Multi-stakeholder initiative to drive local industries towards sustainable development
By Cassandra Mascarenhas
Stimulating the initiative to implement sustainable development in Sri Lanka’s industries, the Industrial Technology Institute (IIT) of Sri Lanka launched the website for ‘WasteX’, a national Waste Materials Exchange System funded by the European Union Switch Asia Programme.
Yet another step amongst many, towards promoting environmental and social aspects within the country, the project facilitates the exchange of industrial waste amongst waste generating organisations and waste management organisations in the country. The ground-breaking project was launched at the IIT yesterday in the presence of the guest of honour from the EU delegation, the First Counsellor and Head of Operations Willy Vandenberghe and many stakeholders involved in the project such as representatives of the IIT, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the Central Environmental Authority, the Export Development Board and representatives of various industries that look to play a vital role in this project.
“This is a very important moment as a lot of intensive preparations went into the development of this system. The EU delegation is very keen to monitor the progress of this project and hopes it will become a showcase of best practices to be replicated in Sri Lanka and beyond,” said the EU representative Willy Vandenberghe as he officially launched the website.
‘WasteX’ is an open source web based programme which will provide detailed information on industrial waste material available to enable viable waste collection, management, re-use and recycling and will provide local industries with a platform on which they can advertise what waste materials they have for sale or require.
The system is an initiative of EEPEx Project (Enhancing Environmental Performance in Key Sri Lankan Export Sectors) which with the financial backing of the EU-Switch Asia, encourages enterprises from the country’s export sectors and supporting sectors to adopt environmentally sustainable practices and technology. EEPEx commenced operations in the country in 2009 and will be implemented over a period of 42 months.
The Holcim Group, through their sustainable development project ‘Geocycle’ was the principle sponsor of the event and was also the first company to register on the ‘WasteX’ project followed by Lanka Walltile Plc.
Companies that sign up on this project, while aligning with global best practices by practicing sustainable development will also enjoy several benefits through their participation including access to low cost, pollution control technologies, training of employees on sustainable production, improve their access to EU markets and will be able to apply for environmental loan schemes, carbon offsetting schemes etc.
“This is a very important occasion for all industries and I am happy that such an exchange system has come up. Countries like India and China have a massive advantage over us with their low cost production; Sri Lanka being a smaller country obviously finds it difficult to compete with this but with such initiatives, we can look to target quality conscious customers,” stated the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Industries and Commerce, Asitha Seneviratne.
He further stated that the implementation of this project would also compel industries to follow the many regulations and guidelines that are in place but are currently ignored or bypassed.