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. #

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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.#





COMMENTARY: Responding to Shifting Trends in International Cooperation

12 04 2012

by Sebastian Reichman
ASSIST Intern
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.#





SAFE Cambodia conducts Gap Analysis of pilot companies

17 01 2012

The SAFE Cambodia Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia initiative conducted a Gap Analysis among nine pilot companies in Phnom Penh, Kompong Thom and Battambang last Dec. 12 to 17, 2011.

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of TUV Rheinland and  Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), it seeks to instill mass awareness on international food safety and cleanliness standards amongst local SMEs operating in the agriculture and fishery industry.

For the Gap Analysis, project partners TUV Rheinland and ASSIST assessed the companies’ capacity in implementing the international standards Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Food Safety Management System (FSMS)/ ISO 22000).

Following this activity, Project Consultant Ma. Lourdes Mangaban will develop the action plan for the companies to ensure compliance of their documentation and records to requirementsof GMP and HACCP.

The action plan will outline the steps to take, to prepare the participating companies for the rigorous certification process.

Pilot companies include caterers, water bottlers, and farm produce distributors.#





SAFE Cambodia TOTs tackle Hazard Analysis for Food Industry Practitioners

22 11 2011

Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia (SAFE Cambodia), a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of TUV Rheinland and  Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) conducted a training of trainers (TOT) for Food Industry Practitioners on October 3 to 8 in Siem Reap, and October 10 to 15 in Phnom Penh.

Focusing on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) module, the session featured an introduction to the approach, the prerequisite programs (PRPs), and the extensive discussion on the 12 logical steps to its application and implementation.

The HACCP training aimed to equip the food safety trainers with the skills at system implementation. These were reinforced through a combination of lectures as well as group discussions and workshops which covered each of the steps on hazard analysis, and the process for developing a per-product HACCP plan.

Coming from Siem Reap, Battambang, and Kompong Thom, the participants were representatives of the rice and vegetable farming, water purification, fisheries, food service sectors. #





SAFE Cambodia PPP Project of ASSIST Mekong and TUV Rheinland conduct CEO Forums on Food Safety

7 09 2011

The Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) in the Mekong region welcomed over a hundred guests to CEO Forums held for the SAFE Cambodia Project last July 12-15, 2011 in Battambang, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia (SAFE Cambodia)
is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative supported by 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.

Covering enterprises and villages with family-size businesses and fishery entrepreneurs, the project will also promote understanding and catalyze the implementation of the basic requirements of international management standards and regulations such as ISO 22000, HACCP and UNEP Resource Efficiency Model.

The target SMEs will be 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.

By participating in this PPP project, SMEs will be able to share their knowledge and create a valuable network to guarantee long-term success.

ASSIST Projects and Grants Management Director Sathappan Sathappan represented ASSIST.#





ASSIST Launches Multi-Stakeholder Discussions for SAFE Cambodia PPP

16 06 2011

The kickoff for SAFE Cambodia PPP drew representatives from ministries, international and local NGOs, small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

ASSIST Director for the Mekong region Aru David facilitated multi-stakeholder discussions in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia last June 8 and 10 for a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project that aims to promote adherence to international quality standards among businesses in the food industry.

Dubbed Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia (SAFE Cambodia), the PPP replicates ASSIST’s highly successful SAFE Vietnam project in Cambodia. It is supported by TUV Rheinland and DEG.
David notes huge interest in the project, which drew representatives from ministries, international and local NGOs, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the food manufacturing industry together during the kickoff ceremony.

SAFE Cambodia primarily aims to upgrade SME operational processes, which consist of safety, hygiene and resource efficiency practices, in order for business owners to achieve better product quality. Through the project, ASSIST aims to help SMEs find greater business opportunities through the improvement of their internal processes as well as ensuring the health and safety of customers in Cambodia and abroad.

Under the SAFE Cambodia project, ASSIST will also be holding forums and training of trainers on the basic requirements of international management standards and regulations that feature quality measures such as ISO 22000, HACCP and the UNEP Resource Efficiency Model. #