDLOOP). It will be implemented in partnership with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

More specifically, the four-year action aims 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.

On the other hand, Sustainable and Efficient Industrial Development (SEID) seeks to contribute towards sustainable development of Nepal’s and Bhutan’s economy with clear focus on national industrial sectors that impact environment and which have huge potential for employment generation and poverty alleviation. Austria’s GrAT – Gruppe Angepasste Technologie (Center for Appropriate Technology) is the Project Lead.

Both initiatives tag ASSIST in developing learning materials, spearheading the awareness and visibility campaign, organizing trainings and forums and providing direct assistance. #

COMMENTARY: Responding to Shifting Trends in International Cooperation

12 04 2012

by Sebastian Reichman
University of Applied Sciences Krems

A fundamental shift in the language landscape of international cooperation has taken place. In the 2005 Paris Declaration of OECDs “High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness”, the word ‘aid’ is mentioned 57 times, whereas ‘cooperation’ is only used twice. In the Busan Declaration of 2011, however, a reversal of pattern can be observed: ‘aid’ appears six times, and ‘cooperation’, 41 times.

This shift goes beyond simple word-games, as it reflects a deep change in the very nature of the process of development cooperation. Besides promoting solidarity and human rights, it is vital for solving global problems, such as food security and climate change. These problems are borderless in nature and require coordinated, global action to tackle, and the one-sided process of giving aid simply does not grasp the requirement for comprehensive cooperation society faces nowadays.

Development cooperation can also be seen as a contribution to the highly globalized world we nowadays find ourselves in. As a fact, globalization knows winners and losers and those who benefit face the moral obligation to share their dividends with those who lose.

The need to address climate change also calls to mind the concept of climate justice. Western countries had their phase of industrial revolution – a period of extremely high pollution – at a time when carbon emissions hardly received attention. However, this is not a thing of the past, as countries in the northwestern hemisphere still emit about 55% of the global emissions, while comprising merely one-fifth of the world’s population. Now that developing countries find themselves in a state of industrial development, bringing about improved living standards, it would be two-faced to deny them this progress.
Furthermore, growth’s meaning differs based on the socio-economic context. In the North, growth often refers to greater purchasing power or higher living standards, but in developing countries, it is a matter of life and death, of survival.

Scientific consensus proves that the current situation simply does not allow pollution at current levels if global warming is to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius. Henceforth Western countries face the moral imperative to employ their expertise in order to pursue this development on a sustainable basis. This can be achieved through bilateral aid and/or by supporting organizations that engage in the campaign to achieve development in sustainable terms.

The beneficiaries of achievements in this context are by no means the partners in developing countries only. In the same way challenges such as climate change do not know any borders, the alleviation of such problems as hunger, poverty, human rights violations and social injustice do not know any either. It is what economists like to call spillover benefits, where countries benefit from the world being a better place.

Partnerships for cooperation come in all shapes and sizes, but Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in particular are emerging as effective means of generating and promoting innovation and entrepreneurial development.

By participating in public-private partnerships companies are able to improve their reputations, achieve product differentiation (think fair trade) and foster a sense of corporate identity. Beyond these benefits, companies simply have to react to consumer demands, as consumers increasingly require companies to deliver more than just good quality at a good price.

In addition, globalization and technological advancements increased public awareness for the imperative of development cooperation. Organizations can now deliver their messages in a far more comprehensive and sophisticated way, and the public responds as the world’s grievances transform from words into images and videos. This perfectly coincides with a broader realization of the process of globalization, which in turn inspires people to grasp the need for coordinated action.

But as promising these partnerships may be, there are challenges ahead which may be rooted in differences in ideology and values between the partners, the cultural and geographical distance, politically-loaded relationships and fragile social trust, among others.

Thankfully, organizations like ASSIST are emerging to help respond to these challenges, through their comprehensive capabilities in conceiving and handling projects to address the needs of the society. They can bring together appropriate partners, experts, relevant grants and civil society organizations, to make the vision of sustainable development a reality.#

ASSIST energy efficiency initiative LEAP Indonesia holds Train the Trainer workshops

11 04 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) energy efficiency initiative Leapfrog towards Efficiency And Progress through Low Carbon Economy Indonesia (LEAP) held Train-the-Trainer Workshops last March 26 to 30, 2012 Hotel Ibis Slipi in Jakarta Indonesia.

Benchmarked on international standards and best practices such as ISO 50001, the training aims to build capacity of energy professionals in Indonesia by creating a pool of local trainers on energy management systems. Among the topics covered are carbon footprint calculation, GHG inventory, and energy management systems.

LEAP Indonesia is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project designed to help the businesses from five sectors (Cement, Iron and Steel, Textile, Power Plant and Palm Oil) 1) reduce their Green House Gas emissions, 2) become more energy-efficient and 3) contribute to the national plans of the government towards low-carbon economy.

The initiative is co-financed by PT TUV NORD Indonesia and German development bank DEG. ASSIST offers technical expertise, training and technical assistance to local companies for this project.

Another batch of training is currently being held in Medan, set at April 9 to 13.

The workshop was facilitated by ASSIST Partnerships and Network Management Director Kamesh Ganeson and Triyono Adiputra. Ganeson is a sought-after expert on Enterprise Risk Management, Energy Management Systems, Six Sigma Implementation, Business Continuity Management, Strategic Business Planning, Balanced Scorecard Implementation, Innovative Problem Solving and Decision Making (TRIZ, Theory of Constraints, 8D, K-T), Business Process Re-engineering, Value Analysis & Engineering, and Complaints Management. Meanwhile, Mr. Adiputra is a lead consultant for several Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Indonesia, and has a master’s degree in Environmental Management.

Participants include representatives of pilot companies from cement, iron and steel, and power industries: Holcim, Merpati Balap Sakti, Indonesia Power Gunung Salak, Siemens Indonesia, Indonesia Power (Suralaya), Jawa Power, Indo Raya Kimia.

Local papers Jurnal Medan, Sumut Pos and Bisnis Sumatra are also featuring the initiatives.#

ASSIST launches Advancing Carbon-Neutral Economy (ACE) PPP Project in Chongqing and Guangzhou

10 04 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) launched its Public Private Partnerships Advancing Carbon Neutral Economy last March 22-23 in Chongqing and March 26-27 in Guangzhou through a Multi-Stakeholder Forum and Awareness Training.

ACE is an 18-month PPP Project co-financed by DEG and implemented by TUV NORD China and ASSIST that seeks to help reduce China’s carbon footprint.

TUV NORD’s Lead Auditor Li Yong Jun facilitated the Awareness Sessions along with ASSIST Projects and Grants Management Director Sathappan Sathappan, while TUV NORD’s CEO and Regional Manager for the Far East Paul van Bernkelen led the forum.

The events provided the attendees an overview of the project, including its rationale and the benefits to participating companies, and solicited their support and input in reducing China’s carbon emissions. Companies were likewise introduced to the International Standards and best practices such as ISO 50001 (Energy Management System), ISO 14064 (GHG Inventories), and PAS 2050 (GHG Assessment). #

EQUIP BPO culminates with a Best Practices Forum

4 04 2012

EQUIP BPO (Enhanced QUality and Information security Program for Businesses and Professionals in the Outsourcing sector) ended with a Best Practices forum at the Crowne Plaza, Ortigas last March 16, 2012.

Jointly implemented by Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and TUV Rheinland Philippines and in collaboration with the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), the EQUIP BPO initiative seeks to equip the BPO/ITES firms with the necessary technical and managerial skills to adapt to challenges on quality, health and safety, and information security practices.

TUV Rheinland’s Tristan Loveres welcomed the attendees while BPAP’s Raymond Lacdao delivered the Keynote Address.

For his part, Kamesh Ganeson of ASSIST discussed the Project Implementation Highlights, which include:

(i) 60 participants attended the 2 CEO Forums;
(ii) 59 individuals attended the 2 3-day Technical Trainings on QMS, ISMS, OHSAS
(iii) Organized 2 1-day Focus Group Discussions with key players of the IT-BPO Industry
(iv) Identified and developed 3 course modules based on the outcome of the Focus Group Discussions
(v) Delivered 2 3-day TOT Sessions to qualify local trainers on the following topics: Quality, Leadership, and Problem-Solving & Decision-Making
(vi) Provided on site & off site technical assistance to 9 participating companies during the project journey
(vii) Designed and developed a virtual academy for the IT-BPO Industry which has e-learning, online exam and project information components

Five participating companies provided a presentation on their experience and learning during the project, especially in terms of quality and information security program management: B&M, Maersk, Ericsson, NATCCO and Itech. Mr. Murali of ASSIST delivered the closing remarks.

Attendees include NATCCO, Global Payments Processing Center, Ericsson, Itech Business Solution, B&M Global Services Manila, TDG, Emerson, BPAP, UP-ISSI, Maersk Global Service Center, GSM, PC Craft Computer Technologies, Foundation for IT Sustainability, Amdatex, and ECCI.