Santo Domingo.- The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector entity of the World Bank Group, the European Union, the Environment Ministry and the Industry and Commerce Ministry on Tuesday hosted a workshop to present suggestions from a diagnosis to promote cleaner production in Dominican Republic’s small and medium business (SMEs).
The diagnosis has focused on SMEs since the 500,000 small and medium businesses are a key driver of the economy; create jobs and essential goods. While the individual impact of these companies is low compared to large companies, the cumulative environmental impact of the SME sector is important. SMEs account for 54% (2.2 million) of jobs in the country.
The diagnosis has been conducted over the past 11 months with input from 85 public and private institutions. It’s expected to contribute to improve environmental sustainability and competitiveness for the SME sector, and to share information and opportunities for improvement.
"Like many Caribbean islands, the Dominican Republic could be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change," said Guillermo Villanueva, representative of IFC in the Dominican Republic.
"The public and private sectors can meet this challenge together, working to encourage the sustainable and efficient use of natural resources. This includes the spread of information to educate the public and the private sector, the technical strengthening of SMEs and the development of major sources of credit for the financing of new technologies for cleaner production. "
"The development policy of the European Union promotes the transformation towards an inclusive green economy that generates growth, employment and help reduce poverty through sustainable management of natural resources," said Florence Van Houtte, head of the European Union’s Cooperation Delegation in the country.
The diagnosis aims to improve environmental sustainability and competitiveness among small and medium businesses in the Dominican Republic.
Through the strategy of Cleaner Production the work identified opportunities to promote more efficient use of energy, raw materials and water, and reduce the production of waste and pollution.
According to the diagnostic results the following recommendations:
• To encourage cleaner production activities in the SME sector, we need to ensure increased funding through mechanisms such as credit guarantee funds and establishing credit windows in public and private financial institutions. Greater recognition of the potential demand for this type of funding is also required, which could encourage financial institutions to provide these mechanisms.
• The Voluntary Agreements on Sustainable Production between the public and private sector are important in promoting cleaner production and the creation of internal standards base. Furthermore these agreements should be strengthened by incorporating baseline data and defining roles and responsibilities of the parties involved, among other areas identified in the diagnosis.
• Political will at the highest levels of government and coordination among key institutions would give confidence to the business sector to highlight cleaner production in their business strategies. To achieve greater impact in the framework of the National Policy on Sustainable Consumption and Production limited resources should be directed and focused to industries and businesses.
In Santo Domingo:
Alejandra De La Paz, World Bank
Phone: (809) 566-6815, Ext 343.
Vanessa Bauza, IFC
Phone: +1 (202) 458-1603