ASSIST launches community health improvement project in Ho Chi Minh

7 12 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) Mekong officially kicked off the DEG-supported HEALTHY (Training Professionals to Improve Community Health) project through a launching ceremony held in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam last November 1, 2012.

Mr. Ante Franicevic, Project Director from METRO, officially introduced the project to all participants. Then Mr. Sreeni Narayanan, ASSIST Managing Director, discussed the project background and the benefits it will bring.

For his part, Mr. Dominik Goerts, Project Manager from METRO, presented the project details, including objectives, timeline for activities, methodology, and target groups. Finally, local expert, Dr. Tran Van Ky, explained the importance of food safety and hygiene management which is the main focus of HEALTHY project

The event provided participants a picture of the food safety and hygiene management situation in Vietnam.

For the next phase of the project, groups will be educated and enabled to practice proper hygiene initiatives to promote quality and efficiency, improve waste management, and propagate sustainable practices. #


ASSIST, UL DQS and IGCC launch Auto Sustain PPP

12 11 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation – ASSIST, UL DQS India and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) launched the Public Private Partnership Project Auto Sustain through a CEO Forum last October 30, 2012 at Park Sheraton, Chennai, India.

Co-funded by DEG, Auto Sustain aims to bring about a sustainable transformation in India’s automotive industry by helping the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) from the automotive sector adopt sustainable practices.

The project launch was graced by top managers of various large and medium-sized enterprises including the CEO and Managing Director of UL DQS India, Dr. K. Murugan; Executive Director of ASSIST, Mr. S. Muralidharan; Director of ASSIST & Auditor at Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS), Mr. D. K. S. Moorthy; and the Regional Director of IGCC, Mr. S. Raj.

Dr. K. Murugan, Managing Director and CEO at UL DQS India opened the event, and shared a brief on various PPP initiatives and projects implemented by UL DQS India and ASSIST in countries like India and Sri Lanka. Together, ASSIST and UL DQS India hope to build capacity across industrial sectors on practices supporting energy and resource efficiency through adoption of Energy Management Systems and implementation of Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production practices respectively.

Then, Mr. Biju Balendran, Vice President, Plant Engineering from Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd highlighted the concept of Automotive Industry and Sustainability from an OEM Perspective in his keynote address that delved on the various measures adopted by Renault Nissan for resource optimization, energy conservation and reduction of GHG emissions.

For his part, Mr. Muralidharan shared his views on the current trends in the automotive industry of India and familiarized the guests with the activities that would be implemented during the course of the project. For example, project beneficiaries will be engaged in surveys to understand the current practices followed by the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and in the technical training workshops to build local capacity on sustainable practices among the SMEs. Technical assistance on ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, IQNet SR 10 and Global Reporting Initiative will be extended to the enterprises to enable them to align with Environmental, Health and Safety Management Systems.

Mr. D. K. S. Moorthy then discussed the importance of Sustainability Reporting and publishing of sustainability reports by enterprises to showcase the accountability of their actions and impacts on the society and environment.

Following an open forum during which company representatives shared ideas about balancing corporate accountability in the automotive sector while improving profits, Mr. S. Raj delivered the closing remarks.

The 18-month project will soon be launched in Bangalore and Pune to reach out to a larger group of beneficiaries from the major automobile manufacturing units. #

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

SAFE Cambodia ends with a Best Practice Forum

24 08 2012

The Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia (SAFE Cambodia)  initiative culminated with a Best Practice Forum held August 3, 2012 in Phnom Penh.

SAFE Cambodia is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative implemented by Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) along with TUV Rheinland and DEG. It seeks to instill mass awareness on international food safety and cleanliness standards amongst local SMEs operating in the agriculture and fishery industry. The target SMEs were introduced to the international supply chain model, the expectations of international buyers and the importance of improving the safety, hygiene and resource efficiency practices to protect the health of the local community and boost exports of agriculture and fishery products.

Through the forum, the Project Team hoped to gather lessons learned by pilot factories during the in-house technical assistance phase of the initiative.

TUV Rheinland Cambodia CEO Alexandra Herbel welcomed the participants, while ASSIST Project Manager Vy Truong presented a Project Overview and a quick report on the deliverables. Then, Yea Bunna of the National Productivity Center of Cambodia discussed the current situation of food safety in the country, and the challenges it faces in implementing the standards. Three best-performing pilot companies were also selected to share their experiences: The Fair Manufacturing Company (FMC), Men Sarun and Phnom Meas Association.

Finally, Project Consultant Odette Mangaban facilitated the open discussion among SMEs and provided advice on the implementation of food safety standards, especially how to keep the good practices after the project completion. In the afternoon, the Project Team arranged a tour for all participants to witness the FMC and Men Sarun on-site improvements in their factories, taking into account the project recommendations.

Thirty (30) SMEs from the food industry were represented in the event.#

LEAP Indonesia Project Hosts Review Forum

20 07 2012

To ensure that the project is moving forward, beneficiaries are implementing the required controls per schedule and objectives are fully met, the LEAP Indonesia  implementers Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and PT TUV NORD Indonesia held a review forum last June 26 and 28 in Jakarta’s Hotel IBIS and Medan’s Hotel Aryaduta, respectively.

LEAP Indonesia or Leapfrog towards Efficiency And Progress through Low Carbon Economy 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.

Led by ASSIST Partnerships and Network Management Director Kamesh Ganeson, TUV Nord Jakarta‘s Eva Pitterling and TUV Nord Medan‘s Ellys Simamora, the review forum covered the project activities since the initial Training of Trainers session in April.

The participants, which included ASSIST local consultants  Tommy Julius, Sahrial Hakim and Harris Salleh engaged in an assessment using the 5D (Discover, Define, Document, Deploy and Determine) cycle. Among the factors evaluated were the provision of management support, training and propagation of the ISO 50001 (Energy Management System).

Further, the event served as a venue for providing technical support for the initial Energy Review and Base-lining that the beneficiary companies were supposed to do.

For instance, company representatives needed to understand the process  of energy audit, leading them how to track electricity wastage.

The Project Team also revisited the commitments of the company beneficiary with respect to reducing their energy consumption and improving energy performance especially under the ISO 50001.

Based on the review findings, the project team discussed the next steps to take, as well as the measures needed to be in place to ensure smooth project flow.

The LEAP Indonesia 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.

It is in line with the Indonesian government‘s mandate that Critical National Infrastructures supporting the electricity generation and distribution reduce the carbon dioxide footprint of energy generation using fossil fuel.

ASSIST visits EMPOWERing LGU stakeholders and local partners

17 05 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) representatives met with seven local government unit (LGU) stakeholders in Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao and two local partners during the Project EMPOWERing visit last May 10 to 12, 2012.

The visit was conducted to collect and document initial data and information for the case studies covering different LGUs in Misamis Oriental: Cagayan de Oro City, Laguindingan, El Salvador, Opol, Togolan, Jasaan, and Medina.

On May 10, ASSIST held a luncheon meeting with the CDO Project Team, Xavier University, Department of Interior and Local Government Region 10, and STEAG, one of the funders of the project.

The next two days featured the visit to the LGUs, who were provided information on the following areas: brief socio-economic profile of their localities, project composition team; status of the project implementation; initial benefits of the project; challenges encountered and initial lessons learned; and plan to sustain the project after the PPP project.

ASSIST Partnership and Network Management Director Kamesh Ganeson, Services Manager Matthias Wichmann and Projects and Grants Management Associate Marivic Mamaradlo joined the visit.

Project EMPOWERing: or Project Enhanced Monitoring System on Poverty Watch for a more Effective and Responsive Approach in Governance is a PPP project jointly funded by DEG and STEAG and implemented by Xavier University, Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Network Coordinating Team, DILG and ASSIST.  The project has been running since October 2011.

EMPOWERing focuses on updating the database and information system of the Planning Offices of Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental.

The remaining 6 municipalities served as pilot communities for the implementation of the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS), a tool of strategic importance to the industrialization and eco-tourism potential of Northern Mindanao. #