Cleaner production and UNIDO

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download


<ul><li><p>0959-6526(95)00055-O </p><p>J. Cleaner Prod., Vol. 2, No. 3-4, 163-166, 1994 pp. Copyright 0 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd </p><p>Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved 0959-6526194 $10.00 + 0.00 </p><p>Cleaner production and UNIDO </p><p>Ralph A. Luken </p><p>UNIDO, PO Box 300, A-1400 Vienna, Austria </p><p>Even though there were many similar-sounding themes and works at the Stockholm (1972) and Rio (1992) conferences, there are two fundamental differences for industrial development between the plans of action elaborated by the two conferences. One difference is the message, i.e. the nature of the industrial environmental problem. The new message assigns priority to pollution prevention over pollution control because it is a more efficient and effective response to emerging environmental concerns. The other difference is the media, i.e. the major forces of development as well as environmental management agencies must be actively involved in meeting emerging environmental concerns. As the lead organization in the UN system for industrial development, UNIDO is cooperating with many developing countries to implement Agenda 21 of the Rio Conference. UNIDO is promoting the new message of cleaner production as the means by which industry can be environmentally responsible while remaining competitive and profitable. </p><p>Keywords: cleaner production; UNIDO; Rio Conference </p><p>Introduction </p><p>At the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) which met in Stockholm in 1972, the nature of environmental problems and the ways in which societies and institutions should respond to them were discussed. UNCHE issued a Declaration on the Human Environment, enumerating 26 principles and 109 recommendations for actionl. Similarly, at the United Nations Conference on Environmental Development (UNCED) at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the nature of the environmental problems and the way in which societies and institutions should respond to them were discussed. UNCED issued the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development enumerating 29 principles and proposed Agenda 21 with its 40 chapters as a blueprint for action for global sustainable development in the 21st century2. </p><p>Even though there are many similar-sounding words and themes, there are at least two fundamental differences for industrial development between the plans of action. One difference is the message, i.e. the nature of the industrial environment problem. The other is the media, i.e. the way in which societies and institutions should respond. </p><p>* Ralph Luken is currently Senior Environmental Advisor to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna, Austria. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of UNIDO. </p><p>The message </p><p>UNCHE accepted that pollutants would be generated by industry and that a combination of the assimilative capacities of the environment and end-of-pipe treat- ment would be adequate to mitigate the environmental conse@ences of this pollution. UNCED rejected these ideas. </p><p>Now, both process and environmental engineers understand that industrial activity does not necessarily have to generate pollutants. Pollutant generation can be prevented, which would eliminate to some extent the need for end-of-pipe treatment and in some cases be of financial benefit to businesses. Also scientists and engineers now understand that the assimilative capacity of the environment cannot tolerate the total loadings of metals, chlorinated compounds, etc. from industry without irreparable damage. </p><p>Several factors account for this fundamental change in the definition of the industrial environmental challenge. </p><p>l Protection of environmental quality is no longer the only requirement for environmentally sound industrial development. It also requires conservation of non-renewable resources and efficient use of renewable resources. In the past, industry could still waste renewable and non-renewable resources and not cause pollution problems as long as it installed pollution abatement technology. Now there is concern about the extent of industrial use of </p><p>J. Cleaner Prod. Volume 2 Number 3-4 163 </p></li><li><p>Cleaner production and UNIDO: R.A. Luken </p><p>resources as well as its impact on environmental quality. </p><p>l The envrionmental engineering community now recognizes that it is often less costly to implement, operate and maintain preventive rather than abate- ment measures over the long term because of reduced costs of raw material and energy. </p><p>l Process engineers now recognize that implemen- tation of pollution prevention measures sometimes results in increased product output and improved product quality, which never occurs as a result of installing end-of-pipe technology. </p><p>l Environmental regulatory agencies now recognize that pollution control does not always eliminate pollution, but simply shifts it from one environmental medium or region to another. For example, taking organic matter containing heavy metals out of wastewater and applying it as sludge to the land can result in contamination of the soil and groundwater. </p><p>o Scientists have expanded their knowledge of the potential adverse environmental effects. Twenty years ago, the principal environmental threats were the local effects of conventional pollutants . (degradation of aquatic environment with organic matter and of the urban environment with particu- lates, sulfur oxides and ozone). Now environmental threats are also regional and global in nature-the long-range transport of sulfur and nitrogen oxides that result in acidification of lakes and forests, releases of CFCs that are depleting the ozone layer and emissions of COZ that are contributing to global warming. These threats are causing some to question the very nature of the industrialization process itself. </p><p>l Scientists have improved their ability to measure the quantity of pollutants. Now, they no longer talk of parts per million, but parts per trillion. Consequently, the pulp and paper industry, for example, is now recognized as a source of dioxin discharge into the environment and must embark on a major pollution prevention programme. End- of-pipe technology is just not capable, except at prohibitive costs, of removing such minute quantities of this pollutant. </p><p>0 Environmental planners now recognize that the cumulative impact of small- and medium-size indus- try (SMEs) on the environment can be much greater than that of large-scale industry. For example, in India alone, there are between 2.0 and 2.2 million SMEs. They account for approximately half of the industrial output of India and an even greater share of industrial pollution, in the range of 60-65%, given their poor utilization of raw materials3. End- of-pipe technology is often not feasible or affordable for them and consequently no action is taken. </p><p>The media </p><p>UNCHE encouraged the formation of environmental management agencies to ensure protection of the environment and of a super environment agency, </p><p>UNEP, to support countries in their formation of such agencies. After 20 years, society now realizes that environmental management agencies are necessary but not sufficient for achieving environmental goals. As stated in Our Common Future, society needs to change the behaviour of the fundamental forces of development4. Consequently, UNCED encouraged a multi-media approach, i.e. involving the major forces of development, such as industry, energy, transport, human settlement and agriculture as well as environ- mental management agencies, to environmental protec- tion. </p><p>One example of this change is national sustainable development strategies being prepared by both developed and developing countries. The purpose of national sustainable development strategies is to integrate environmental considerations into a nations overall economic and social development plans and to promote a comprehensive and consistent national environmental policy. </p><p>Even before UNCED, the government of the Netherlands had prepared such a strategy, To Choose or to Lose5. The government of the Netherlands realized that intensification and broadening of environ- mental policy were urgently needed and that safeguard- ing environmental quality on behalf of sustainable development would be a process that lasts several decades. The plan specified actions for all sectors of society, such as agriculture, transport, human settlements, energy and industry. For each sector, it set quantitative emission reduction targets, set dates for meeting the targets, and estimated the financial and economic implications of meeting their targets. </p><p>Recently the government of China issued its Agenda 21 (October 1993)6. Most of the agenda describes new paths that the major forces of develop- ment-such as agriculture, human settlements, and industry, transport and communication-should take for China to achieve sustainable development. </p><p>Another example of the change in thinking is the expectations from industry. During the 20 years between Stockholm and Rio, industry for the most part was a passive actor in the environmental arena. It waited for government to promulgate environmental regulations and then, after some significant protests and delays, began to comply with the regulations. Today, business is becoming pro-active. One such example is the Business Charter for Sustainable Development7. Business is increasingly taking volun- tary initiatives, promoting and implementing self- regulation and assuming greater responsibilities in ensuring that its activities have minimal impact on the environment. </p><p>UNIDO </p><p>As the lead organization in the UN system for industrial development, UNIDO is cooperating with many developing countries to implement Agenda 21 of the UNCED. UNIDO is promoting the new message of </p><p>164 J. Cleaner Prod. Volume 2 Number 3-4 </p></li><li><p>Cleaner production and UNIDO: R.A. Luken </p><p>Cleaner Production as the means by which industry can be environmentally responsible while remaining competitive and profitable. </p><p>UNIDOs cleaner production programme is a multi- faceted approach in partnership with government policy-makers, institutions and enterprises. At the policy level, UNIDO is working with governments in devising industrial policies and strategies into which priority is assigned to preventive activities. At the institutional level, UNIDO is designing and supporting programmes of institutional strengthening, combining technical advice, technical information, training, study tours and the provision of equipment. At the enterprise level, UNIDO technical assistance builds on its expert- ise in the field of waste minimization auditing and in the technical aspects of individual subsectors as well as its extensive library of technical information. </p><p>Formulating policies and strategies for cleaner production </p><p>Existing government policies often encourage the excessive use of resources by incorrect pricing or subsidies, or they assign preference to traditional end- of-pipe pollution control over pollution prevention. UNIDO is working with a number of countries in the preparation of strategies that aim to formulate government policies that assign high priority to cleaner production as an essential element of industrial environ- mental management. This effort identifies industrial policies and strategies that are discouraging cleaner production and formulates alternative, pro-active poli- cies that would encourage cleaner production. It is complementing this effort by cooperating with the World Bank and United Nations Environment Pro- gramme/Industry and Environment/Programme Act- ivity Centre (UNEP/IE/PAC) in the preparation of guidelines for pollution prevention and abatement in more than 50 industrial sectors and contributing to UNEP/IE/PAC technical reports on cleaner pro- duction. </p><p>Specific examples of our activities in the policy and regulatory reform are: </p><p>o An international conference on Economic Growth with Clean Production was organized by CSIRO Australia and UNIDO in Melbourne, in February 1994. Representatives of governments, industry and scientific and technological institutions participated in three days of debate and discussion during which practical approaches to ecologically sustainable industrial development (ESID) were identified. Cleaner production issues specific to 12 industries, including leather, textiles, mineral processing, metal finishing and mining, were discussed in detail in separate workshops within the framework of the conference. A set of ten guiding principles for the achievement of sustainable development were drawn up by the conference. These Melbourne Principles, emphasize the importance of cooperation between, and the specific roles of, all concerned parties </p><p>(governments, industry and research institutions, in both developed and developing countries) as prerequisites to the achievement of ESID. </p><p>l UNIDO is preparing a training programme on the industrial dimension of sustainable development. The purpose of the course is to enable key policy makers in the fields of industry and planning to formulate an ESID strategy as part of the on- going process of preparing national Sustainable Development Strategies in response to the UNCED Agenda 21. An ESID strategy is intended to be a pro-active industrial response that would allow it to meet agreed upon environmental goals at least social cost. The training programme builds on the UNIDO training course in ESID,. The two-week training programme will be offered in 199.5-1996 for a limited number of countries in the African, Asian and Latin American regions. UNIDO will follow up the progress of those trained with technical assistance and seminars in order to diffuse the lessons learned throughout the regions. </p><p>Building institutional capacities for cleaner production </p><p>At the institutional level, UNIDO recognizes the importance of well trained, equipped and informed public and private sector institutions to the promotion of cleaner production. It is providing institutional support and information about cleaner production to governmental and non-governmental organizations. </p><p>Specific examples of our on-going work in capacity building are: </p><p>UNIDO, in cooperation with UNEP/IE/PAC, is entering into partnerships with industry-oriented institutions such as national productivity councils and chambers of commerce and industry, to assist them in promoting cleaner industrial production. UNIDO, in cooperation with UNEP/IE/PAC, has launched a programme to support National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs) in approximately 20 countries for a 5-year period. The NCPCs will play a coordinating and catalytic role in cleaner production by providing technical information and advice, stimulating demonstration of cleaner pro- duction techniques and technologies, and training industry and government professionals. Phase I of this programme, 1994-1997, is supporting eight centres for 3 years. In addition, UNIDO is supporting the development of cleaner production programmes within environ- mental ma...</p></li></ul>


View more >