Eco-Efficiency for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the African textile industry
In order to support SMEs in their endeavor to follow the process of sustainable development BASF, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP´s National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPC) have established a cross-sector partnership to promote eco-efficient production in SMEs in developing countries. At the core of the project is the dissemination and transfer of BASF´s know-how on the eco-efficiency analysis with the objective for SMEs to offer the best possible products, which are also environmentally sound at the best possible price. This was achieved on the basis of a pilot project in Morocco´s dyeing industry. BASF developed a software package that uses key technical data to calculate how the eco-efficiency of various stages in the production process can be improved. In collaboration with staff from the NCPC, companies can use this software to calculate and compare the costs and environmental impact of their processes. The outcome of the pilot study in Morocco were, on the one hand, process improvements and a change in chemical input. The effects were positive environmental impacts from a reduction in water and energy consumption and a lower environmental burden. On the other hand the associated costs were the same or even lower and employees were trained in using a new tool to test the eco-efficiency of their products.
For wider dissemination to SMEs in developing countries, BASF trained UNIDO staff and participants out of African National Cleaner Production Centres in Germany and Marocco to use the eco-efficiency analysis in 2003 and 2004. They will make their know-how widely available and provide expert advice to textile companies in their home countries. Moreover, at a workshop in Cairo In February 2006, 40 participants from textile finishers and processors could establish contact with European brand manufactures and dealers. This helps the Egyptian textile manufacturers to meet the demands of the global market, while at the same time keeping the environmental impact to a minimum.
So this joint work did not only build up a new sustainable service for the NCPCs, it also supports the formation of cutting edge know-how and capacity at the NCPCs. In turn, this will further foster the outreach and sustainability of this unique service.
For the partnership project with UNIDO and UNEP the EU Commission has nominated BASF for its prestigious European Business Award for the Environment in 2006. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has awarded BASF with the 2006 Environment Price in the category "Technology transfer to developing countries".
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