On the 25 February, an event dedicated to Eco-innovation, Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP) was held in Tiblisi within the framework of the EU-funded "EU4Environment programme". Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with the support of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, held an event dedicated to Eco-innovation, and Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production.
Eco-innovative and RECP practices can enable small-medium enterprises (SMEs) to become more cost effective, productive and less polluting. Both concepts have already successfully demonstrated in Georgia that significant profits can be achieved for both businesses and the environment. From 2014-2017, the EU-funded EaP GREEN programme identified annual savings potential worth 1 million Euro in 50 participating Georgian industrial SMEs.
“Eco-innovation and resource efficient, cleaner production approaches help to obtain economic benefits to stimulate growth with less materialization contributing to environmental welfare of Georgian citizens” – said Ms. Ekaterina Mikabadze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, in her opening remarks. She was reiterated by Ms. Nino Tandilashvili, Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, who thanked EU for its financial support and confirmed that “as a result of EU4Environment programme, SMEs will learn about possibilities to apply RECP and eco-innovation methodologies stimulating greener economic development in Georgia”.
Mr. Alexandre Darras, Attaché, Team Leader in Connectivity, Energy, Environment & Climate Change from the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia confirmed that more than ever, the environment is viewed as a key asset for ensuring quality of people’s lives and for stimulating long-term economic development in Georgia. This approach is fully in line with the new European Green Deal and the EU is happy to support Georgia in that direction.
Eco-innovation is a concept that can speed up the transition to circular economies, which is a key priority under the European Green Deal. The approach promotes systemic innovation based on holistic life-cycle thinking around the entirety of a company’s operations – including the products and services offered, value chains, market outreach, internal processes and organizational structure. Eco-innovation has proven a successful tool for reducing inputs, recovering materials and minimising waste, while also extending product/service life cycle.
Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) is used as an umbrella term for the application of preventive environmental strategies to achieve the triple aims of production efficiency, environmental management and human development. The RECP Programme builds national capacities, fosters dialogue between industry and government and facilitates investments for the transfer and adaptation of Environmentally Sound Technologies.
Introducing this strategy will undoubtedly have implications for the neighbours of the EU, including Georgia. Already now the European Union-funded EU4Environment programme, launched in Georgia and other countries of the Eastern Partner Partnership, has confirmed that it will work on building capacity of SMEs to use RECP and eco-innovation approaches throughout its duration ‘till 2022. About forty enterprises are going to be assisted in revising their business models. Together, UNEP and UNIDO will train local experts and conduct environmental assessments in companies selected through a nation-wide call for proposals. The project will ensure that the acquired knowledge remains in Georgia and is applied beyond its completion. This will be done primarily by training local institutions and businesses. RECP clubs will also be established in two regions of the country promoting peer coaching mechanisms to enhance productivity of industrial enterprises around the country.
For additional information, please contact: Mr. Malkhaz Adeishvili at email@example.com.
The EU-funded regional “EU4Environment” Action aims to help six Eastern Partner countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine – to preserve and better use their natural capital, increase people's environmental well-being and stimulate economic growth.
With the budget of some EUR 20 million the Initiative is implemented by five international partners: OECD, UNIDO, UN Environment, UNECE and the World Bank in 2019-2022.
The EU4Environment builds on the achievements of the previous EU-funded “Greening economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood” (EaP GREEN) Project. For example, within “EaP GREEN” EU supported adoption of a national legislation on SEA and EIA in 2017 based on good international practices. The Environment Assessment Code entered into force in January 2018. The requirements for enhancing environmental performance of SMEs were included in the SME Development Strategy 2016-20. RECP clubs were established in the cities of Rustavi, Kakheti, Kaspi and Kutaisi. The green economy actions in just three sectors (tourism, construction and agriculture) could result in an additional 1% of GDP each year to 2030. The Action also builds on the achievements of the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) and the Emerald Network programmes.