The TEST programme, which aims to fight the effects of climate change by helping corporations adopt efficient and environmentally friendly processes, was launched yesterday in Phnom Penh.
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‘TEST’ stands for ‘transfer of environmentally sound technology’.
The project, set to run for four years between 2018 and 2021, is a collaboration between the United Nation Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft and the Ministry of Environment.
With a budget of $1.8 million, TEST aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 500,000 tonnes through more efficient energy consumption, innovation, technology transfers and environmental management.
Industrial efficiency lies at the heart of the programme, which is based on the incorporation of technologies, best practices, and an integral management approach to address greenhouse emissions and harmful wastewater discharges, UNIDO said.
It added that based on results from a pilot project run between 2011 and 2013, a group of companies have been selected to participate in the programme.
“The project aims to show that through the TEST integrated approach, companies are able to achieve increased productivity and improved economic performance, while at the same time reducing the negative impact on the environment,” it said.
Sok Narin, UNIDO country representative, said a total of fifty factories have been included in the project, and will benefit from the programme’s technical support. They include plants in the garment and food processing industries.
“The project will provide trainings, both collectively and in-house, on the TEST tools, followed by assessments and energy audits of the production facilities, which will be carried out jointly by the factory’s TEST team and project experts,” Mr Narin said.
He said the project was expected to reduce production costs for participating companies, save operating and raw materials and increase their productivity and competitiveness.
“It will also help companies comply with national and international customer requirements, environmental regulations, as well as reduce business risks, minimise the cost of environmental compliance and reduce the footprint on the environment,” Mr Narin said.
It will also help companies strengthen their corporate social responsibility programmes, improve relations with local communities and customers, and create better working conditions, he added.
Sophalleth Eang, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment, said the programme is a clear sign that the government is committed to fighting the factors that are contributing to climate change.
“Climate change is an obstacle to economic and social development. We must all work hard to solve this global issue.
“Cambodia is committed to cutting greenhouse emissions by more than 3 million tonnes, or 27 percent, by 2030,” Mr Sophalleth said.
Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh, also present at the event, urged local companies and factories to adopt greener energy sources like solar energy or biomass.
“If we do not take action now, it will have an impact in all industries, including agriculture. The next generation of Cambodians will suffer the consequences of inaction, so we have to move now,” Mr Prasidh said.
Leang Leng, managing director of Leang Leng Fish Sauce Enterprise, one of the companies included in the TEST project, told Khmer Times that they are proud to partake in the programme.
“It is an honour to be chosen by UNIDO and the Ministry of Industry as a model company for the implementation of the programme, which will reduce our impact on the environment,” Mr Leng said. “We are trying to protect the environment so we can at least help the Earth.”