27 April 2017, Hotel Tiflis Palace, Tbilisi
More than 70 participants gathered at the National Conference on Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) in Georgia on 27 April, 2017 agreed that the progress in promoting resource efficient and environmentally friendly production practices in Georgian small and medium-sized industrial enterprises, implemented as part of the EU-funded project Greening Economies in the European Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP GREEN), has been impressive.
The review of feasible and low-cost RECP measures identified in 50 small and medium sized enterprises showed savings of over 1 million EUR per year. The RECP demonstration activities also showed important environmental effects which included the annual reductions of: energy consumption by 25 000 MWh, water consumption by 136 000 m3, materials consumption by 2 000 tonnes, air emissions by 1 000 tonnes of CO2eq, reduction of waste waters by 5 680 m3, and solid waste by 7 tonnes.
The Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources, Mr. Gigla Agulashvili, said: “The EU funded EaP GREEN project showed concrete results in enhancing the competitiveness of Georgian enterprises, and its contribution to improve cooperation between the government and private sector in identifying joint solutions to reduce the negative impact of production on the environment”.
The Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ms. Irma Kavtaradze confirmed that capacity built through the project significantly contributed to awareness about the importance of implementing green economy principles in Georgia, which are high in the government’s agenda.
This was echoed by Mr. Elgudja Meladze, President of the Georgian Employers Association who stated that thanks to the project, the RECP methodology is welcomed by businesses as it translates the implementation of state policy on environment protection into clear economic and marketing benefits for enterprises, allowing them to be more efficient and technologically advanced in the application of EU standards.
Representatives of central and local governments, RECP Clubs member companies and other enterprises, business associations, non-governmental sector and experts who were among the participants, agreed that the results achieved so far are the very first steps and more efforts are needed to build on successful initiatives, such as RECP replication through the establishment of RECP Center, which will continue providing services to Georgian companies.
The participants also acknowledged that RECP Clubs in Rustavi and Kaspi, actively supported by the Mayor’s Offices, can now share their lessons learnt and thus the interest in RECP Clubs as an approach to bring resource saving practices to a larger number of enterprises is growing. To meet this demand, a tested and adopted to local needs RECP resource package was offered to the Conference participants for consultation, use and further dissemination.
The Conference was organised as part of the EU-funded Greening Economies in the European Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP GREEN) Project that assists the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to identify efficient policy solutions and practical steps towards a greener and more sustainable economy. The project is implemented jointly by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Environment (UN Environment), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). For more information see: http://www.green-economies-eap.org/
The implementation of the RECP Demonstration Project in Georgia is co-ordinated by UNIDO as part of the EaP GREEN. The activities focus on food processing, construction materials and chemicals sectors. They are funded by the European Union and co-funded by Slovenia, the Development Bank of Austria, and UNIDO. More information about the project in Georgia is available at www.recp.ge