ASSIST team gathers for annual planning, tackles roadmap to 2015

29 10 2012

The entire team of Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) convened last October 3 to 5, 2012 at the ASSIST headquarters in Manila for the Annual Planning Meeting.

Highlights of the three-day event include the discussion of regional updates, workshops on ASSIST’s generic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and talks from special guests Dr. Juergen Bischoff, Senior Advisor to GIZ, Dr. Stephan Kunz of AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation, and PUMA Sustainability Project Manager Adam Brennan.

Managing Director Sreeni Narayanan welcomed all participants who came from ASSIST offices in India, Vietnam and the Philippines. They are: India-based Projects and Grants Management Director Sathappan and South Asia Director Platosen Samarasam, Philippines-based Finance Director Suganya Sreenivas, Partners and Network Management Director Kamesh Ganeson, Services Manager Matthias Wichmann, Social Enterprise Manager Olga Babina, Project Manager Sunil Narayanan, Communications and Visibility Associate Margaret Yarcia, and Vietnam staff Le Nguyen Hoang Long, Quynh Tran and Vy Truong.

Platosen was especially happy to report on the takeoff of EU projects in Nepal and Bhutan, while Mekong Director Aru David proudly announced the successes in forging Public-Private Partnership (PPP) deals.

Executive Director Murali, for his part, discussed the status of Blueprint 2012, while Project Manager Yatheender P.M. presented on  portal/magazine. Kamesh and Matthias also reported on their achievements: new contacts established and service contracts approved.

The team also tackled the roadmap to 2015, focusing on their vision of ASSIST as a more established NGO in Asia in terms of reach, funding, visibility, size, competency of people and partnerships. #


ASSIST kicks off UPSCALE Morocco with multi-stakeholder dialogues

12 10 2012

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project UPscaling Sustainability, Competence and Leadership in Energy Excellence (UPSCALE Morocco), co-implemented by DQS UL and Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) was launched with a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues last September 7 and 11 in Rabat, Morocco.

The initiative aims to promote energy efficiency among energy-intensive industries in Morocco. The project features awareness-raising among various stakeholders, policy dialogue, best practices sharing, development of energy consumption standards for energy-intensive industries, training programs on energy management, and creation of a local pool of energy efficiency champions through the introduction of certification programs.

Recognized as the fifth largest economy in Africa, Morocco is also the largest energy importer in North Africa, with 97% of energy supply coming from outside sources. Hence, the expected expansion of the economy would exacerbate the risks to the country’s energy security situation.

The event was attended by representatives of consultancy firms, enterprises, associations, public institutions and universities.

Special guests include Mr. Said Mouline, president of Sustainable Development Commission at the General Confederation of the Moroccan Companies (CGEM) and Director of ADEREE; Mr. Ryad Mezzour, Vice President of CGEM; Mrs. Hanan Hanzaz, Director of Morocco Cleaner Production Centre (CMPP) and Mr. Belgacem Raoudi, Director of DQS Morocco.

Mr. Ahmed Bouzid, Head of Energy Efficient Division, ADEREE talked about the current energy efficiency practices and scenario in the industrial sector while Energy Expert Mr. Abdellatif Touzani presented his views on ISO 50001 standard.

Mr. Bouzid talked about Morocco’s structured strategy for economic development especially related to energy efficiency. A detailed view of the project pilot initiative to introduce ISO 50001 Energy Management System to the industries in the country was then discussed by Mr. Manwah Ayassor, Project Manager at CMPP.

A partnership was signed between CMPP and the Association of Quality and Management (AQM). The event ended with a call for participants to share their views and expectations for the project.

Following the dialogues, awareness training sessions will be conducted focusing on energy efficiency standards and practices in three locations to build capacity of the SMEs.#

ASSIST Cleaner Production Project PROSPER Sri Lanka graduates new batch of trainers

3 10 2012

PROmoting Sustainable Practices on Environment and Resource optimization (PROSPER) in Sri Lanka held another batch of training of trainer (ToT) workshop on cleaner production in Colombo, Sri Lanka last September 11 to 13, 2012.

Co-financed by DEG and UL DQS and implemented by UL DQS, Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), and Sri Lanka NCPC, PROSPER Sri Lanka 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 three-day training was led by Sri Lanka NCPC Deputy Director Samantha Kumarasena, and Director Sena Peiris, and was attended by members of the chemical, textile, and service industries.

Following the event, the project team is set of conduct two more ToTs, implement the training curricula, and distribute an e-toolkit among the SMEs.

ASSIST Project and Grants Management Director Sathappan Sathappan and PGM Associate Kruti Shah helped launch the activity.

ASSIST is an international non-profit organization focused on capacity-building. It seeks to promote sustainable practices to address social problems in the developing world, with focus on Asia and Africa. It takes pride in its process-oriented approach to capacity building towards social improvement and sustainable transformation. Its goal is to empower its target groups to make them resilient to the social, economic, and environmental challenges.

ASSIST and TUV NORD carbon reduction awareness efforts gains foothold in China

2 10 2012

By holding a series of training of trainers (ToT) in four key cities in China last July to September, Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and TUV NORD hoped to gain foothold in their carbon reduction awareness efforts through the Advancing Carbon-Neutral Economy (ACE) initiative.

The Project Team held the ToT workshops in Guangzhou last July 25-27, 2012, Beijing on August 22-24, Chongqing on September 5-7, and Shanghai on September 10-12. Mr. Nat Lim served as trainer  in Beijing and Chongqing and co-trainer in Guangzhou and Shanghai, while ASSIST Project and Grants Management Sathappan Sathappan led the workshop in Guangzhou and Shanghai.

ACE is an 18-month Public-Private Partnership Project co-financed by DEG and implemented by TUV NORD China and ASSIST.

Attended by top executives and representatives of government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), academic institutions, and private companies, the ToT workshops featured the knowledge transfer on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In particular, the trainers introduced the International Standards and best practices such as ISO 50001 (Energy Management System), ISO 14064 (GHG Inventories), and PAS 2050 (GHG Assessment) in curbing their own emissions.

By the end of the session, participants are expected to have learned the following: Carbon neutrality and the underlying concepts, international standards on carbon neutrality, measurement and reduction of GHG emissions based on various international standards, and the benefits and challenges of implementing carbon neutrality. #


ASSIST and TUV NORD Energy Management Project PROSPECT EnMS holds onsite visit to SMEs

1 10 2012

Promote Sustainable Program of Energy Consumption Through Energy Management System (PROSPECT EnMS), a project implemented by Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and TUV NORD, conducted onsite visit to the first batch of pilot Vietnamese SMEs last September  14-15 in Hanoi and 19-22 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Hanoi visit was participated in by five (5) Board of Management (BOM) representatives of Song Cong Diesel Limited Company (DISOCO), while the visit in Ho Chi Minh was attended by 8 BOM representatives of Van Don Plastic, and 4 BOM representatives of Saigon Paper Joint Stock Company.

Through the visit, the Project Team sought to hold an initial evaluation on the system management and internal energy audit for pilot companies regarding the ISO 50001 standard (Energy Management System). The event is considered as the kick-off activity for the Technical Assistance phase of the project.

PROSPECT-EnMS is a Public-Private Partnership project jointly implemented by DEG, TUV NORD Vietnam and ASSIST. Scheduled to run from March 2012 to August 2013, it hopes to promote environmental sustainability amid Vietnam’s rapid socio-economic growth.

For two days, ASSIST Partnership and Network Management Director Kamesh Ganeson assessed the companies’ documented procedures, while local consultant ENERTEAM audited their internal energy systems. Le Sy Trung of TUV NORD Vietnam and Le Nguyen Hoang Long of ASSIST also helped organize the event. #

400 company representatives, dignitaries convene for 2012 ECOSWITCH Awards

27 09 2012

Four hundred local and foreign dignitaries as well as representatives of private companies gathered for the ECOSWITCH Awarding Ceremony held at the New World Hotel in Makati City, Philippines last September 25, 2012.

ECOSWITCH Project Director Dr. Alena Labodova formally welcomed the attendees.

A total of 150 participating companies received plaques and certification for facilitating the switch in their organization towards more environmentally sustainable operations. The list of awardees includes Goldilocks, Mekeni Food Corporation, Philippine Airlines, Lufthansa Technik, Yokohama Tire Corporation, Panasonic, Toyota Motors, and Mapua Institute of Technology.

The event marks the end of the second phase of the Green Philippines Islands of Sustainability (GPIoS) Project, an initiative funded by the European Union’s SWITCH Asia program. GPIoS seeks to contribute to an improved environmental and sustainable industrial development of Metro Manila and CALABARZON regions by introducing measures to save on energy, cut down on wastage and promote best environmental practices within organizations.

400 people from the public and private sectors convened for the event.

GPIoS is led by the Technical University of Ostrava (VSB), Czech Republic, Center for Appropriate Technology (GrAT), Austria, Australia Recycling (AREC), Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Philippine Business for the Environment, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries,  and STENUM.

Project Directors Thomas Dielacher and Alena Labodova led the event, along with Project and Grants Management Associate Juvy Jem Perez, and Technical Consultants Wilson Baldonado, Joshua Rey Albarina Rolando Sumabat, Helen Joyce Basco, Maricris Elemos, Arlyn Gonzales and Mariefe Kim.

The Project Team closely worked with the companies in implementing the energy efficiency and waste management measures.

Keynote Speaker Neri Acosta, Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and General Manager of Laguna Lake Development Authority lauded the initiative, while also expressing the government’s commitment to environmental protection.

Mr. Matthieu Penot of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines commended the businesses and the Project Team for their contributions to greening the business sector. He was joined by other members of the delegation, Mag. Wilhelm Donko, the Ambassador of Austria to the Philippines, Mag. Isabel Schmiedbauer, Commercial Attache, Austrian Embassy; Gabriel Zobl-Kratschmann, Vice Consul at the Austrian Embassy; and RNDr. Jakob Cerny of Czech Republic Embassy.

Other presentors of the award were Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau; Mr. Arnel Go, Manager at ASSIST; Mr. Bobby Banaag of Plantersbank and Ms. Teresa Pacis, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, GMA Network.

The ceremony also featured partnership testimonials from Ms. Susan Benitez, President of Pollution Control Association of the Philippines (PCAPI); Mr. June Alvarez, Executive Director of the Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, Inc. (PCEPSDI) and Ms. Victoria Tambunting-Alfonso, Vice President of the Plantersbank.

Mr. Matthieu Penot of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines graced the event.

Select companies also received the following citations:

ECOSWITCH Planet Award for Energy Efficiency: Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation

ECOSWITCH Planet Award for Water Conservation: Freshtex

ECOSWITCH Planet Award for Waste Minimization: United Pulp & Paper Company, Inc.

ECOSWITCH Green Coin Award: United Pulp & Paper Company, Inc.

ECOSWITCH People Award: Atlantic Coatings

ECOSWITCH Award for Impact and Dissemination: GMA Network, Incorporated and Plantersbank

ECOSWITCH Award for Networking: Manila Water Company, Incorporated

 Young actress and television host Bettina Carlos hosted the event. #

See GPIoS Facebook page for more official photos.

150 companies to receive ECOSWITCH Award for environmental performance

21 09 2012

Green Philippines Islands of Sustainability, a project funded by the European Union’s SWITCH Asia Program will honor 150 companies at the ECOSWITCH Awarding Ceremony at the New World Hotel in Makati on September 25, 2012, 1 to 6pm.

The ECOSWITCH Awards marks the end of the second phase of the four-year initiative (2009-2013), which sought to contribute to an improved environmental and sustainable industrial development of Metro Manila and CALABARZON regions. It will recognize the companies which successfully implemented environment-friendly measures within their organization. Among the awardees are Kraft Foods, Inc., HAVI Logistics Philippines, Liwayway Marketing, Inc., and Philippine Airlines.

Led by the Technical University of Ostrava (VSB), Czech Republic, the Project Consortium includes the Center for Appropriate Technology (GrAT), Austria, Australia Recycling (AREC), Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Philippine Business for the Environment, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries,  and STENUM. They are expecting 400 guests for the event, including the representatives from the EU Delegation, Ambassadors of Austria and Czech Republic to the Philippines, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. #

Note: Acquisition for the third phase of the project is ongoing. Interested parties may contact the Project Coordinator, Juvy Perez, telephone number: 403-1890 or email