As the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Experts continue their active work on the monitoring audits of the Belarusian enterprises, important data (quantitative and qualitative) are collected on the product output and on the consumption of fuel, energy, raw materials, and supplies of each company.
So far, the Resource Efficiency Experts studied the technological processes of the selected enterprises, drew up balance sheets of their production processes, identified incoming and outgoing resource flows, and analysed them. Using the electronic tools provided by UNIDO, they developed then individual enterprise diagrams which show:
- the main water supply and sanitation networks
- heat supply, electricity, plotted emission sources
- the generation and storage of production waste
At this stage, the technical audits are conducted using control and measuring devices which determine the actual parameters of how the technological equipment operates, and to search for potential losses of energy, heat, raw materials and materials. 50% of the participating enterprises have already completed the specified technical audits.
Once the technical audits on resource efficiency end, the Experts will begin calculating the amount of resource, raw materials, materials, and energy loss for each enterprise. Afterwards, the Experts, together with a working group from the enterprise, will begin developing concrete measures to improve the efficiency of the production process.
This activity is a part of the EU-funded EU4Environment Action. To accomplish it, the National Center for Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP) in Belarus is working with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) under this framework to improve the environmental well-being of the people and preserve the natural capital of Belarus.
The progress on Resource Efficiency in Belarus, at large
Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) is a mechanism that supports industries to increase their efficiency whilst reducing risks to humans and the environment. This takes place through a continuous application of preventive environmental strategies to processes, products, and services.
In Belarus, the RECP methodology is introduced to small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) which participate in the implementation of the RECP methodology and learn how to green their businesses and improve the production efficiency. After the selection, the demonstration companies are put in contact with designated RECP Experts. The Experts represent trained professionals that execute two ample 6-stage assessment processes of each of the selected demonstration companies.
So far, two categories of audits have taken place. The first one targets newly joined demonstration companies (currently in the 4th stage of assessment). After finalising the coaching sessions on the RECP methodology, the newly trained RECP Experts develop viable solutions to the selected enterprises. The experts gather data and design plans for the RECP measures implementation. The second type of audit is performed in the companies who participated in the EaP Green Programme (2014-2017). Those are now visited to check how the suggested RECP measures were implemented, the degree, and the issues facing the companies on that five-year long path.
The first assessment audit begins with a study visit at the enterprises, followed by an official confirmation of participation (the signing of a cooperation agreement), after which the RECP working group is established. The next step is the robust collection of quantitative data on production outputs (fuel, energy, raw materials) and on the consumption of supplies. The data collection is afterwards followed by a technical RECP audit, with essential measuring equipment. This helps the working group develop a set of activities designed to improve the manufacturing process. Finally, a RECP report is produced and the assessment ends.
Currently, four out of the six stages of RECP audits have been completed in the newly selected Belarusian demonstration companies. These activities are an important opportunity not only to gather valuable data, but also to retrospectively look at the advancements of each enterprise in greening their business. In the last few weeks, the RECP Experts finalised the collection of quantitative and qualitative data. They then studied the technological processes of the enterprises, made balance charts of the production means, identified incoming and outgoing flows, and carried out their analysis at the enterprise base using measuring equipment. It allows to determine the actual performance of the process equipment and spot sources of losses (energy, heat, raw materials, and materials). Examples of the technical component include enterprise charts (showing the main water and wastewater supply networks, the supply of heat and electricity), and how emission sources and the waste generated from the production and storage sites can be mapped out.
The assessments of the enterprises were interspersed training provided to the RECP Experts. This was a great opportunity for the trained professionals to immediately fine-tune the information learned, and to concretely apply it by conducting in-side measurements and assess production processes.
Simultaneously, resource efficiency monitoring audits were also performed in the participating companies of the former EaP GREEN Programme (2014-2017).
This assessment, divided into three stages, was completed for about 45% of the participating enterprises. The first stage focused on the practical study visit. It was then followed by the collection of necessary documents on feasibility studies, quantitative data on the number of actual investments spent on implementing the measures, the savings obtained, and the monitoring of performance for which the improvement measures have been implemented. Together, the first two stages were finalised in 80% of the EaP GREEN enterprises. The third stage was a technical RECP audit, but this time, measuring equipment to determine the actual results of the implemented measures and comparing them with the data presented by the Experts in the resource efficiency reports developed in 2016.
Next, the RECP Experts will continue with the fourth and final stage and will conclude the final monitoring report.
Under the EU4Environment Action, the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Centre in Belarus also works on the promotion of RECP Clubs (peer review coaching mechanisms), Free Economic Zones (FEZ), and of Eco-Industrial Parks (EIP). Hitherto, 16 resident enterprises from the Minks plot (city of Minsk and the Minsk region) took part in a survey from the FEZ “Minsk” which targets the advancement of resource efficient production and industrial symbiosis. These companies are mostly working in food production, machinery and equipment, vehicles, metal, and wood products. The activity is important to support the decision-making process on what kind of industrial symbiosis can be implemented in the plot, as the concept is relatively new and requires a strong, data-backed foundation.
The work will cluster the statistical data needed to analyse the level of resource-efficient production at the pilot site, assess the compliance of the site with the international recommendations for Eco-Industrial Parks, and identify new practices for achieving industrial symbiosis. Next, an interactive workshop for the participants who already filled the survey will take place to train the responsible specialists of the enterprises on how to implement best management practices in the field of RECP and industrial symbiosis.
Consequently, more RECP Experts training sessions are foreseen in the near future, within the regional RECP Clubs. The RECP Clubs were officially launched in Belarus online, on the 3rd of March in the Orsha and Borisov cities. The RECP Clubs are regional communities of industrial enterprises organized by the RECP Center to train specialists in the application of UNIDO’s RECP methodology. The programme consists of 6 thematic sessions (modules) required to the gradually master the RECP methodology. The core baseline of a regional RECP Clubs is to bring together small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) from the same region, and jointly walk them through an intensive training and coaching programme, leading to the development of a customized RECP action plan, available for all member companies upon completion.
In this sense, the regional RECP Clubs in Orsha and Borisov gather local-based enterprises and provide them with practical RECP support. Upon the completion of the Club programme, each member enterprise has developed an actionable RECP plan and has started its on-ground implementation. The next RECP Clubs meeting on Module 5 is scheduled in June 2021.