Israel ready to boost efficiency in industries with results from the EU funded SwitchMed programme - MED TEST II component
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Israel, a water-scarce, densely populated, and highly urbanized country is a world leader when it comes to innovative water saving technologies. However, despite the developed and innovative high-tech economy, Israel faces ongoing environmental challenges, especially with its lack of abundant natural resources.
Using raw materials resource efficiently conserves natural resources and promotes a sustainable economic growth, thereby making a major contribution to environmental protection. But, resource efficiency also allows creating greater value from less input, bringing down unit costs for manufacturers and buyers, consequently, contributing to the competitiveness of the businesses and to a sustained economic resilience of the national economy.
As part of the SwitchMed programme, the UNIDO led MED TEST II project seeks to demonstrate and encouraging industries to evaluate and address resource use issues, reducing waste volumes, energy, and water consumption, by applying the proven methodology of TEST (Transfer of Environmental Sound Technologies).
During a national dissemination event, held on the 24 of May at the Ministry of Finance in Jerusalem, UNIDO together with the Weitz Center for Sustainable Development, the national partner for the MED TEST II project in Israel, presented the results from the seven industries that had been selected to participate in the demonstration phase of the MED TEST II project, to officials from the Israeli Manufacturers Association, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Environment Protection, the Ministry of Finance and delegates from the European Union.
With the application of a resource efficient and cleaner production, the results from the MED TEST II demonstration phase indicate annual saving potentials of 2.1 million euro and decisive environmental benefits for the Israeli industries. Mr. Israel Danziger, the Director General of the Ministry of Environment, emphasized the importance of conjugating environmental and economic benefits, as in Israel the enforcement of the environmental regulations is very strong, saying; “there is a need to identify technical solutions that are economically viable for the industry to comply with national legislations.”
As the TEST methodology seeks to get the full picture of material and energy flows of a production, by employing tools of Material Flow Cost Accounting, applied Environmental and Energy management systems and a thorough RECP assessment, the MED TEST II project has managed to find solutions in situations where the only resolution was considered to be an “end of the pipe solution” of the production process.
For instance, the paint producer Tambour was before the MED TEST II project bound to invest 4 million US dollars in a plant for Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers (ROT) to comply its VOC emissions to the strict Israeli environment regulations. Together from the very high investment costs, the ROT plant would have annually caused 1.2 million US dollar in maintenance costs, considerably jeopardizing the operational competitiveness of the factory. The MED TEST II project managed to identify substantial reduction opportunities to lower the overall VOC emissions of the plant, making the investment in a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer obsolete.
“MED TEST II helped us analyze each step of the production process to find where our losses occur. Together we put together the full picture of how to comply with the environmental standards.”
Rafi Sarig - VP Operation, Tambour
Changing the way goods are produced, by making more with less and presenting the opportunities for businesses and the national economy what environmental and economic benefits could be gained from a sustainable production, are the long-term goals of the SwitchMed programme. Mr. Robbie Ginel, Director of the Israeli Manufacturer Association, praised the MED TEST II project as an excellent example of how organizations like UNIDO can effectively partner with the national stakeholders to promote sustainable industrial practices in Israel. A statement that was reiterated Mr. Lars Fåborg-Andersen the European Union Ambassador to Israel, especially the concrete results of the MED TEST II project that has convinced the Israeli ministries of Economy, Environment, and Finance to jointly commit 50 million NIS to upscale resource efficiency among Israel’s industry using the UNIDO TEST methodology.
Working together with the local environmental service providers and business associations, UNIDO has over the MED TEST II project illustrated the environmental and economic benefits of TEST to key decision-makers in Israeli industries. Moreover, the methodology of TEST has already found widespread use beyond the borders of Israel and been replicated in manufacturing sites from the participating companies outside Israel, extending the scope of the project beyond the boundaries of Israel.
“As we have production plants in several locations around the globe, we have implemented lessons from this project, such as achieving energy savings in all our other plants”
Shachar Schoukroun , VP of Quality, Amiad Water Systems
In due time UNIDO, together with national partners, business associations, and ministries, will present ways of how to upscale the results of MED TEST II in Israel to other Industries in Israel, interested in boosting their competitiveness and environmental performance.