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The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines Cleaner Production (CP) as the "continuous application of an integrated preventive environmental strategy applied to processes, products, and services in order to increase eco-efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment".
CP is a preventative approach that seeks to minimise pollution and waste generation at source - meaning that it typically involves modification and renewal of production processes. CP is an umbrella term for an array of technologies that employ alternative fuel sources, increase the efficiency of input resource use and/or ensure for a more circular flow of materials within a production facility (i.e. by valuing and re-utilising waste streams).
CP is an approach that holds tremendous potential for maximising overall production and profitability of an enterprise and for raising its competitiveness on the global marketplace. In addition, CP is a pro-active strategy that can lay down the groundwork for further environmental analyses, strategies and management frameworks. Today, efforts to increase environmental standards and resource efficiency are essential for finding business solutions and maintaining the competitiveness of virtually any enterprise. CP offers the following benefits (inter alia):
Since the 1992 Rio Declaration that called for the establishment of effective environmental technology transfer mechanisms, CP has emerged as one of the Swiss government's priority fields in international cooperation. The Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) developed a coherent instrument to operationalise this technology transfer through the establishment of National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs) (otherwise known as environmental technology centres) that assist industrial sectors in developing countries to transition towards more sustainable production schemes and greater competitiveness. sba has many years of experience in providing technical support to the activites of such centres in various countries.