Broad support essential if Indian SMEs are to achieve sustainable production

In three rounds of discussions, representatives from Indian businesses and government agencies discussed approaches to resource-efficient metal finishing. adelphi organised these talks for late September. An improved basis of trust between industry and government was just one of the agreed goals.

17/10/2014

Metal finishing – chrome plated water taps, for instance – requires water, energy and various chemicals. However, the toxic waste which arises from the finishing process must be treated and disposed of. This is where the project ACIDLOOP comes into the picture. Its goal is to make the finishing process more resource efficient for Indian companies. Indian and European partners support more than 100 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), principally with process optimisation in metal finishing. In this way, these measures serve not only to reduce production costs for businesses; they also contribute to environmental conservation and industrial safety.

With the intention of exploring potential resource savings in this industry, three rounds of discussions took place on the 26th, 28th and 29th of September 2014, in three different Indian cities. Representatives from businesses, trade associations, government agencies, research institutions, consultancies and of consumers discussed two key questions: how can Indian environmental authorities, research institutions and customers become involved in this project? And how can they use their knowledge and expertise to contribute to the efficient use of resources?

Stakeholders discuss opportunities for cooperation and see a clear need for improvement

In the cities of Chennai and Chandigarh, the dialogue sessions focussed on the role of the customer and the role of environmental authorities. Both parties can and should educate SMEs on measures and potentials for increases in resource efficiency; noting, however, that companies do not recognise this as a means to achieve reductions in prices. At the same time, discussions also demonstrated that such expertise is strongly dependent on the relevant authorities, and that a solid foundation of trust between companies and government is still conspicuous by its absence.

The discussions in Delhi looked at the role research institutions can play in technology transfer in the field of resource efficiency. Here it was demonstrated that there is a lack of dedicated intermediaries liaising between research institutions and SMEs. However, participants did highlight the fact that intermediaries such as consultancies and cluster organisations should be active at the regional rather than the national level. In this way, they can respond to the diverse circumstances to be found at the local level.

The ACIDLOOP project is funded by the European Union. More information can be found here:

» ACIDLOOP Website