Asian group eyes green productivity

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TOKYO: The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is pursuing a strategic direction to address sustainability issues and broaden the concept of green productivity (GP) that had already taken root in member countries.

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Secretary-General Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn, addressing the 15th Annual Meeting of the APO Green Productivity Advisory Committee (GPAC) here last February 10, said the member countries would make concentrated efforts to promote sustainable productivity as a key element to enable members to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Reiterating the APO’s commitment to helping countries in the Asia-Pacific region meet the SDGs, Kanoktanaporn said that, in addition to covering critical climate-change issues, the SDGs include broader aims, such as promoting inclusiveness and empowerment of women, sustainable agriculture, sustainable economic growth and end to all forms of poverty.

“These SDGs are equally relevant to APO member countries as they are to the rest of the world. The APO has been expanding activities internationally to spread the concept of GP throughout the Asia-Pacific region since 1994 to promote the importance of a green, sustainable society among its members,” he said in a statement.

During the meeting, a delegation from Vietnam represented by deputy secretary- general Nguyen Quang Vinh of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Director Nguyen Anh Tuan of the Vietnam National Productivity Institute presented the plan for the 11th Eco-products International Fair (EPIF) to be organized in Ho Chi Minh City on May 11–13 this year.

Earlier, welcoming GPAC members and the representatives from Vietnam, GPAC Chairman Hajime Bada, honorary advisor, JFE Holdings Inc., highlighted the role of the APO in improving productivity and sustainable development, including the role of the GPAC and the EPIFs in promoting GP.

“Like the rest of the world, APO member countries are also committed to the Paris Agreement and meeting the [United Nations] SDGs by 2030,” he said.

The APO is composed of 20 economies, namely Bangladesh, Cambodia, Republic of China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

These countries have pledged to assist each other in their productivity drives in a spirit of mutual cooperation by sharing knowledge, information and experience.

Bada said he expects the trend to continue with more member countries focusing on increasing their share of global exports.

“A growing economy means that the APO region will require more energy, and it is of utmost importance that clean, green energy is available,” he added.

Bada said an important task before the GPAC was to help APO member countries better use renewable energy and contribute to solving global climate issues.

The GPAC, he added, needs to brainstorm on how it could play a more meaningful role, including the role of Japanese companies, in supporting developing APO member economies.

JAIME R. PILAPIL

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