Greening Industry through Green Growth Programs

With the launch of the 2030 Agenda, inclusive and green industrial development has been recognized as a key element of sustainable development. Greening industry offers a development pathway consisting of two mutually supportive components: on the one hand, improving the environmental, social and economic performance of existing industries, and the other, creating new competitive industries delivering sustainable goods and services.

GGGI’s main mission is to work side by side with its government partners to help them develop their national and sectoral green growth plans as well as help them channel green and climate finance for implementation. As such, GGGI can play a significant role in supporting the greening of industries through our green growth programs. Greening industry is a multi-sectoral strategy for achieving green growth in the manufacturing and related productive sectors, and it aims to reduce the amount of resources needed to produce goods through more energy and material-efficient production and consumption processes. This involves addressing the lifecycle impacts of products affecting supply chain companies and small and medium-sized enterprises. Greening industry also promotes decent green jobs and the health and safety of workers. It can also create the platform for empowering women to take part in the green economy transition.

As an initial step to potentially developing a greening industry program at GGGI, a side-event was hosted during the 5th Green Industry Conference organized by UNIDO and UNESCAP in Bangkok on October 3-5.

The first part of the side event was a panel discussion with three experts sharing their regional, Thailand and Vietnam perspectives.

Mr. Arab Hoballah, Team Lead for SWITCH-Asia SCP Facility kicked off the discussion by underscoring the importance of mainstreaming sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns through greening industries especially in the Asia Pacific region with its rapid economic growth and industrialization. There is little dispute about the need for greening industry to be one of the main drivers for achieving green growth in the region.

This was followed by Thailand’s experience in their Green Industry Project administered by the Ministry of Industry, which supports small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to achieve 5 levels of green industry development. Mr. Decha Pimpisut, former director of Eco-Industrial Development Division introduced the different levels, starting with “green commitment” (level 1), followed by “green activity” to reduce environmental impact (level 2), “green system” for environmental management (level 3), “green culture” where everyone in the company makes greening industry a part of the organizational culture (level 4), and completes with the highest level of  “green network” where the greening efforts extend to supply chains, partners and suppliers.

Final intervention was made by Ms. Hanh Le, Program Lead from GGGI’s Vietnam Country Program. Ms. Le introduced Vietnam’s green growth strategy, and the contribution of the industrial sector in greenhouse gas emission profile of Vietnam as well as the financial challenges to implement greening industry initiatives in the country. The SME Development Fund (SMEDF) led by the Ministry of Planning and Investment is a financial mechanism that sets out to support the greening industry agenda by prioritizing green, innovative and gender-responsive businesses. However, in addition to establishing green funds, Ms. Le stressed the need to mainstream green criteria to existing financing vehicles to maximize impacts as well as supporting the initiative with appropriate technical assistance and training to SMEs.

The second part of the side event was a soft launch of the new Green Industry Platform, currently being migrated to the Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) from UNIDO. Mr. Benjamin Tyler Smith, GGKP’s Senior Knowledge Management Officer, introduced the background and strategy for relaunching the platform that will generate, manage and share green industry knowledge, and demonstrated the type of information and data the platform will include.